7 Drywall Sanding Tips

Lead Image for 7 Drywall Sanding Tips
  • 2-20 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-500

Sanding drywall can be a messy, frustrating, and time-consuming task. But it is one of the most important steps in making your walls look their best. These tips will help you to tackle the job with confidence.

Choose the Right Tool for the Job

    Attach pre-cut sandpaper cut to fit your sander, the main tool that is used is the hand sander. If you use finer grit sandpaper it will produce a smoother finish. You can also use a drywall screen which allows the drywall dust to fall down instead of collecting on the sandpaper, but using a screen does make it more difficult to get a smooth finish.

    Use a Pole Sander

    A pole sander can be helpful for high walls and large areas. You can use the pole sander in long, lengthwise strokes or short sideways strokes. Keep the sanding head angled slightly. Avoid getting the sanding head at a right angle to the pole because it can flip over and mar the surface.

    Try a Sanding Sponge for Corners

    A sanding sponge does a better job than a hand sander in corners. It is less likely to gouge the opposite wall as sometimes happens with the edge of a hand sander. You can also use a folded piece of drywall sanding paper.

    Practice Good Techniques

    Be sure the mud is thoroughly dry before you start to sand. Sand lightly, using moderate to light pressure. Move the sander around as you sand. Avoid sanding in a straight line that can show up as a depression when you paint. Rather than trying to sand out gouges and big ridges, apply another layer of joint compound with your trowel. It's easier and you can damage the face paper of the drywall by excessive sanding, especially at the edge of the joints.

    Don’t Skip the Final Inspection

    When you think you are finished be sure to check all walls, joints, and corners. Use a flashlight at different angles to catch any areas that need touch-ups. Mark these with a pencil. Use a sanding sponge to correct any small imperfections. If you find deep gouges or scratches then it is best to recoat them, let the compound dry and resand them.

    Minimize the Dust

    Place plastic drop cloths above all door and ventilation ducts to keep the dust contained so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the house. Protect yourself from drywall dust by using eye protection and a mask with ventilation, and try wet-sanding with a sponge. Rub over the joints to smooth them out in areas that don’t need a lot of sanding as this will eliminate some of the mess you get with dry sanding. A sponge is also good for sanding around electrical boxes and other openings.

    Consider renting a dust-catching sanding system. You can also purchase a sanding system that attaches to a shop vacuum. Once you are finished sanding, you need to vacuum the entire work area and be sure not to miss any wall openings and ledges.

    Make It Safe

    Drywall dust is easily breathed into your lungs. Protect yourself by wearing a mask with ventilation. And always wear eye protection.