Getting Started with Drywall Taping
Taping drywall isn’t the easiest job in the world, but it can still be done by DIYers. If you want to take care of installation after you buy drywall, you’ll need to learn how to do taping. If you’re not careful, you will have to deal with problems such as cracks, bad joints, and nail pops later down the road.
Here are tips to help you get started:
Make Sure You Use The Right Tools
You’ll need a 4-inch flexible putty knife for performing small filling jobs and adding a second and third coat of mud to the inside corners. For embedding tape, a six-inch knife would be ideal. Other tools include a clincher, mud pan, mixer, trowel (12-inch), and a banjo.
Spend Some Time Doing Prep Work
Eliminate the damaged areas of existing drywall with a utility knife. Remove any loose or broken gypsum core. Use a sanding sponge tool to gently sand scored edges and rough paper.
Mixing Joint Compound
If you didn’t order pre-mixed joint compound, you’ll need to mix it yourself. Remove approximately one-quart of the joint compound from the bucket, then add up to three cups of water. Start mixing with either a hand-powered potato masher type mixer or a ½-inch drill with a mixing paddle. For small jobs, you can transfer some of the joint compound to another bucket before you mix, so that you can create custom batches for taping. For hand taping, there should be a thicker mix and pudding consistency.
Thin It Out
Keep in mind that some pre-mixed compound may be too thick to use straight out of the pail, so you might have to thin it out some before using it.
Fill Gaps Properly
Cut out or break areas of the drywall that are crushed or broken, and then peel away paper shreds around the edges. Mix up a tiny batch of a setting-type compound, making it nice and thick. Stick it in all of the gaps. When it starts to harden, scrape off lumps with the edge of the taping knife. Don’t forget to fill in gaps between sheets as well.
Embedding Paper Tape
When embedding paper tape, push it into the compound very gently. The squeeze-out needs to be spread along the sides. Make sure that the tape is thoroughly embedded. Lay a thick bed of the compound down the center of the seam. Afterwards, it needs to be smoothed down to a thickness of approximately 1/8-inches; there should be consistency. Start at the center and work your way toward the ends, pressing the tape into the joint compound with your taping knife.
Don’t Leave Dry Tape
Whatever you do, do not leave dry tape. If no joint compound is oozing out, pull the tape off and apply more compound under the dry spots. Reapply the tape over the fresh joint compound. Work each side of a corner individually. Don’t try to mud both sides at the same time. Also, do not try to tape over metal corner beads.
Taping drywall is a process that requires a lot of patience and carefulness. If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to do it, ask your drywall supplier if they offer installation services. Only attempt to do it yourself I you’re confident in your abilities.