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Ways to finish drywall in line with the four quality levels

There are four degrees in the quality of a finish in drywall construction. Many contractors will be familiar with these levels (referred to as Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4), but here is a brief overview of how each level improves in quality and detail. It is critical to use these four quality standards in order to achieve the best results at the lowest cost and in the shortest amount of time.

Q1 – Tiling and thick plaster application

Plaster application for tiling

Quality level Q1 is needed for tiling and thick plaster application. This level is intended for finishes that do not include any artistic finishes, such as walls that will be covered in tiles.

  • Products required – Tapered edge drywall panels, joint filler, joint tape, bucket, spatula and mixing rod.
  • Jointing – Fill the joints and gaps between the drywall panels and cover visible parts of fixings or any screw holes. Thick plaster can be used and there is no need for sanding.
  • Finish – There is also no need to skim the surface as tiles will be laid on top, which will cover any blemishes or lines in the plaster.

Q2 – Filling and thick-textured matt paint coats

Q2 is recommended for filling and matt paint application. This quality level is ideal for skimmed and painted drywalls and ceilings that are hidden behind cupboards or in back passageways.

  • Products required – Tapered edge drywall panels, joint filler, interior skimming plaster, joint tape, sandpaper, bucket, spatula, mixing rod and 25mm trowel.
  • Jointing – To achieve a continuous transition between plasterboard panels, use a simple jointing and filling technique. There should be no major marks or ridges visible. If required, sand the surface.
  • Finish – Apply interior skimming plaster to the surface of the wall or ceiling and sand it down when dry. After that, matt paint can be added directly to the surface. Since jointing marks may still show through the paint, Q2 is recommended for walls and ceilings that do not need to be visually flawless.

Q3 – Finely-textured matt paint coats

matt paint coats for drywall

Q3 is required for finely-textured paint where multiple coats will be applied to the wall or ceiling. This quality level begins like Q2, however, it necessitates a broader joint between panels and a thinner coat of finishing plaster. Q3 is well suited to smooth walls and lambskin roller painting.

  • Products required – Tapered edge drywall panels, joint filler, interior skimming plaster, joint tape, sandpaper, bucket, spatula, mixing rod, 30mm trowel and paint roller.
  • Jointing – Follow the filling technique used in Q2, but take some time to perfect the jointing and sanding. Note that the jointing between panels should be slightly wider than in Q2, as this will give a smoother finish to the wall.
  • Finish – Continue with the Q2 finishing technique, but this time be more precise. A lambskin roller can be used to apply multiple coats of paint directly to the surface of the wall or ceiling. Q3 finishing is recommended for surfaces where near visual perfection is needed.

Q4 – Fine-textured finish with gloss paint or wallpaper

Q4 is recommended for finely textured finishes where several coats of gloss paint or wallpaper will be added. This involves jointing and finishing to Q3, as well as other necessary steps. Q4 is appropriate for walls and ceilings that must be absolutely smooth with no noticeable marks under the paint, such as interior walls in rooms.

  • Products required – Tapered edge drywall panels, joint filler, interior skimming plaster, joint tape, sandpaper, bucket, spatula, mixing rod, 30mm trowel and paint roller.
  • Jointing – Follow the Q3 jointing and filling technique.
  • Finish – Apply a full surface coating of skim plaster with the trowel. This coat should be at least one millimetre thick. After that, sand down the surface so that it is completely smooth and flawless. Several coats of paint can be added directly to the smooth surface.

Contractors will be able to work more effectively with these four levels of quality when it comes to finishing drywall. Q1 can be used in bathrooms and kitchens where tiles will be used to cover the walls. Q2 and Q3 can be used on surfaces that do not require visual perfection, such as fire escapes or cupboards. Q4 is recommended for all other spaces inside the building.

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Written by Kate Hawthorne

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