How to get a smooth and flawless drywall finish

Drywall is an affordable building material that is quite easy to install. This is why it is one of the most popular methods for building construction today. It enables quick completion of a project and can offer additional properties to walls and ceilings, such as fire- and water-resistance. Installing drywall panels requires knowledge of the best techniques.

The key to a professional drywall installation is a smooth and flawless surface. This requires good taping, jointing, plastering and painting techniques. While none of these tasks are particularly complicated, achieving the perfect finish needs all four processes to be completed carefully. Here are some tips for finishing a drywall installation to professional standards:

Do the following for a perfect drywall finish:

  • Mix drywall compound with a power tool – Use a drill to mix the compound because this will create a smooth paste that has no lumps or liquid patches. Mixing by hand is more time-consuming and may not achieve the same consistency.
  • Put sheets or plastic liner on the floor – Place old bedsheets or plastic lining on the floor to protect it from splattered drywall compound and dust particles. This is especially necessary if the room is carpeted. The clean-up afterward will also be much easier.
  • Prefill wide joints between panels – Fill any gaps between drywall panels that are wider than three millimetres with drywall compound before taping the joints. This gives the wall a smooth finish and reduces the chances of dimpled lines running the length of panels.
  • Remove bubbles under the tape – Remove any bubbles that form underneath the paper tape when joining panels together. A craft knife is the best tool for this job, but you can also prick the bubble with a pin and squeeze the air out. 
  • Apply multiple thin coats of compound – Use many thin coats of compound where gaps need filling, rather than one thick coat. This will give a smoother finish and minimise the time required for sanding.

Don’t do the following:

  • Don’t overlap the paper tape – A single layer of drywall tape is easy to cover with plaster or paint, but two layers will leave visible lines on the wall or ceiling.
  • Don’t neglect nail or screw holes – Every hole needs to be filled and covered with compound and tape, otherwise you will have a dimpled surface once it has been plastered and painted.
  • Don’t leave flakes of dry compound – Any splatter or small lumps of compound that flick onto the wall must be scraped off before they dry and set firmly. If this is not done, the wall will be bumpy and the flakes of compound will be noticeable.
  • Don’t sand without protection – Sanding drywall before painting it is important. It makes the surface smooth and prepared for the coat of paint. Don’t forget to wear a dust mask and tape plastic sheeting over doorways before sanding large surfaces. This protects your lungs and the other rooms in the building from the tiny particles of drywall dust floating in the air.

These simple tips will allow anyone to achieve a perfect finish on their drywall ceilings or walls. Be sure to apply at least two coats of paint as this will hide any lines of the plasterboard joins beneath. It will also make the colour of the room richer and more vibrant.


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Written by Joshua Oates

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