How to Finish Drywall Seams

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  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Paper tape
Joint compound
Joint knife
What You'll Need
Paper tape
Joint compound
Joint knife

Knowing how to finish drywall properly can mean the difference between a professional looking wall and a mess that needs to be torn apart and redone. Luckily, finishing drywall is well within the capabilities of an average homeowner and can be performed successfully with only a few special tools. Even more difficult procedures, such as finishing drywall seams are quite possible to accomplish. However, finishing your drywall seams will require proper planning and knowledge. What follows should give you everything you need to know to finish your own drywall seams.

Measuring the Tape

Get out your paper tape. Measure it against your seam, then unroll enough to cover the entire thing, plus a little extra. Once you have the right amount of tape measured out, cut it with your joint knife by holding the joint knife against it tightly and pulling the tape sharply. Set this tape aside.

Applying Joint Compound

Now that you have your paper tape measured properly and prepared to apply, you can apply joint compound to the seam. Use your joint knife to do so, and move it in perpendicular motions to the seam. Use plenty of joint compound. You will remove most of it later, but it is important to use enough that will fill the seam with plenty to spare.

Applying Tape

Apply the tape you have measured previously, centering it over the seam, and lining up the edge of the tape that you cut with a corner. Use your joint knife to cut off the other end using the same technique you used previously. The ends will be covered by trim later.

Press down lightly until the tape is held in plallce.

Removing the Excess.

Now that your paper tape is in place, you can remove all of the joint compound that is not absolutely required. Use your joint knife to do this. Start at the top and work your way down, pressing reasonably hard. Go over the surface as many times as necessary.

Save the joint compound that you scrape off.

Adding a Second Coat

Add another coat of joint compound over the previous layer and the tape. Use the same technique you used for the first layer.

Finishing the Second Coat

Once again, use your joint knife to remove the excess joint mixture. However, this time you will need to be very careful not use too much pressure. Use as little pressure as you can and rely on multiple tries to get all of the excess joint mixture off your drywall. The end result should be flat, with the seam filled and covered completely.

Checking for Defects

Before finishing up, you should check the seam to make sure it is flat and free of defects. The best way to do this is by laying your joint knife flat against your drywall and seeing if it touches at all parts. If it does not, you may need to add more joint mixture. If it does, wait 12 hours for the mixture to dry, then sand it lightly.