Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to Mud Drywall Joints

After a week month long hiatus, Matt and I are back in action fixing up the bathroom. I think we took a little break because we were stuck on the not so fun tasks. Like mudding the drywall.

I do NOT enjoy mudding drywall. I think its because I have to be careful (I’m usually not good with patience-required tasks like that), and there is no gratification afterward. No pretty new wall, just a mudded joint. But, it has to be done!

This was actually my first attempt, but a friend helped me get started and I got some tips from my SIL that I’d like to share with you.

Please note: We have texture walls, so it doesn’t have to be purrrfect :) Please be even more precise than me if you don’t!

How to Mud Drywall

You’ll need:
Joint Compound (we used pre-mixed all purpose joint compound from Hamilton Drywall Products)
Drywall tape
Drywall Knives
100 grit sand paper

The basic steps:
  1. Fill the gap between drywall boards and spread a little mud around the gap(to give the tape a place to stick)
  2. Place the drywall tape over the gap and press it into the mud using a putty knife
  3. Spread a thin layer of mud over the tape
  4. Smooth it out using the drywall knives
  5. Let dry
  6. Sand any parts that aren’t smooth
  7. Repeat steps 3-6, with a slightly wider layer each time. Three coats of mud worked for us!
  8. On the last layer of mud, I recommend using a sponge instead of sanding. It takes off less mud and will leave a nice, smooth surface.
Your three layers of mud will look like this.
finish drywall
Diagram from This Old House

For more details, see this tutorial from This Old House.

Since This Old House provides a wonderful step-by-step guide, I’m just going to give you some of my tips that made drywall mudding a little easier for a newbie.

1. It’s totally worth it to invest in a long drywall knife. Its so much easier to make one sweep over the entire wall, rather than try to make it smooth with a couple separate strokes. In fact, its worthwhile to invest tin a range of drywall knives. We used a 3-incher to fill in the gaps between the drywall pieces, a 6-inch knife to smooth it out, and then the 14 inch one to apply and smooth out the 2nd and 3rd layers.

2. If the tape looks bubbly after your first try, pull it off and start over. I didn’t put enough joint compound on the wall around the gap at first, so the tape didn’t stick very well. I tried to fix it but just made a mess. Its much better to just start over!

mud drywall joints
Sorry about the flash. Tearing off the tape and starting over.

3. If you used pre-mixed joint compound, add a little water for the 2nd and 3rd layers. We probably added 1/3 cup drywall to a full tray of compound. Mix it in really well! Using slightly thinner compound made it much easier to smooth out.

4. Before smoothing out your layer of mud, dip your fingers in water and clean off the edge of your knife. Its ok to leave the  knife wet, but the water helps keep the edge of your knife totally clean and free of little pieces that will make funny indents into your wall, and will make you totally frustrated.

5. When sanding, hold a shop vac under your sanding hand to collect the dust. This was a bit cumbersome for me at first, but I got used to it and it made clean up ssooo much easier. The first time I sanded I did not do this and dust was all over the house. Literally.

how to mud drywall

6. After your last layer, use a sponge rather than sanding. For me, using a slightly wet sponge rather than sanding took off less mud (don’t press too hard!) and allowed me to make a really smooth surface without taking off too much.

7. When you ask your husband, “Does this look smooth?”, remind him not to touch the wet mud :)

drywall mud

We’re back in the remodel game and made a ton of progress over the weekend.

Can’t wait to show you! Here’s a sneak peak…

light fixture before and after

What did you do this weekend?

Linked up at C.R.A.F.T.'s Making Monday Marvelous Party and Home Stories A to Z Tips and Tutorials Tuesday, and Hookin Up with House of Hepworths. Pin It


  1. this made me laugh be I am right there with you - there is really no true gratification bc you know it will be covered up at some point anyway :)

  2. Sure there is. If you don't do it right your paint is going to look like crap. After you paint you can sit back and know that it looks as good as it does because you took the time to prep it properly.


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP