How to Tape Drywall
Time Required: Over 1 day
After putting up drywall, you must connect all the pieces to form one solid wall. This prepares the surface for priming and painting. Seams of butt joints with beveled edges need a strip of paper reinforcing tape and three coats of joint compound in order to stay strong. Each coat should be slightly wider than the previous coat, with the final coat measuring about 24 inches wide.
Read below for step-by-step instructions on drywall taping, including how to tape drywall corners. A list of required tools and materials can be found at the bottom of this page.
Safety: Wear appropriate respiratory protection when sanding drywall, and apply plastic or canvas drop cloths to prevent the sanding dust from damaging nearby furniture or spreading beyond your immediate work area.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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