Mudding drywall qualifies as one of the less pleasant aspects of drywall installation, but there are many tricks of the trade that can make this a far more pleasant experience.
First, drywall mud comes either pre-mixed in five gallon pails or as a dry compound that is mixed with water. Dry compound comes in a few types and is found in variations of coarser or finer finish mud for different steps in the process of mudding drywall.
For the average do-it-yourselfer, the pre-mixed drywall compounds are the easiest to deal with. They have a consistency somewhere between the coarse and finer dry-mixes and can be used throughout the mudding process.
Applying drywall mud, especially in corners, is often the lengthiest part of the process. If a coat is applied too thick you must do a lot of sanding to make it smooth and even. If you place a coat too thin you will need to come back and reapply another coat. So this is where you will need to develop finesse and reach that middle ground between the two.
Mudding drywall is a general term that really consists of three distinct steps, or coats:
The technique for each of these coats is slightly different.
The first coat, or “tape coat”, is intended to apply an initial coat onto which you can apply & cover drywall tape. This is a fairly thin coat.
The second coat, or “fill coat”, is applied after the “tape coat” has dried. Drywall mud shrinks as it dries, creating the necessity of several coats of drywall. This is done with a wider putty knife, creating a thin secondary coat.
The final step in mudding drywall is called the “finish coat”. This is done with a very wide drywall knife, 10-12”, and is the final mudding step before sanding and priming.
Applying drywall mud requires patience and a light touch, so follow the step by step directions carefully.
Mudding drywall is the real work of drywall installation, and it may take you a little bit of practice to grow comfortable with it. You’ll find yourself growing more and more confident in your abilities as you go along.