Project Guide

How to Tape Drywall

1
Fill the Troughs Along the Sheet Edges
Illustration of someone applying drywall joint compound in a corner.

The long edge of each drywall sheet is beveled, purposely made thinner than the rest of the sheet. This creates a trough when the edges are put together. Build up about an inch of joint compound on a 6-inch knife and fill the trough with compound.


2
Apply Tape
Illustration of someone pulling a piece of paper drywall tape.

Put paper drywall tape on the compound in the trough, pushing it in every foot or so to hold it in place.

3
Smooth the Tape
Illustration of a man's hand smoothing drywall tape into a corner.
  • Pull the putty knife along the tape, embedding it in the compound. 

Tip: If you start in the corner and work toward the middle of the room, the tape will pull loose. Start in the middle and work towards the corners until you have the ends embedded in the compound.

4
Apply a Second Coat of Joint Compound
Illustration of someone applying a second coat of joint compound using a putty knife.
  • Let the compound dry overnight and apply a second coat of compound with a 10-inch putty knife. 
  • Let the second layer dry overnight.
5
Apply a Third Coat of Joint Compound
Illustration of a man applying another coat of drywall compound using a putty knife.
  • Thin the joint compound with water to the consistency of mayonnaise before you apply the third coat. 
  • The thinner compound should go on easier, filling irregularities. It is also less likely to leave small pinholes as you spread it. 
  • Apply the compound with a 12-inch putty knife and let dry overnight.
6
Sand Everything
Illustration of a man using a pole sander to sand the top of a wall.
  • Once completely dry, sand the surface smooth using a pole sander and 120-grit paper. 
  • Start by folding the paper around the ends of the pads and tightening the wing nuts on the back to clamp it in place. Run the pole over the joints until you get a smooth surface with no lines between the edge of the compound and the drywall and with no ridges or pinholes elsewhere in the compound.

  • Drywall tape

  • Paint scraper
  • Wallboard compound