Taking our Drywall to Level 5

Welcome back to our home renovation and remodel project. 

Today, we will be doing some drywall finishing. Last time we got all the drywall hung on the walls and the ceiling. This time, it’s going to be taping and mudding, and this is going to start looking like an actual real room. 

Donavan is going to get started on the mudding and walk us through the magic process of taping and mudding. Right now we’re at the pre-fill stage. We’re going to fill any of the big gaps that the amateur drywallers put up. Gaps in the ceiling are the worst, because if you get a big gap up there and put the mud in there, gravity will take force and drop it. So getting ceilings flush is more important than walls. But anything over a quarter or inch or something like that or spots where the walls don’t quite line up, which we will feather out. 

There are actually two different kinds of seams that need to get mudded and taped, the factory seams and then butt seams. Factory seams are indented a little bit, so there’s an area we can fill, but with butt seams, we don’t. So with butt seams, we tend to spread mud and tape a little bit wider because it will end up higher off the plane of the wall and then try to feather it out. 

Now we’re on to corners, and there’s multiple ways to do corners. Normally you lay the mud into the corners and then take the paper tape and fold and mesh that in by creasing your paper tape. Or, I’ve got an applicator that applies the mud to the corner, like a corner bead piece. Then you can just trowel them in, but for this, Donavan has a set of rollers which beds it in nice and tight. 

First coat done. Now for the second coat, we fill this on this end, and it has a little scraper that you can adjust the tension on. So when Donavan pushes on it, it compresses and squeezes the mud out. It holds the mud under pressure so it’ll fill but not overfill, and you end up with a consistent thickness. With the second coat, he’s trying to cover the tape a little bit more.

Right now the tape is not too far below the surface, but when we load our next layer on top of that, it’ll completely disappear. 

This is our inside corner tool. The mud comes through and it has a spring loaded edge, and it’ll follow whatever angle the corner is. Then for each layer, the angle gets a little wider to feather out the corner.

So I’m in charge of filling screw holes, and this is a little device for doing that. 

For the third coat, we move to the 12-inch box. These are basically the same, and you can get this in 8, 10, 12, 14 inch. So we’re just going to run out these flats, and then go back and pay a little more attention because this will be the final coat before sanding. The application is pretty much the same as for the first and second coats.

For the skim coat, Donavan sanded the third coat. And then we thin down the drywall mix to kind of a thick paint and feather it out. We’ll come back one more time with 150 grit sandpaper, which we may end up doing by hand. One thing that’s important to consider is that the drywall mud and the paper might take the paint differently, and this method can help with that and take out some of the dips from the butt joints. 

These are level five knives and this is 30 inch. These are really rigid, so you don’t have a lot of knife, and it has a rounded corner, so you don’t dig grooves into things. It’s much more forgiving with putting mud on. These were kind of a game changer when I started doing drywall.

So the skim coat has had a few days to dry now, and we’re going to go over it with some sanding to get it all cleaned up. From there, we’ll do touch ups in any areas that we can see that are clearly not good. Then we’ll put paint primer on, which will really highlight any problems, and we’ll touch up again.

We are working on getting our final paint colors figured out right now, but the ceiling in here is looking really great. The electricians stopped by and popped in all of the recessed lighting, so those are in there as well, and it’s really starting to come together. 

As a little bit of an aside, the plan for the great room has evolved a little bit. Our original plan was to only take this room this far, color match this paint, and just replace a trim around these enlarged windows.

The other issue with this room is that on almost all of the seams up here in the ceiling, the tape joints are failing, and the tape is peeling away. So later on, we’re going to come back through here and basically redo all of the seams in the ceiling. We will replace all the trim in here with a trim package that more closely matches the trim in the addition, and we’ll repaint and change the light fixtures. 

So for the next several episodes, it’s just going to be me. It is time to get into all the interior finishes, so that means that I get to go back into the shop and start actually making stuff again. I have the flooring to make, I have all the cabinetry to make, and I have all the trim to make. So that’s going to do it for this one. Thank you as always for joining us, we greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on Donavan’s level five drywall finishing technique, please feel free to leave us a comment. As always, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. And until next time, happy woodworking. 

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