Mudding and taping, part 2

There’s not much to say about finishing out drywall – it’s mostly mud, sand, repeat.

In the tiny bit of drywall work I’ve done in the past I always used the self-adhesive mesh tape. The appeal of mesh tape is there’s no taping coat, so you don’t have to worry about putting too much or too little mud under the tape, and it’s also one fewer coat of mud to wait to dry. But this is my first time working with butt joints and paper tape gives a flatter seam, so I figured I’d use it for the whole house to get familiar with it before tackling the butt joints.

I’m using pre-mixed joint compound, the kind that comes in a box. The best piece of advice I was ever given about this stuff is to manage the bag well when opening and closing it so that the dried chunks of mud don’t fall in and cause pulls later. I grab the sides of the bag right over the level of the mud and pull up, out and over to make kind of a bundt cake shape that lets me get in but keeps the crunchy bits out.

I’m mostly using my mud full strength, though I do whip it up in the pan to make it easier to apply. The consistency I’m going for is “that really good hummus from that Lebanese place from college” … which I know isn’t really helpful. It also means I’m constantly hungry working on the walls. I finally wised up and thinned my mud slightly for the final coat, which was helpful.

A drywall pro recommended lightweight mud as more beginner-friendly, so that’s what I’ve been using for all coats. To do it again I would use the stronger all-purpose mud for taping – I wound up needing it anyway for our flexible corners (which I’ll write about tomorrow), and honestly I think it’s easier to apply though harder to sand. I’m not too worried about the difference in strength, between the fact that our sheetrock is glued, our framing is fully dry, and our building is so incredibly stiff I don’t think we’ll see much movement in the walls even with road vibration.

– Liz

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