DIY Network

Closing Up the Walls: Finishing the Drywall

As the Home IQ team follows this home construction process, the second drywall crew arrives to begin the finishing the drywall phase. Rebecca Silva of USG will explain the latest technology in corner-bead application.

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finishing the drywall

Hanging the drywall took only a week; finishing it off, however, takes three times as long and is done by a totally different crew. The "finishers" cover the seams between the sheets of drywall, finish off the corners and make the walls look like one smooth surface.

  • Three layers of drywall compound must be put on each joint and then each layer is allowed to dry and then sanded before the next one is applied.

  • The next step is to tape the joints between each piece of drywall, and a handy time-saving tool called the "banjo." The banjo is strung with tape and filled with drywall compound ("mud").

  • After the tape is applied a caulking knife is used to smooth the mud and remove the excess.

  • Finishing is a craft and it takes an artist to make it look perfect.

  • There are tricks of the trade that are learned with years of experience. For example, the corners look crisp because our experienced finisher knows to use the crease that's already in the paper.

  • The wallboard used comes with the taping process in mind by having tapered edges. When the finisher wipes down the tape with the caulking knife, he must make sure that the wallboard is imbedded properly. If it isn't when the next coat is ready to go on it will be difficult to cover.

  • At this point in the drywall process the heat is turned on in the house in order to make the tape and the mud set up quicker. The finishers could lose days on the job with wet mud that doesn't set properly.

  • Once the first layer is dried and sanded the second layer of mud is applied, and a new tool — called the "box" — is used for this process. The box does the finish work on the joints. First, it delivers a perfect 10" layer with one swipe, and next it's used to remove the excess. This layer is left to dry.

  • The third, and final, layer is applied on all the joints using the box again. But this particular box is a bit wider (12" ) than the one used for the second layer.

  • Another example of new technology utilized in the Oberg house is the corner bead, which is a paper-face "metal" bead that's made of a strong paper tape that is laminated onto a strip of metal. The joint compound is applied to the paper and that will adhere the corner bead to the drywall. This new method creates a smoother, more flexible, bond than the old way.

  • The corner bead is cut to length, run through a mud hopper and set on the corner. Using a roller, the corner bead is pressed into place and a caulking knife is used to remove the excess mud.

  • Once the corner bead is up throughout the house, everything is sanded one more time. This "final" sanding is aggressive because it's the last chance to make sure the walls are perfect.

  • When the drywall is done the entire house is inspected to make sure everything is right.