Drywall Tape Coat

The first step in the mudding process is called the drywall tape coat. If you haven’t yet read the page on taping drywall, do so now. That page will give you the information you need to begin the taping and mudding process.

The drywall tape coat is the coat of mud that will cover up your taped seam.

Mudding Preparation

As with all other steps in the drywall installation process, there are a few things you must do to prepare.

  • Make sure the walls are all cleared of any dust.
  • Lay down newspaper or plastic around the edge of the wall.
    • If you are mudding the ceilings you will want to do the whole floor.
  • Finally, go through and check out all of your seams on the walls and corners to make sure they are flat and secured.
  • Dress properly in work clothes. Applying drywall mud is dirty work and gets on everything - including you!
  • Be prepared to wash your tools and dry them at the end of each and every day of work with mud.

Necessary Tools and Equipment

  • All-Purpose Drywall Mud
  • 4-6” Drywall Knife
  • Drywall Corner Knife
  • Drywall Mud Pan
  • Dropcloths / Plastic Sheeting (to protect the floor)
  • Sanding Sponge & Water Bucket
  • Drill with Stir Rod Attachment (for mixing the mud)

Helpful Tip - We have found carrying two drywall knives makes the process a lot easier, allowing you to clear the knife you are using to smooth out the seams.

Applying the Drywall Tape Coat

When applying the tape coat your main goal is to fill in the tape (if using fiberglass tape) or to completely cover over the paper tape making the seam no longer visible. This usually spans out approximately 4-6” on either side of the seam.

Apply mud to your flat wall seams within about 3/4” of the corners and stop, allowing yourself room to overlap your corner seam with the wall seam. Complete all of your flat seams before tacking the corners.

When applying your tape coat in corners remember to apply it somewhat liberally.

Also, remember to keep constant pressure on the tip of your knife. This will allow for a smooth coat. It is difficult to go back over corners to touch them up. So just remember to keep even pressure and keep moving.

Allow for 24-36 hours for your mud to completely dry. It may be ready sooner but there is nothing worse than sanding wet mud.

Sanding the Drywall Tape Coat

Most professional drywallers don’t sand until the final coat of drywall mud. Through years of practice, they have perfected the art of applying mud.

Do-it-yourselfers should expect to sand lightly between each coat. It is labor-intensive and dusty, but a necessary part of achieving beautifully finished drywall.

A dust mask is highly suggested for this step in the process.

Dampen your sanding sponge with water and wring out thoroughly. This will leave the sponge very slightly damp. Using a sanding sponge instead of a sanding block will help eliminate excessive dusting. You can feel free to use a dry sanding block if dust does not concern you.

With a sanding sponge, the sponge will need to be dipped in a water bucket and wrung out often. Change the water as necessary.

Do not over-sand on the drywall tape coat. You only want to remove any spurs, ridges, or extreme high spots in your mud.

Your drywall tape coat is now complete. You can move on to the next step in the drywall mudding process – the drywall fill coat.

Thanks for visiting our instructional page on the drywall tape coat. Click here to return to the How To Drywall home page.