DIY Network

Drywall Tools and Prep (page 2 of 3)

Find the essential tools needed for installing drywall.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Tape and Joint Compound

After you have cut and installed in place each drywall sheet, you will need to smooth the joints. Creating a smooth finish between drywall panels requires both tape and joint compound.

Joint tape is used to reinforce the seams between drywall panels. You can also use it to repair any cracks in your walls. Paper tape used to be the only option available for drywalling, and it is still in use. Paper tape is 2" wide with a light crease along the center for folding to create straight inside corners. Fiberglass mesh tape is more popular than paper tape because it is easier to work with. Available in widths of 1-1/2" and 2", mesh tape can be found in non-adhesive and self-adhesive rolls. It is used along gaps and around holes in walls. It is more difficult to create a straight seam in corners with mesh tape and it is more easily torn than paper tape. If you are drywalling a large space, mechanical taping tools are available.

Joint compound
Premixed and powdered joint compounds are available, and are rated by drying time. You may hear about taping and topping compounds. Taping compounds are used for the first coat, where you embed the tape along the drywall seam. Coarser, fast-drying compounds are usually used during this first pass. Thinner, topping compounds are used on the top coats. All-purpose joint compounds are somewhere in between. These are a good choice for small areas, and for DIYers wanting to tackle drywalling for the first time.

Powdered joint compounds need to be mixed with water, and come in a variety of textures. Usually available in bags, the powder can be stored at any temperature.

Premixed joint compound is available, ready-to-use, in buckets. Keep out of sunlight, and do not allow it to freeze. It lasts about a month after opening.

Fast-setting joint compound is called "setting type." Products are available that can set in as little as 20 minutes. The benefit of working with fast-setting joint compound is that you can apply a second coat sooner. If you choose to work with fast-setting, be aware that you have limited time to apply the mixture, so be careful to mix only an amount that you can use in the time you have available.

Fiberglass non-adhesive tape
This has to be stapled over seams to be secured in place. It is harder to work with than self-adhesive tape. It can be cut using a utility knife (Image 1).

Fiberglass self-adhesive tape
Self-adhesive tape can be simply pressed over seams to adhere in place. With the ease of use comes a higher price tag–it is more expensive than non-adhesive tape (Image 2).

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009