Invented in 1916, drywall is the popularized alternative to brick-and-mortar walls, which take time to dry up. Like fast food, drywall is a staple in today’s fast-paced construction industry. Every year, over 20 billion square feet of drywall are manufactured in North America.
Luckily, drywall has also empowered more homeowners to work on their walls without seeking professional help. It only gets better knowing that your manual work will be of much higher quality than expensive machine taping.
In this article, we’ll detail how to drywall corners like an artisanal taper. You’ll be able to deal with quick corner cracks and save yourself a few hundred bucks.
How to Drywall and repair Corners?
Drywall taping can take some practice. The fact is, drywall comes in panels so it naturally has joint dents, let alone the dents caused by poor installation. Therefore, your aim is to fill any gaps and flatten out bumps to make the viewer feel like the wall is flat.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to master this art.
Prepare Your Tools
One key to neat drywall corner finishes is the choice of tools.
Surely, this handful of tools will cost you a few hundred dollars, but that’s nothing compared to the cost of mechanical taping tools or hiring a professional taper. Besides, you can borrow the tools from a friend if it’s a one-time job.
Manual Drywall Taping Tools
The taping tools on our list will only cost you around $300 in total. They’re extremely versatile, easy to clean, and widely available in hardware tool markets. Just remember to clean your tools after every application to avoid scraping hardened mud, which will take more time to remove.
Here are the items that we need to get started:
-Paper tape or corner bead
-Mud (joint compound)
-Slow mixing drill
-Four-inch and six-inch knife
-Hawk with handle or handheld pan
-Bench or step ladder
Manual vs. Automatic Taping Tools
You might’ve come across some drywall taper instructions using fancy automatic tools. In fact, those tools save time for professional tapers who have to do the finishes of a whole house in one day. For instance, a taping bazooka applies mud and paper tape at the same time.
However, automatic taping tools are expensive and they’re designed for large-scale commercial projects instead of small homeowner projects. Still, if you’re taping drywalls for a living, consider renting, or gradually shifting to automatic taping tools, for higher productivity.
Fix Drywall Corners
We all know we need to use paper tape on drywall gaps so they don’t crack wider. But what if the corner gap is already too wide? You can’t just apply mud and tape directly without fixing that gap.
To fix drywall cavities, you can use expansion foam which can be easily squeezed out of a tube. Otherwise, you can use Sheetrock 90, which needs to be mixed ahead. Those two compounds won’t shrink after drying up which will give a flat surface for taping.
For Sheetrock 90, you’ll need to mix it to a consistency allowing it to stick on a hawk without sliding off when held on the side. Beware that Sheetrock 90 dries up in 90 minutes, so mix as little as needed for immediate application.
To apply Sheetrock 90, take a generous amount with your knife and flatten it out to a consistent thickness. After it dries up, lightly sand the corner to get a smooth surface. Now, your drywall is ready for taping.
Mix the Mud
You might be thinking that you can use all-purpose mud right out of the barrel. However, all-purpose drywall mud still needs to be mixed with water to effectively stick the tape to the wall.
Otherwise, the tape will have bubbles after it dries up. This is because the mud out of the box doesn’t have enough moisture. As a result, it would dry up too fast for the tape to bond with the wall.
To mix the mud, add 500 milliliters of water to one box of mud. This ratio will give a thick consistency for the first application layer. For the top layers, it’s better to thin the mud even further.
In general, we recommend using a slow mixing drill to break down all the lumps into a consistent paste. Still, if you don’t have a slow mixing drill, you can thin it by hand using a stiff stick. Now that your drywall mud is thinned, it’s ready for application.
Before applying drywall mud, you might like to cut the paper tape to length first, especially if you’re going to work on a ladder for higher corners. Simply, pull the paper tape along the wall corner and hold it with the knife at an angle. Then, pull the tape to get a quick, neat cut.
For an outside corner, cut the corner bead to length by measuring the wall height first. Then use a sharp pair of snips to cut the corner bead. The corner bead length should be a few inches shorter than the wall, in case the wall compresses over time.
Now for drywall mud application, use your knife corner to spread an eighth to quarter-inch-wide mud strip. Still using your knife, flatten out the mud to a consistent thickness and remove the excess. Your mud should smoothly transition from the corner to the rest of the wall.
Apply Paper Tape or Corner Bead
We believe paper tape wins over mesh tape for inside corners. As for outside corners, there are three main corner bead types, but we recommend paper-faced metal corner beads. For application, you’ll have to stick paper tape or corner beads immediately after applying the mud.
Regarding inside corners, stick the paper by gently pressing your knife. Start in the middle and press out, making sure you don’t take off too much mud to allow the paper to bond. Lastly, finish off with another layer of drywall mud to prevent the paper from drying too fast.
On the other side, apply a corner bead to an outside corner by pressing it hard into the mud. Then, press the corner bead up as you squish out excess mud with your fingers, flattening it out with your knife. Finally, check for adjustment and apply the last drywall mud layer.
Now, that you’ve learned how to drywall corners, you’ll have more control over your home’s drywall finishing quality. Perhaps, you’ll be even able to offer the service as a favor to your family and friends.
Most importantly, now you can judge your taper’s work and see if it’s worth the pay.
We have discussed how to get rid of drywall dust here.