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Léa Plourde-Archer
Léa
Plourde-Archer

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How to Apply Drywall Joint Compound

Last modified: 2018/10/05 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Applying drywall joint compound is an art that requires patience and meticulousness. Contrary to other types of renovation projects, this task is accessible to anyone. However, in order to ensure good results, it is important to follow certain guidelines.

Duration of the task

The job will last at least 4 days, as three separate coats of drywall compound will have to be applied, with an 18 to 24 hour waiting period between each coat. If you are inexperienced, you will have to work more slowly to apply the product in the right way.

Necessary equipment for drywall compound

  • Spatula;
  • Two trowels (different sizes);
  • Drywall tape;
  • Platter or any flat-surfaced object (to mix the drywall compound);
  • Drywall compound;
  • Sandpaper;
  • Sanding block and sponge;
  • Personal protection equipment (mask, gloves);
  • Washcloths;
  • Container filled with tepid water.

Preparation before applying the drywall compound

Start by emptying the room where you will be working and protecting the surfaces that cannot be removed. It is also recommended that you cover the furniture in rooms nearby, as dust has a way of spreading around.

If necessary, install metal corner beads, which will serve to unite gypsum panels that meet at the exterior corner of two wall sections (see the photo below). Be careful not to nail or screw them in too tightly, as this could cause them to warp.

Reno Quotes_ how to apply drywall compound

Photo: Today's homeowner

The first coat of drywall

Put a little bit of the drywall compound on your platter. Next, using your trowel (the smaller one), take a bit of the drywall compound. Starting from the middle part of the joint, spread the product over the whole gap. Once you have covered the complete section, install some drywall tape.

Stretch the paper as much as possible and spread a small coat of drywall compound on top, whilst carefully pressing on the paper to create a nice homogenous surface. As you complete this part of the process, be sure to remove any extra compound that has gathered on the sides. Repeat this operation until you have covered each one of the joints. Once you have finished applying the first coat, inspect the whole area and remove any excess compound.

Tirer joints

Photo: Flickr- Georgia National Guard

Second and third coats

Before you start working on the second coat, sand the joints very carefully, making sure not to perforate the drywall tape. For the upcoming steps, we recommend that you use a larger trowel that will serve to eliminate marks and delineations. Apply thin coats and don’t forget to clean your tools after each use.

* Notes: If the drywall joint compound is too dense, you can dilute it using a small quantity of tepid water. Be careful with air bubbles that tend to form behind the tape. If bubbles appear, the joint will have to be redone.

Special cases

The previous instructions mostly applied to “standard” joints. However, interior wall corners don’t exactly work the same way. You’ll have to be very careful in trying to avoid drywall compound accumulation in these corners. Spread the joint compound on both sides of the corner.

Next, fold the drywall tape in two and install it in the corner, starting from the top. Press firmly, using your trowel and make sure that both sides are even. For the next two coats, follow the same instructions as written in the paragraph above. In places where there are screws, insert a bit of drywall compound directly into the holes. Press strongly to even out the product.

Sanding the surfaces

Once the last coat has had the time to dry, it’s time to work on giving these joints an nice finish. Using your sanding tools, try to even out the surfaces in order to get a nice, smooth result.

RenoQuotes_how to apply drywall compound 02

Photo: Flickr- Georgia National Guard

Cleaning after applying the drywall compound

After you’ve finished sanding the joints, you’ll be left with plenty of dust throughout the room. Before you start vacuuming, start the cleaning process by removing most of the dust with a broom and a wet cloth. Since the dust particles are extremely small, they may end up clogging your vacuum cleaner so it’s best to use it as little as possible. Once you’re done cleaning, you’ll be ready to start painting!

Recap of the main steps to apply drywall compound

1) Preparing the room;
2) Gathering the equipment;
3) Preparing the drywall compound and starting to apply it;
4) Installing gypsum tape;
5) Removing the excess drywall compound;
6) Letting the first coat dry for 18 to 24 hours;
7) Repeating for the second and third coat;
8) Finishing the surface with sanding tools;
9) Cleaning the room to remove the dirt.

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