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Dos And Don'ts Of Finishing Drywall

Installing and finishing your own drywall can save you a lot of money, but it's also a project that takes a fair amount of precision and time. Once you've set up your drywall trim, the work isn't done just yet; you'll need to go through the process of finishing it, which will give it a smooth, uniform appearance and prepare it for paint. Before you attempt to finish your own drywall, there are some important things you need to know. 

DO Check All Nails and Screws

Installing drywall requires a great deal of screws, nails, and fasteners--and if you were in a hurry when you installed it, there's a good chance you've got a few screws or nails that aren't completely pounded or screwed in. Check your drywall for this problem before finishing by simply running a metal drywall knife along the wall. You'll be able to hear and feel any nails/screws that aren't in place and can easily tap them in.

DON'T Forget the Setting Compound

Setting compound will be your best friend when it comes to finishing your drywall because it's easy to work with, pliable, and dries almost immediately. Be sure to apply this compound along corners where two pieces of drywall meet and between gaps (especially those around electrical outlets). Just be careful to sand and smooth the compound down before it dries, as it can be difficult to do this once it's completely set.

DO Take Time to Hide Butt Joints

One of the biggest mistakes people make when finishing drywall is rushing through the process to the point that the butt joints in the drywall are visible after the fact. Unfortunately, this isn't something that can be simply covered up by paint, and will remain an eyesore for years to come. The best way to conceal butt joints is to use drywall tape. Of course, you can also avoid visible butt joints from becoming a problem in the first place by using longer pieces of drywall rather than piecing smaller ones together.

DON'T Forget to Stir Store-Bought Compound

If you use store-bought drywall compound, make sure you take the time to stir it thoroughly before you apply it. Often times, these advertise themselves as being "ready-to-use," but the compound itself has settled and become crumbly at the top. This is an easy enough fix with a paint-stirring stick, but it's something you won't want to forget to do, as crumbly or dry drywall compound is very difficult to work with and will make your finishing job look sloppy.


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