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Drywall an Existing Wall

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Step 4: The Taping Ceremony

When the sheets are in place, attach the corner bead, the L-shaped plastic used to cover outside corners.

Before you tape the joints, attend to a couple of details:

  1. Check that all screw and nail heads are below the surface by sliding a taping knife over the screw heads.

  2. Fill any extra-deep areas with setting-type joint compound. This mud—the generic name for mortar and plaster compounds—fills deep areas better than standard drywall joint compound, and also sets faster.

Now it's time to tape. Drywall tape helps hide the joints between panels. You can buy paper or fiberglass tape. You place fiberglass tape directly on a dry joint. You embed paper tape in a fresh layer of joint compound, and then cover it with another layer of compound.

Lay paper tape in fresh joint compound: Trowel a layer of compound along a seam. Quickly press the tape into the seam. Lay a second coat of compound on the tape while the first coat is wet, smoothing the tape as you go.

Corners are a bit more difficult, especially inside corners. Work from the corner toward the flat sections, and take your time. A corner trowel is essential for inside corners.

Tape an inside corner much like a flat joint. First, place mud in the corner with a 4" knife. Then spread the mud with a corner trowel. Fold paper tape and use the corner trowel to press it into the mud. Don't try to get a perfect joint on the first coat.

Use a small taping knife (4" model shown) to fill screw holes. Return for a second coat after the compound shrinks.

With the first coat of mud in place, let everything dry overnight.

Step 5: Finishing the Job

Building Smarts

Drywall sanding screens won't clog with drywall dust, so they will work much longer than sandpaper.

A wide drywall knife—drywall trowel—is ideal for applying second and third coats of joint compound.

After the first coat has dried, scrape the ridges with a drywall knife. Sand other high spots with a drywall sanding screen. Use a dust mask and good floor covering at this dusty stage.

After the high spots are leveled, apply a second coat of joint compound on the remaining voids.

You'll probably need a third coat of drywall mud, but it should be thinner, easier to apply, and faster to dry. After the third coat, spackling, such as Patch 'n Paint, is ideal for filling any low spots.

When the wall is dry, prime and paint. After you learn the basics of drywall, you can start more complicated projects, like building an archway.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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