Drywall finishing tips can help you avoid some common mistakes that contractors often make. Many people wait too long between coats of paint or drywall tape. This is bad practice. Always start with the first coat, as paint tends to settle and cover up little imperfections in the drywall. Using a taping blade at least twice as long as the joint length gives you room to work without having to overlap the tape.

Another common mistake that drywall finishing experts make is waiting too long between coats of joint compound or flashing. These last anywhere from three to eight coats, depending on the type of drywall you have. With a tape and roller in hand, start by smoothing out all corners and joints with joint compound. Work your way from the outside in, applying a light coat here and there to even out the appearance of the wall. When it’s time to add the next coat of drywall finishing compound, skim on it as soon as possible so that the compound gets a chance to work.

The finishing technique you choose depends on the type of finish you’re using. If you’re using a light coat of drywall finishing compound, you might start by adding an intermediate skim coat, followed by a final layer of drywall finishing compound. If you have a lot of detail in your wall or cutting out shapes, you might want to skip the intermediate skim coat and finish with a straight layer of drywall compound.

If your drywall finishing involves cutting out shapes or designs, don’t forget to sand the finished surface. Use medium-grit sandpaper to sand the wall, making sure to sand in a straight line. When finished, be sure to thoroughly clean the walls and trim before repainting. Finally, trim any extra drywall that may remain on your ceiling and/or floor.

The last step in drywall finishing involves attaching the trim around the outside edges of the joint. Use a drywall knife to pull on the tape and make sure the tape is flush with the edges of the wall. Once installed, Smooth-action tape ensures that the tape follows the edges of the ceiling and floor, smoothing out any bumps in the finished area.

The best drywall finishing levels are achieved with the use of a miter saw blades. Use a single blade for the majority of cuts, and two blades if you have them available. Miter boxes can also be purchased, but these are not necessary. If you purchase miter saws that have a zero degree cutting angle, they will not cut low enough to meet up with the corners of the walls. Instead, aim the blade at about forty degrees from the floor, and you’ll get just the right angle.

Drywall finishing requires patience, a lot of it, especially in the early stages. A drywall finishing process requires about twelve eight-foot sections of paper tape, one six-inch section of joint compound, and one twenty-four inch section of smooth or slightly rough paper adhesive. To complete one job, you’ll need about three to four hours of time. This can all be done while sitting in your house, watching TV, or just lying down doing nothing at all! It really is hard to go wrong with drywall finishing, as the results are often worth the time and effort.

Gary Roy is a professional drywall contractor in Portland, Maine. Gary shares his 30 years of construction experience by writing improvement articles for the public.