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Perfect Drywall Installation: It's All in the Seams

By Brett Freeman
Perfect Drywall Installation: It's All in the Seams

Drywall installation is in one respect like playing golf: it takes next to no time to learn the skills to do either one of them badly. And while it takes much less time to master drywall installation than golf, both traditionally require practice, patience, and an awareness that what you're doing is more difficult than it looks.

Seamless Seams

Covering drywall seams would seem to be a simple task, and it is, but it's not intuitive. Your eye tells you that all you need to do is push enough joint compound into the seam, run your joint knife over to make it smooth, and voila! The effect of this approach is that too little joint compound ends up being applied, and over too narrow an area. Often the joint tape shows through even after several layers of joint compound are applied.

Taping Seams

When taping seams, you should use at least a five inch joint knife when applying the first layer of joint compound. This is typically true whether you use paper joint tape or self-adhering fiberglass joint tape. For subsequent coats, use a 10 or 12 inch joint knife, and don't worry about slight ridges or imperfections. What you're trying to do is establish a layer of joint compound about 1/8 of an inch thick over the drywall seam. When you keep going over the same area with your knife trying smooth out little ridges or imperfections, you end up with a layer of joint compound that is too thin. Worry about covering the seams first. Once the joint compound dries, you can sand down any bumps or ridges.

Remember to be patient. The goal isn't to finish fast. The goal is to finish with perfectly installed drywall.

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THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.