Drywall Tape and Mud (Compound): The Art of Drywall
Steps To Taping and Mudding Drywall
This is the artistic part of installing drywall. Before doing your drywall job, you're probably wondering "how is this paint going to cover up this huge gap between drywall panels?" Well, don't worry. The tape and mud compound does miracles. When you pay attention to each step, you'll get better and better. The process will come second nature after a few panels.
First make sure the drywall has been fastened PROPERLY. Next, try to keep the room temperature over 65 degrees with some ventilation. This will help with drying. You can also use a space heater. Drying can be the most boring and frustrating part (simply because you want to hurry and sand so you can be finished!). Do whatever you can to speed up the drying. Your mudding compound will tell you how long the drying takes... usually 20-30 minutes in perfect environment. It can take a couple hours if you laid it on thick and room temp is below 65 degrees or damp. You'll know when its dry. Tip: Stay away from fast drying compound until you get pretty good with the drywall knife.
Start mixing your compound. See image above for tools to make it easier, but read the directions no matter what. Mix the mud with LUKEWARM water. Not cold, not hot. LUKEWARM. Remember to put the compound in the water, not the water in the compound. Get it to desired consistency.
*Mesh Tape Users Note: Skip the next step. Mesh tape doesn't need a first coat of mud.
Take your 4 inch knife and spread the mud down over the joint (called "bedding") of the drywall panels (about 4 inches wide). You'll get the hang of it. You're not gonna hurt anything. If you think there's too much mud, then put more pressure on the knife and pull some off. See the pics below to compare.
*Mesh Tape Users Note: Cover the joints with your mesh tape. The apply the mud/compound as directed in the step above.
Get your paper tape and cover the joints you just mudded. Put enough pressure so you "squish" a little mud out of the sides. Clean up any "blobs", else you'll just have to sand them down later. Let the mud dry 20-30 minutes.
Go back over the paper tape with a thin layer of mud. Try not to damage the tape. MESH TAPE USERS: You just go over the mesh tape with a coat of mud, making sure you permeate the mesh screen.
Last, the screw heads that are sunk in the drywall need to be covered with mud. After mudding the joints you're probably getting pretty good at it. You should be able to fill in the screw spots in just one or two passes, with very little sanding required.
Now you're ready to sand.