I knew the workshop would be a good place to practice my skills with drywall, tape and joint compound. It turns out I need a lot more practice. I managed an acceptable job for a basement utility room wall that will be hidden by shelving, but there is no way I would want this wall in my living room.
Rather than try to make workshop wall perfect, I am settling for “good enough” and moving on to the paint stripping project in the upstairs bedroom. But before all the lessons of this drywall experience are lost to my foggy memory, here’s a few of the things I should have done differently to get better results.
- Don’t sand seams too early. I thought I needed to feather the mud after the first and second coats on drywall seams, but all this did was ruin the transition I was supposed to be building between the joint and the drywall.
- Don’t reuse mud. Anytime you are removing excess mud, beware that some of the material at the edges may already be partially dry because the layer is so thin. Those little dry bits will cause gouges in the mud surface if you try to spread this excess mud somewhere else.
- Don’t be careless with your detail cuts. The cutout I made for my electrical box was a real mess because I did not make accurate markings for the box. Repairing an oversized opening is like patching a hole; it requires paper tape, a few coats of mud and sanding. It would be much simpler to get the cut right the first time.
- Don’t oversand. This is sort of related to number 1, but I had a few instances where my sanding around hardware was excessive. In some cases, like the picture above, I started to wear away the paper cover of the drywall, a definite no-no.
- Don’t accept unnecessary butt seams. There is a joke here somewhere, but the point is that if I had bought 4 X 10 drywall sheets instead of 4 X 8, I could have eliminated two challenging butt seams. (Butt seams are joints where unfinished drywall edges meet– they are more difficult to tape and conceal because the edges are not tapered.) My work would have gone much faster and the results would have looked much better if I had planned to avoid butt seams.
- Don’t forget to ask for help. From a limited bit of experience a couple years ago, I thought I knew what I needed to do to hang and finish drywall. I was wrong. From the first moment of uncertainty I should have looked for some information to refresh my memory and cancel wrong ideas. Instead I plowed ahead, confident I would work it out on my own.
Here are some links to drywall tips that I should have explored before I opened the bucket of joint compound:
- Hometime drywall how-to
- The Family Handyman art of drywall taping
- DrywallSchool.com pro drywall tips with lots of photos and some video. (Mostly free, but some special finishing technique pages are pay-per-view.)
I’m not too proud to admit that my mudding and taping in the workshop was not my finest work. But I am also not too proud to accept a lesson learned for a more important project in the future.