If you are thinking about taking on your own home repair projects, one of the most intimidating jobs ahead is probably taping drywall. Uneven walls are very unattractive and every home owner wants their walls to look perfect, even if it is a DIY project. The good news is that drywall has become the standard form of wall covering because of its ease in finishing and perfecting.
Drywall should be taped at any point where two pieces of drywall meet, or where there will be no trim, baseboard, or panels to cover the imperfection. In order to do this, you must use a strip of paper and a plaster compound, generally known as joint compound. This will ensure that your wall appears to be one single piece of material. Along with each seam being covered with this compound, you will also want to cover each screw hole to ensure a flat surface.
Before you begin taping your drywall, make sure that you have installed the corner bead on all corners that are considered outside corners. Make sure that all of the screws are embedded deep enough that you can fill the hole with joint compound, but not so deep that they go through the gypsum, or drywall board.
First Coat The first coat of joint compound that will be applied involves taping the joints. Using a 6″ drywall mud knife, apply the joint compound into the dent created when the two pieces of drywall meet. It is okay if you use more than you think you will need, as you will scrape off the excess compound when you are finished. The main purpose is to fill in the hole enough that the tape rests completely flat between the two pieces of drywall, to create a smooth finish. Once you have enough joint compound to completely fill the gap, lay a piece of the paper tape over the seam. Press it lightly into the compound with your hand to ensure that it sticks.
Place a small amount of joint compound on your knife and smooth over the tape, completely covering it Allow the compound to dry for at least 24 hours and then sand the area to remove any imperfections.
Second Coat Using an 8 inch drywall knife, make a second pass over the seams that you filled in on the wall the day before. Make sure to use a smoother technique so that you will not need to sand as much on this layer. Make sure that you do not leave any streaks or grooves in this layer. Wait 24 hours and sand the area again.
Third Coat Using a 10 or 12 inch knife, make a final pass over the joints. This should be the smoothest coat that you apply and should be completed with a lot of care. Again, wait 24 hours and sand the final result until it is completely smooth.
You can now paint your walls with confidence.