Sheetrock Tool Kit

Before You Tape Sheetrock:

If you are a homeowner attempting to renovate, remodel, or expand your home, learning how to tape Sheetrock can be one of the most important skills you can master.  Because the quality of your results will be a visible finished product for the life of your renovation, taking the time to learn out to properly tape, float, and sand Sheetrock joints will make your work seem more professional, look better, and last longer.  A poor Sheetrock tape job will stand out in any color, and in any light showing ugly shadows and lumps.  A proper drywall taping will make walls seem uniform and smooth, as if one piece of gypsum board was made specifically for your wall.

Drywall Tools:

There are a number of drywall tools you’ll need to learn how to tape Sheetrock properly.  Although it may be temping to buy lower grade “consumer” level drywall tools, the amount of time saved, and the finished product will be well worth the cost.  Now, there is no need to buy anything fancy, like automatic drywall taping tools.   However you should not hesitate to spend around $50-100 dollars to get pro-grade metal tools with comfortable handles.  Don’t be fooled by cheap plastic taping knives, or floats.  Some of the tools you’ll need include:

6” Taping Knife
10” Floating Knife
2” Drywall Tape
Mud Pan
Utility Blade
Joint Compound (drywall mud)

How To Tape Sheetrock:

Step 1:  
The first step in learning how to tape Sheetrock, is to prepare the surface for finish work.  Make sure all screw and nail heads are sunk below flush, all joints are tight, all corner bead is attached, and all outlets are already pre-cut.  Once you get going with the tape and mud, you won’t be able to stop without risking your joint compound drying prematurely.  

Step 2:
From your box of drywall tools, grab the 6” taping knife and fill your mud pan about half way full of drywall mud.  Once you are ready to tape your Sheetrock, start by applying a generous line of mud down your first seam, covering an area about 4-6 inches wide, the length of your joint.  

Step 3:
Measure (eyeball) and cut (tear) your first strip of 2” drywall tape at the length of your seam.  Press it firmly into your mud by hand evenly spacing 1” of tape on either side of the joint the length of the seam.  

Step 4:
Run your 6” taping knife firmly down the entire length of the joint to remove excess joint compound, and seat your tape properly in the mud.  If you tape seems to “bubble” out a little bit from the wall, you are not pressing hard enough, if it is ripping or tearing you are pressing to hard.  

Step 5:
Spread a thin layer of mud over your newly applied tape, just enough to wet both sides of the tape.  Don’t overdo it here.  You are not looking to create the perfect joint in one step, you are simply trying to seat the drywall tape properly into the seam.  Patience is an important part of learning how to tape Sheetrock.  Repeat on all joints and let the joint compound dry.

Step 6:
From your box of drywall tools, attach a sanding screen to your drywall sanding pad and pole.  Lightly sand any high spots on your joints, but take care not to expose the drywall tape below your thin layer of mud.  

Step 7:
Using your 10” Floating Knife, apply a good sized layer of mud over your seam making sure to cover the tape and about 3-6 inches of Sheetrock on either side of the seam.  Your goal is to blend the two sheets of drywall into one.  Do not over apply mud in this step in attempt to decrease your labor.  You want to slowly mud, sand, slowly mud, sand etc., until the finished product is smooth and professional.  

Step 8:
Repeat steps 6-7 one to three more times using the proper drywall tools until you have achieved a seamless joint of all the sheets of Sheetrock you have applied.  

Step 9:
Using a fine grit finishing sanding pad, prepare the walls for paint by thoroughly inspecting every joint for high or low points.  

Enjoy your new renovation and take pride in the fact that you have poured your time and energy into a long standing piece of work.