After you have sanded the drywall down (and have dealt with all the drywall dust), it is time to finish it off.
You can always tape and mud drywall yourself. Or, you can opt to get a professional to do it for you. You’ll get a smooth finish, but you’ll pay a lot for it. Which option sounds better?
Throughout our guide, we’ll tell you how to prep, tape, mud, and finally smooth your drywall to get the finish of your dreams—all while saving yourself a fortune.
So, how to tape and mud drywall?
Keep reading to find out.
How to Use Paper Tape on Drywall?
Taping and mudding drywall require precision and patience. However, don’t be alarmed; it’s an easy task if you know which steps to follow.
Paper tape is DIYer-friendly since it provides good sealing for drywall joints and is easier to work with on room corners.
Before starting on your project, check if your municipality requires a permit for drywall mudding and taping. If it does, schedule a visit before you start working.
Now that we’ve agreed on that point, let’s start with our drywall taping and mudding guide.
Arrange Your Tools
There’s nothing more time-consuming than halting a project to search for the right tools for every step. Therefore, the first step of any project is arranging your tools.
As a DIYer, it seems logical to buy second-rate tools for your projects. However, when it comes to drywall mudding, cheap tools can do more harm than good and eventually cost you more to fix.
Invest in good-quality tools, or rent them to finish off your project seamlessly.
Here are the required tools:
-All-purpose drywall mud
Protect Yourself and Your Floors
Mudding your drywall can be quite messy, even for a professional. Therefore, you should take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your floors, and your furniture.
Cover your floor and any furniture in the room with cotton canvas drop cloths for protection. Don’t use plastic sheets as they can become dangerously slippery when wet.
Wear your messy work ensemble. This can be any old comfortable clothes that you have, which you don’t care if they get ruined with mud. Finally, wear goggles to protect your eyes.
Keep a dust mask nearby to wear whenever you sand to protect your airways.
Prep Your Drywall
Inspect your drywall for any damages, breaks, or loose areas. Use the utility knife to remove any damaged parts.
If your drywall is covered by any wallpaper, gently pull it away. Use your sanding block to scratch away any residual paper.
After that, mix the setting compound with water in the mud pan to reach a peanut-butter-like consistency.
Then, use a putty knife to scoop the mixture and fill any gaps in your drywall with it. Use exactly enough setting compound to fill the wall defects. Adding more of the compound would lead to an uneven, bumpy surface and would be a hassle to even it out and sand it afterward.
Secure Corner Beads
Start off by measuring and cutting the desired length of the corner beads.
Use clenchers to secure the corner beads to place and fasten them into the drywall using eight-inch spaced drywall nails.
Finally, inspect the wall for any nails that cut through it or are protruding from it. Remove faulty nails and replace them.
Get the Right Mud Mix
Mudding compounds are sold in various forms; you have powder, liquid, and all-purpose. Whichever one you choose, you’ll have to add water to achieve the desired consistency.
Now, scoop some of the compound into a separate bucket and add water to get a runny consistency for the first coat.
Don’t add water directly into the store-bought container. Throughout your project, you’ll need to add the drywall mud in different consistencies, so take out only the needed amounts and mix them with water.
Remember to cover the water-mixed compound with a lid as you work to keep it from hardening.
Lastly, layer the watery mix onto your drywall evenly. This would act as glue to hold the tape to the drywall.
Apply the First Mud Coat
Begin by mixing the mudding compound and water in a bucket till you reach a honey-like consistency.
Then, load your banjo with the new mudding mix and a roll of tape.
Hold the end of the tape onto the butt joint and gently pull the banjo to unload the tape.
Simultaneously use a mud-wet putty knife to press the tape onto the drywall. Use only a small
amount of mud to help the knife slide over the tape without sticking to it and pulling it away.
When you’re using the banjo to cover the corners with tape, make sure you crease the tape in the middle and press it using a muddy putty knife onto the corner’s edges.
Then take a small amount of the mud mixture on your putty knife and run it over the screw holes to fill them up.
Finally, use the edge of the putty knife to scrape off any excess mud mixture and smooth over the drywall.
Apply the Second Mud Coat
Mix some mudding compound with water to reach a creamy-mashed-potato like consistency. Then, scoop some of it onto the trowel to spread it on the wall.
Spread a thick—1/8inch—layer of mud onto the center of the butt joints using the trowel. Then add two layers on either side of it.
Now smooth out the edges first, then move onto the center. Then repeat the same for corner beads and drywall joints.
Spread a thin mud coat over one side of the vertical and horizontal roof angles. Apply slightly more pressure on the outside of the putty knife to achieve a smooth edge.
Finally, allow your second mud coat to dry before smoothing it over using sand blocks.
Apply the Third Mud Coat
Inspect the wall for any irregularities and add a layer of mud compound to smooth it.
Now spread a thin layer of mud coat on the other side of the vertical and horizontal roof angles—the ones opposite to those done during the second mud coat.
Once you’re done, allow the mud coat to dry overnight.
Finish off the Drywall
Start by dusting the drywall using a brush, and remove any excess particles using a damp rag.
Then use a lint-free roller to cover the drywall with a primer to prepare it for painting.
Taping and mudding drywall yourself is extremely gratifying, not to mention wallet-friendly.
However, the task can be daunting to a construction newbie.
Precision and patience are key. If you slowly and carefully layer your mudding compound and allow it the necessary time to fully dry before sanding, you’ll have a silk-smooth drywall finish.
Finally, don’t forget to prime your drywall to prep it for painting.