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Monday, March 16, 2009

5 Tips for Sanding Drywall

After spending so much time getting the walls level and square and dreaming about the finished room, don't skimp on the drywall step in the excitement to get the paint cans out.

It's sometimes hard to wait, but it's worth it to make sure that in the end the project looks great and not rushed because of bad drywall finishing. After you've applied the joint compound (see my sand-once process here), considering these tips before you jump into sanding drywall.

1. Start by preparing for dust control. Sanding stirs up a lot of dust. It's a pain, but there are things you can do to at least help keep it under control. First, put plastic over anything in the room that you don't want to clean or just remove it from the room if possible. I also like to put plastic over the doorways and the tape them shut. Also, and this could be a biggie, turn off the HVAC! Otherwise, the system will take the dust from the project room and spread it throughout the entire house. (Homeowners don't tend to like that, and you won't enjoy cleaning it all up... :)

2. I usually just use a little handheld sanding tool with a 9" x 3.25" sheet of 100-120 grit sandpaper. Resist the urge to use an electric sander. I've heard of people trying this. If you need power tools then you've applied too much joint compound! Power sanders are too difficult to control and likely to do more damage than help.

3. Before you finish, grab a handheld utility light and shine it on your work from different angles. It's amazing how this will reveal spots that need a little more sanding that were otherwise hidden from the room light. If I skip this, it is much more likely that miss a small ridge or indention that could have easily been sanded out.

4. Don't overdo it! This is especially important around the taped seams. You don't want to sand into the tape because that will mean that you have to get out the mud again.

5. Take the time to do it right. That last one pretty much applies to anything that we do.


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