Drywall mud can be frustrating to use, but with a bit of practice, you can become quite handy at doing it. Most tools involving the application of drywall mud are inexpensive to purchase at your local hardware store or home improvement center. Follow the simple tips below to ensure the best application.
Step 1: Proper Consistency
One of the most important things to remember when applying drywall mud is to be sure it is the proper consistency. The compound that comes pre-mixed in a plastic container or in a plastic bag inside a box is usually the correct texture, but you may find you need to add some water to it. Don't add water until you have thoroughly stirred it with your mud knife or paint stirrer to completely blend the product. You may find that it is drier at the top of the container than at the bottom.
If you are mixing mud yourself by adding water to the powdered form, it should be mixed to about the consistency of toothpaste. Mix it thoroughly to a smooth and uniform consistency.
Step 2: Proper Applications
If you are applying drywall mud to nail holes or other holes, pick some up with your drywall knife and squeeze it onto the recess from the screw head. Then use the clean edge in one downward stroke to smooth it. Allow it to dry as it most likely will shrink into the recess. You can then apply subsequent light coats and sand it smooth.
If applying mud to seams in drywall, start on the first coat by applying enough mud to cover about 4-inches wide on each side of the seam. Apply the drywall tape to cover the seam and press it down into the mud using a 3 to 4-inch drywall knife. You can then apply another coat of compound over the tape to extend at least an inch on either side of the tape. Use your drywall knife to remove the wrinkles and the air pockets (if any) out of it and let dry for a few hours. On the subsequent 2 or 3 applications of the compound, keep spreading it wider on either side of the tape to help make the surface as flat as you possibly can. After the final application is completely dried, you can sand it with the hand sander.