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Once you pick the right drywall, how do you finish it?



To build off of our previous article "Do you know what kind of drywall you should be using?" we brought in real life examples to illustrate what type of drywall should be used in certain situations. Of course, picking the right kind of drywall and installing it is only half the battle for our trade. The question is, how do you mud and tape each different type of drywall?


Lets take a second to refresh our real life example.


The Scene

Billy has an office and is looking to do a few alterations within the space. He wants to add a few walls for more offices, a new janitors closet, update the bathroom with some new tile on the walls and add a shower, he also wants to remove a few exterior windows and fill them in.


How does Billy finish his regular 1/2" Drywall?

Since this drywall is not providing any fire rated requirements then any drywall not exposed to sight can be left untouched (A level 0 finish). The most practical finish to this wall is a Level 4 finish. The level 4 finish is the most common for drywall that will be prepared for a paint finish.


How does Billy finish his 5/8" Type "X" Drywall?

Similar to the 1/2" drywall, anything that will be visible and painted should get a Level 4 finish. When 5/8" drywall is used for fire rated purposes it is important to seal all the joints and angles with drywall tape to maintain a complete assembly. IE, you don't want any seals for fire to get through. So, ALL joints and butts need tape on them. Lets say Billy decides to put a ceiling in his Janitors closet, there will be drywall on the walls above the ceiling that no one will see. This drywall will still need to get the Level 1 finish and have tapes cover up all joints to maintain the fire rating. We can also call this "Fire taping".

Note: The identical will be true if using 1/2" Type "C" Drywall



How does Billy finish his Moisture Resistant Drywall?

The beautiful thing about moisture resistant drywall is the outside face is almost always paper faced. This means Billy can follow the exact same mentality of the 5/8" Type "X" Drywall for finishing.


How does Billy finish the tile backer drywall?

This one is great for Billy, he does not need to do anything to the tile backer drywall or cement board once it is installed. Simply, install and SEE YA LATER! (Note: Sometimes the tile guys will request some kind of product on the joints but every tiler is different)


How does Billy finish the exterior sheathing?

Similar to the tile backer, Billy can apply the SEE YA LATER mentality here. Once the exterior sheathing is installed, there is no taping finish required.


Drywall taping is often not the cleanest of trades, or highly sought after but it is an art. For anyone that has tried taping on their own, it looks a whole lot easier than it actually is. Having your taping done right can be the difference maker between a nice final product and one that will require attention in the future.




Levels of finishes

Level 0 - No drywall tape or compound applied to drywall

Level 1 - Step 1: Tape embedded in joint compound applied over all joints

Level 2 - Step 1:Tape embedded in joint compound applied over all joints

Step 2: wiped to leave a thin coat of mud on the tapes

Level 3 - Step 1:Tape embedded in joint compound applied over all joints

Step 2: wiped to leave a thin coat of mud on the tapes

Step 3: Apply 1 coat of finish mud overtop of dried tapes for smooth finish

Level 4 - Step 1:Tape embedded in joint compound applied over all joints

Step 2: wiped to leave a thin coat of mud on the tapes

Step 3: Apply 1 coat of finish mud overtop of dried tapes for smooth finish

Step 4: Apply a thin final coat of finished mud feathered overtop of previous coat. sand smooth

Level 5 - Step 1:Tape embedded in joint compound applied over all joints

Step 2: wiped to leave a thin coat of mud on the tapes

Step 3: Apply 1 coat of finish mud overtop of dried tapes for smooth finish

Step 4: Apply a thin final coat of finished mud feathered overtop of previous coat. sand smooth

Step 5: Apply another thin feathered coat of finished mud overtop of entire wall. sand smooth







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