Tips for sanding, finishing and cleaning up after drywall application.
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Drywall: Sand, Finish and Clean
Sanding drywall may seem like a lot of work but it’s one of the most rewarding parts of a drywall project. Not only is it your chance to fix mistakes you’ve made so far, it’s the last step in creating smooth beautiful walls. How much sanding you’ll need to do depend on how well you taped and mudded your wall. If you did that part of the job right, you’ll hardly need to sand it all. But if there are a lot of imperfections, you’ll have your work cut out for you. With these tips however, sanding should be a breeze. Sanding drywall compound creates a lot dust. So, the first step is to protect yourself with a dust mask and safety glasses. If you plan on doing a lot of sanding, you may even want to get a respirator and a hooded jumpsuit.
Of course, you don’t want that dust all over the house either. So, now it’s time to prep the room. Lay drop cloths in the room you’re sanding. This will keep the dust from getting into the carpet or the grooves of hardwood floors. The next thing you’ll want is a way to wall off the area you’re working in to prevent the dust from spreading. You can hang sheets of heavy clear plastic or use a handy dust isolation system. This type of system uses telescoping poles to hold plastic sheeting to the ceiling and floor creating a snug dustproof barrier. Another good idea is to place a box fan so that it blows out in open window. This will create negative pressure in the room sucking some of the dust outside.
With your home and lungs protected, it’s time to get sanding. The goal here is to sand away any blemishes in the drywall mud. Hand sanders are ideal for sanding away any imperfections within reach. For the best result, use fine 150-grit drywall sandpaper and sand in an even push pull motion along the seams. When sanding particularly high ridges, try starting with coarser 120 or medium grit sandpaper before moving down to the 150. You’ll also want to get a pole sander for ceilings and other hard to reach places. Remember, you’re just sanding the drywall compound. Avoid sanding the drywall itself or you may create more problems for yourself by scuffing or tearing the paper surface. Try using either an angled sanding sponge or a single piece of sandpaper for better control in tight areas like around corners or outlets, where you’re more likely to scratch the drywall.
You want to replace each sheet of sandpaper as it loose its roughness, becoming smooth to the touch. An average size room takes three to four sheets. Once the last blemishes sanded and your walls are nice and smooth, it’s time for the easiest part of the whole process, clean up. Thoroughly sweep or vacuum every surface but be careful. Drywall dust can clog the motor of a conventional shop vacuum, so rent a special drywall vacuum. They used to use self-cleaning filters and rent for about $40.00 a day. You’ll also want to gently wipe down the wall with a damp sponge to remove any remaining dust. When everything is sanded and wiped clean, your walls are ready for a fresh coat of paint. Follow these tips and you’ll have a beautiful seamless wall that you will enjoy for years.
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