Arts and crafts: Drywall

This sucks. I hate drywall. So much bother. Nothing is as simple as it’s supposed to be.

According to YouTube experts, it shoult take 2 days for a room like this. I’m on day 10 and not even close to painting. Experts say first rough coat to embed tape, then a finish coat. I’m on coat 5 trying to smooth out imperfections and look nice.

I have used three kinds of mud.

The bag stuff is recommended, but I don’t recommend it. Mixing doubles the time it takes to do your project. Then if you don’t mix just right, it’s too runny or too hard or starts to set too soon.

Green bucket “all purpose” premix is nice and thick so it sticks and fills well. But it seems to have a LOT of chunks in it that leave gouges in your finished work.

Blue “dust control” premixed is thinner and leaves a very smooth finish, but that thinness comes at a price. Coat over tape is usually not thick enough to coat it. And on ceilings, it is likely to drop large chunks.

Done right, there should be very little sanding needed. But I must be doing something wrong because my surfaces are nowhere near good enough to paint without sanding.

There is no noticable difference in the dust created between dust control and all purpose.

Drywall screws suck. They often either don’t go deep enough or they go too deep and punch through the drywall. I’m sure that with a few hundred more hours of practice I’ll get them just right. Either way, they create more work to get the surface just right. I’d prefer drywall with a tougher paper surface or screws with a larger head. While we’re at it, redesign the phillips head drywall screw with a torx so it isn’t slipping and stripping exery tenth screw.

Then there is the frame not being straight. So the wall isn’t going to be straight.

I know some people recommend adhesives. As I noted earlier, the old drywall I removed used adhesive on every 2×4 stud, but it didn’t bond anywhere on the drywall. And since I put up large plastic sheet as vapor barrier, adhesive would just stick to that, so it’s pointless.

Flaws in white mud in dim light or even bright light is nearly imposible. I use a bright flashlight shining from the side and then mark the flaws with my carpenter’s pencil. That way i don’t miss them.

About No One

I am totally non-threatening
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12 Responses to Arts and crafts: Drywall

  1. Ame says:

    Well, I guess you were bound to come across a part of construction you hated 😲


  2. Heresolong says:

    Drywall screw driver has a little collar that sets them to the right height. Dirt cheap tool.
    Yes, Phillips screws suck in all possible applications
    I have found that every single drywall project I have ever done, the tape stuck through the drywall, tore off on the corners when I tried to add mud, showed up when the project was allegedly done.
    Always too thick or too thin, never just right.

    Next time I need drywall finishing done I may well just hire someone after I finish hanging the sheets. I don’t ever want to deal with the hassle. I don’t have the patience in that particular field although I can spend hours sitting in front of a Harley getting it exactly right and spend most of my days in a classroom full of teenagers patiently explaining math to them. It’s odd.


    • Ame says:

      Heresolong – might it be okay if i tap into your professional knowledge?

      my daughter is working on her college degree online, which is perfect for her and her personality. but … college algebra is going to be a struggle for her b/c she’s dyslexic, and all the symbols get mixed in her mind. she signed up for it once and dropped it right away b/c she knew she wasn’t ready – she’s going to have to do some work on it all first.

      she’s very smart and was always good at math in school, but, at 23, it’s been a few years.

      might you have any suggestions? she’s very disciplined (i could never do online school like she does). if there was even a workbook or something that would make sense for her dyslexia with all the symbols, she would do that.

      thank you.


      • Heresolong says:

        Anne, Sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles. I don’t know much about dyslexia but my understanding is that it is a “language” issue so the only way to overcome it is to improve fluency. She might try doing drills with basic math facts in between whatever else she is working on to improve that aspect. Other than that, all I can suggest is what you’ve probably already done, which is dig around on the internet. This article popped up wihen I did a quick search and, although geared towards elementary students, had some interesting tidbits mixed in with the usual “develop a rapport with your student and emphasize the importance of math to them” boilerplate. You probably already know far more than this though. Oddly I haven’t had one single student come through with a diagnosis of dyslexia on a medical plan (16 years teaching). That seems unlikely so I wonder if we are catching it. Now I need to do a little more digging. I will post again if I find anything.

        Wish I could be more help.

        No One: Was not aware of that. Thinking back I don’t really know whether they slipped more, all I remember is that they set nicely. Too bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No One says:

        You are now both banned for going off topic.


      • No One says:

        Just kidding. I don’t get enough visitors that I feel the need to trim the comments.


      • Ame says:

        I don’t know much about dyslexia but my understanding is that it is a “language” issue so the only way to overcome it is to improve fluency.

        in a sense – i know they had to learn to decode words in a way that worked for their brains. she’s a prolific reader and an excellent writer, but she does have me edit all her work for school, and she has the computer read back to her everything she writes – double checking for dyslexia mistakes.

        Oddly I haven’t had one single student come through with a diagnosis of dyslexia on a medical plan (16 years teaching). That seems unlikely so I wonder if we are catching it.

        that’s interesting. my Oldest did not need special accommodations, however, i did have to fight to have her tested for dyslexia. at that time in the district we were in, they wouldn’t test till the end of 2nd grade. they did not want to test her. then she did not test as dyslexic, however, her IQ was so high that the differential between her test score and her IQ was too wide, so the dyslexia teacher called me. i basically cried and pleaded with her on the phone for an hour. the structure at that time was that if the child didn’t test as dyslexic, and there was still evidence of some kind it existed, then the case had to go before a committee. the dyslexia teacher said she’d seen this quite a bit, took my daughter’s case to committee, they ‘placed’ her in the dyslexia program, and within weeks she was reading like no tomorrow. it was … amazing.

        my Aspie Girl’s dyslexia was evident from the beginning, but they wouldn’t test her till the end of first (they moved the testing down a grade in the two years between my girls). her dyslexia was so severe they couldn’t even test her. she had multiple diagnoses. lots of advocating, IEP’s, ARD’s, years later, lots and lots of specialists, medical tests, procedures, changes, diet changes, etc etc ect … she’s now 21 and studying for her GED. thanks for all the above and more, her chronic gut pain is gone (about two years, now) and her brain is more clear than it’s ever been. and lots of other miraculous things.

        for my Oldest, the difference for her has been that it’s made her more of an A-B student rather than a straight A student, which she is just fine with.

        for some reason she decided she didn’t like math although she was always really good at it. often the teacher would have her tutoring other students after she finished her work – always early. somewhere in those years when her dad did bad things to her which caused her to become suicidal, and then he died when she was 16 so she had to deal with all of that, i think her brain just turned off math b/c she had to choose things to function and things to shut down.

        but … now she’s going to have to figure it out again so she can take the required classes and finish her degree in business. she took all her bus classes first and now is taking the required and electives.

        thanks for the link … i’ll check it out 🙂


    • No One says:

      The collared tools didnt work for me because they encorage slipping and stripping


      • Jc Collins says:

        I use a cheap Makita/DeWalt/Whatever bit holder with a collar what slides down to keep the screw lined up. You could go with a dedicated drywall screwdriver with a built in clutch, which can be had to fit most drills in place of the usual chuck, but after 30+ years of just using that bit holder, I usually get the right dimple. Took a while to develop ‘the touch’, I will admit.


      • No One says:

        Thanks JC. I also played use the sleeve to align the screws and keep them from falling away and drilling a phillips head shaped hole in my hand. I also played with the clutch on my drill. But the torque force required to put the screw in is directly related to the density of the wood behind it, not the desired depth of the screw. So, they still required some adjustments. My acquired method is to set the screws proud and then go back and gently set the last few millimeters. Still not perfect but it’s the best I can do. Thanks for commenting and visiting. Now you are banned.


  3. Jc Collins says:

    On drywall: Use a mud whip. Adding a little bit of dish soap can help, too. (a couple tablespoons, maybe, to the 5 gallon bucket).
    Just putting the lid back on the readimix isn’t enough, a plastic bag pushed down onto the surface is much better. Don’t let the surface dry out, that’s what’s causing the grooves. Sprinkle some water onto the surface of the mud in the bucket and on the mud in your pan.
    Clean your mud pan at least every other time you fill it. I hate hate hate dragging a crumb across a perfect float.
    Work from the LOW side of a joint to the high side. It seems wrong, but it works.
    Bed the tape along the line of the joint, yes, but float across the joint. I find that a herringbone kinda pattern works best. Start each float about 6″ out from the previous, and remember, you’re gonna be taking off at least as much mud as you’re leaving on.
    If you’re getting Don Ho’s Tiny Bubbles, mist the surface with a bit of water and swat it again.
    Remember, you’re probably gonna finish with some sort of texture


    • No One says:

      The grooves you see are from a brand new bucket, applied within minutes of first opening it. That is why I mentioned that the chunks were in the mix. As diligent as I am to pick them out, and to use clean tools, they are still there in every dollop.


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