Drywall Taping, Joint Compounds & Sanding

Pull compound along seam

This section begins after you've driven the last fastener to hang the final sheet of drywall in your project. On these pages, you'll receive basic training on several key phases: installing corner beads, spreading compound, sanding, and checking your work. You'll learn how to handle situations that are typical in nearly every drywalling project as well as some special tasks, including beading and mudding an archway.

Projects in Taping and Sanding

Making compounds less complex
Going to the hardware store or home center to get some joint compound can turn into a confusing expedition. Do you choose setting-type or premixed? Topping mix or all-purpose? No need to panic. This section describes the various types and makes clear recommendations.

By using the right compounds, you'll minimize downtime waiting for drying and create a smooth surface that's easy to sand. You'll also learn how to avoid common mistakes that could result in bulged butt joints or cracked seams.

Beads and bullnose
Corner beads -- either square or bullnose -- protect outside corners from impact damage and also make a transition from one plane to another. Take your time with the first beads you install, and you'll get great results right from the start. As you gain a little experience with straight runs, you'll then learn how to make two- and three-way corners, such as those you often see in soffit corners above kitchen cabinets.

Bullnose two- and three-way corners may look complicated to the beginner, but vinyl and metal caps remove much of the hard work.

Taping, mudding, and sanding
Before you start slapping on tape and mud, it's a good idea to have a definite sequence of the steps in mind. That way, you'll preserve reference surfaces to guide your drywall knife in the initial stages. You should have goals for each coat of compound; that way, you'll maximize productivity and minimize frustration. And when the dust clears after the sanding, you'll have walls and ceilings that are smooth, flat, and ready for paint.

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