Butt Joint Finishing: How to Finish Butt Joints

This project shows you how to finish the short edges of drywall that are not tapered and form a butt joint.


The long edges of drywall sheets are tapered. Two tapered edges together form a depression, which makes it possible to create a flat mud joint. The short edges of drywall sheets are not tapered; they meet at a butt joint.

Butt joints are more challenging to finish because they require that you build a slight, gradual mound to hide the joint. To make the mound subtle enough to go unnoticed, you must feather the joint compound over a wide area.

The same fiberglass mesh tape and similar techniques for applying mud are used for butt joints and tapered edges.

Step 1

Cover the butt joint with fiberglass mesh tape. Use your 6-inch knife to cover the tape with mud.

Step 2

When the first coat of mud is dry, apply the second coat along both sides of the joint using a drywall knife.

Step 3

Apply the third coat with a 12-inch drywall knife, feathering the edges out 8 to 10 inches on each side of the joint. You may leave a ridge down the center, but it can be scraped away later.

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