What we found is that 4 days after we hung the drywall, the most tedious part of this room was yet to come. The drywall finishing process is a skill that I feel that 90% of people would be happier to go through life without needing to know or try to accomplish. Up until this point, most of the work done was grunt work that required building skills but certainly not artistic skills. Getting a 5 gallon pail of compound was just the start of a long tough 4 day process from start to finish. I feel that even after 4 days that I could still go on for another four just trying to get it perfect. Now, I know that there are a lot of really good drywall finishers that could do this entire process in one day using “hot” mud (quick setting modified compound) and really good skills with the knife, but I’m certainly not one of them.
I felt I did a good job with hanging the drywall which has a direct effect on how your taping and compound installation is going to go. If you give yourself nice, straight, staggered joints and solid straight framing behind the drywall, the process of laying down compound will be easier than if you got really sloppy with the drywall.
I did the process in three coats. The first coat was just to embed the tape into the corners and joints. It’s one of the most important steps because this will be the base for your top two layers. If you end up putting too much compound into the corners and not pulling it off, you will accomplish two bad things… One being that you will have a large amount of compound to sand off and second, you just added a lot more drying time because of the thickness of the compound. Yes, I did find this out the hard way multiple times but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it for next time.
The second coat is a fill coat. This is where I filled each of the seams and corners with compound in order to “fill” in all dips to give the surface a smooth, level appearance. This layer will shrink a bit so you can either overfill the dips or you can just finish the coat, let it dry and go back the next day for another coat. The reason I chose to do one flat coat and let it dry is that you can only do one side of a corner at a time anyway so there was no way to be finished that night. I would rather place less compound and let it shrink than to put a lot on and wait forever for it to dry.
After leaving for the night to dry, I came back the next afternoon to sand the second coat and to apply compound on the second side of all the corners. Once done I was able to top coat any of the seams that didn’t end up in a corner.
The final day of drywall finishing was day 4. This is where I sanded over all of the compound and applied a very light top coat to the entire room. This top coat will be the last coat and will take care of any final areas the need filling before we go to primer tomorrow.
Here are images of the 4 days of drywall finishing.