Saturday, January 31, 2009

Secrets of an amateur drywaller

Planning the Potager has been great fun. It's still in process and as the details are finalized I'll post more. Reality here is that the ground is still frozen under 6 inches of snow and ice. That doesn't look like it will change any time soon. Not to likely to get much done on the garden projects for a few more weeks.

Most of my time this past week has been spent on my least favorite activity. No, not taxes, though those run a close second. I've been drywalling the rooms we had to fix after our little water adventure. Now that it is mostly done, I am mudding. Not fun. I am getting better, and thought I'd share some of the bits I've learned (most of you probably already know this stuff, but it was new for me and learning it has made drywalling more successful if not enjoyable.)

1. If you can get a competent crew to come do the job for a reasonable, price hire them. Competent is key. Lots of folks do drywall on the side. They show up when it suits them, and they arent any better at it than I am. Not worth my money. But folks who know what their doing can bang out a job in short order and do it better and faster than I can. If you can find them, use them. If not...

2. Tools - get good ones. Wide mudding knives. Wider is better. A mud box. Sharp utility knife. Long straight edge. Rent a drywall jack to do the ceilings (you cant hold a sheet of drywall over your head and put in screws. Trust me on that one.)

Wide Knives and a Mud Box

3. Screws are better than nails. They hold better and you damage the boards less putting them in. Get a dimpler. It sets the screw at just below the board surface without tearing through the paper. Well worth the $12.


4. Buy good mud. The cheap stuff you can get at Walmart or Big Lots or where ever isn't worth the hastle. It doesn't go on smoothly, dry evenly, or save you any time or money. I like light weight joint compound. It is easy to work with and drys quickly.

5. Sanding is not your friend. Put the mud on thinly. Two or three coats to build up to a smooth surface is faster and better than one thick gob sanded down. The thick stuff takes a long time to dry. It cracks, and you never get is sanded down properly. When you paint over it you will see exactly where it is.

6. Don't hurry. Mud needs to be dry before you sand, topcoat, or paint. Give it time.
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