How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

Kevin Brown

Drywall mud is a gypsum-based joint compound used by contractors to cover tape and seams on drywall panels. It is a crucial step in the process of hanging drywall. Although applying drywall mud can be challenging at first, with practice, it becomes DIY-friendly.

How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

Drywall mud is used when hanging sheetrock or drywall. It covers joints between panels and makes indentations flat. It is also useful for large repairs.

Drywall mud has a thin, paste-like consistency. Without it, walls would have cracks where drywall sheets meet, and a smooth paint job would be impossible. There are various types of drywall mud, all of which require tape for optimal performance.

Types Of Drywall Mud:

How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

The two main types of drywall mud are premixed and powdered. Premixed mud is a paste that requires no preparation, while powdered mud needs to be mixed with water before use.

– All-purpose mud is a versatile, premixed option that is suitable for any drywall project. It is a good choice for beginners.

– Topping mud is a thin, pre-mixed topcoat that dries to a white finish and can be easily sanded. It is used for the final coat.

– Powdered drywall mud, also known as hot mud, contains chemicals that react with water. It dries quickly and shrinks less than all-purpose mud. Hot mud is recommended for experienced drywallers.

Drywall Mud Types

  • Timed drywall mud – dries in five minutes, fifteen minutes, or longer. Allows you to control the drying time.
  • Sanding mud – hardens fast and smoothly, used for finishing work and spackling. Specifically designed for a great finish when sanded.
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Drywall Mud Tape Types

How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

Mud is the primary material for mudding, but tape is important too. Without tape, joints won’t be smooth. Tape goes over joints after the first coat of mud, depending on the type used.

– Paper tape – the most common and cheapest type. It can be cut, adjusted, and folded into corners. Paper tape has a learning curve and is not for beginners.

– Mesh tape – made from fiberglass threads to create a mesh like a window screen. It can be difficult to use, but self-adhesive mesh tape is beginner-friendly. It sticks directly to the wall without the need for a first coat of mud.

  • Preformed tape: Metal or plastic tape sold in solid strips. Best for corners and outside walls.
  • How To Use Drywall Mud

    How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

    Learning to use drywall mud can be challenging, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

    1. Get ready: Protect your floor with a drop cloth and wear old clothing. Consider wearing goggles to shield your eyes from any splatter. Gloves aren’t necessary as the mud is easy to wash off when it dries, but it’s still advisable to protect your arms and eyes.

    2. Mix the drywall mud: If you’re using premixed mud, lightly stir it to remove any excess liquid. Add water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Follow the mixing instructions on the package if you’re using a powder.

    3. Apply the first coat: Start applying the mud to the surface.

    How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

    Apply mud to the joints and screw indentations. Begin with the screw marks, adding a swatch of mud to each mark. Then, add a thin coat of mud to your first joint, ensuring it is slightly wider than the tape used.

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    After applying the mud, use your drywall knife to smooth it out. Make sure to use a firm, angled motion, but avoid applying too much pressure, as this can remove some of the joint compound.

    Now, tape the first joint that was mudded. Do one joint at a time – mud first, then tape. After placing the tape over the mud, smooth it out using a trowel or mudding knife.

    The surface should be flat once finished.

    For corners, apply a thin coat of mud to both sides of the inside corners. Crease the tape and smooth it out to fit into the corner.

    Smooth the paper tape carefully using your trowel, alternating sides for an even finish. Use preformed corners for outside corners, such as metal ones that can be screwed into the drywall.

    How To Use Drywall Mud And Which Kind You Should Buy

    After the first coat is dry, apply a second coat of mud. Even the tape needs a thin layer over it, which should be smoothed out.

    If there are no visible tape or indentations after the mud dries, move to the next step. However, if the surface is not smooth enough, let everything dry and apply one more coat.

    Step 8: Sand

    Put on your mask and goggles, and start sanding. Keep the drop cloth on the floor to catch the mess.

    Use your chosen sander to lightly sand the surface until it is flat and free of bumps. For manual sanding, use a 150-180 grit sanding sponge or sandpaper. If using a power sander, use 150-220 grit sandpaper.

    Be careful, if you over-sand, you’ll need to add more drywall mud, allow it to dry, then resand.

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    Step 9: Stomping With Drywall Mud (Optional)

    If this is your first time using drywall mud, you may want to stomp your walls instead of just painting them since stomping covers more mistakes.

    There are many drywall designs to choose from, and all are fairly easy to accomplish. The easiest way to stomp is to use stomping mud and a stomping brush. Then you lightly stomp the mud in a random pattern, covering the entire wall.

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