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Tom
TOH Wants Your Tips!
Tom

Hi there,

I'm looking to you for some great tips on the following topics:

  • Using taping knives to smooth joint compound
  • Good ways to smooth over rough plaster
  • Tricks when using joint compound (or plaster) to get straight, smooth corners

I'm looking forward to reading your posts!

Tom

OnTheBenchAgain
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
OnTheBenchAgain

Tom,

I have had quite a bit of drywall and joint compound experience just a home owner but my current home had an immense amount of wallpaper covered in paint and the removal of the wallpaper in all rooms except one required a lot of smoothing and in one room I gave up and removed all the drywall and installed new because the damage was just to great to repair.

To answer your questions I find the larger the taping knife the better the end result. I skip the 6in and 8in knife in most situations and go right for the 10in. the end result seems to bridge any low spots. The standard of 4 light coats always turns out better than 1 or 2 heavier coats which is the biggest mistake I have seen in mist jobs. I generally knock down any high spots with a random orbit sander with a 150 grit paper and preferably a vacuum attachment for the dust.

About 3 years ago I found some metal centered patches up to 12 inches at big orange and have used them to fix fairly large holes (needed for running network, phone and Cable TV cables) I highly recommend them but a trick I have figured out on them is to cut the paper to on the front of the drywall to the size of the mesh that is over the metal center and then fill the wall ends up as smooth as the unaltered drywall.

If by rough plaster you mean textured plaster I don’t have anything for that but if you mean someone else’s mistakes I divot it with a sander and then fill it in again just be careful not to get down to the tape if it is joint.

On corners I have used a corner knife for inside corners and the only tip I have for outside corners is to hit the corner to get down to the corner bead if there is one there and then fill form the corner bead out 8-10in and sand until you are happy.

Thanks for the question.

Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!

The only tip I can offer on the corner joint and a moist sponge. I fold the drywall tape in half to form the corner. Then use a 4 inch and a 6 inch cutting knife for the straight walls. With a smooth motion, I use the moist sponge to clean out the excess compound out of the corner. I like the results, but I'm sure there are better options.

robinga2
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
robinga2

After having drywalled nearly my entire house over the course of the last 17 1/2 years, I feel somewhat qualified to respond. I must agree that using larger taping knives goes a long way to having success in your drywall projets. Sometimes I will use a smaller knife for the first coat to avoid getting too much. Three smaller coats is much better than too much on your first coat and having to deal with all the sanding that you'll need to do.

I wouldn't do inside corners without a corner taping knife. HUGE timesaver there, and it gives you a very nice finish.

Using the lightweight joint compound is a little easier to work with as well, and adding just a touch of water to the compound after you fill your trough makes it just a little thinner and smoother. It will help it go on easier.

I never put used joint compound back in the bucket. Only get out what you need, because you don't want anything from your walls (dust, small pieces of drywall, etc.) Also make sure that you get the lid back on tight when you're through.

Just a few thoughts, thanks for asking.

Silyrabbt
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
Silyrabbt

Tom-

as a woman, and someone who actually enjoys taping/skim coating (yes, I am a blonde!), I highly recommend a 4 inch taping knife -- works especially well for smaller hands (like woman's) but also provides greater control and precision when applying compound to a seam -- if your seams have to be wider than that, you need some practice with a banjo!!!

As for the rough plaster, that depends on how large of an area you are smoothing. I use a wet sanding sponge and a spray bottle to get area moist for smaller areas (under a few sq ft, and also if in a living area I don't want to clean and dust). If a large area is rough, and if not in an active living area (extra room, small bedroom, etc), I will use a contraption on end of shop vac -- almost no dust (even on ceiling sanding). It uses a screen as a sander (multiple levels of "grit" available) and works like a charm!

For straight, smooth corners, I've never gotten the hang of the corner tools -- too large to fit in my wee little hand, and also not good for someone without large upper arm muscles (no, with all the skim coating and taping, I still don't look like a body builder in shoulders!). I use a 4 inch knife with a smaller knife for feathering edges. On outside corners, this may take a bit of time, but on inside corners, works a dream. I can tape entire interior corner with larger knife, and use the little one to finish things off. And being a smaller person (smaller than the massive men I see on my job sites!), I am IN the corner, can see and feel everything -- and I can often do it faster than the guys can with their corner tools.

Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!

The trick to any good plastering/ plaster repair is to take your time. Don't try to fill giant craters in first pass. Personally, at our house we prefer the more permanent surface one gets with Durabond. It tries quickly and is a more solid surface. It is not as forgiving as joint or topping compounds to errors, so again work in steps instead of trying to complete the job too quickly. Joint comounds take a long time in high moisture areas to cure to a priming state. I believe I made many a botched re-do because the exterior surface appeared to be dry enough.
Another tip, keep those knives in good condition. Thoroughly clean and dry them as soon as you finish that step of plastering.
By the way, I am a woman and not blonde!(people now think I am blonde, but redheads "gray"looks blonde!)

Landlord Greg
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
Landlord Greg

Hey Folks,

I concur with what everyone has added here. One tip I have found works best for me on the corners (both inside and out) is to do one surface at a time. For example, if you are doing an inside corner where the wall meets the ceiling, do the ceiling-side first, wait for it to dry, and then do the wall-side surface. This prevents gouging of the compound and provides a straight edge to run the knife tip along. I find that it also makes it easier, in the long run, to feather the edges.

Another tip - let the first layer of compound dry thoroughly. Then, to trim off any raised compound, I use a 10" blade and run it across the surface. This shaves off any excess from the last layer applied and makes application of the next layer a breeze.

Wayne
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
Wayne

I built a new home and plastering was a pain more than anything else other than sanding. Next time I think I am going to use a texture sprayer to spray the mud in the joints and corners then smooth it out. Anything is got to be better than mudding.

Wayne

hbergh
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
hbergh

If we are talking about old horse hair plaster what I have found after 14 rooms in my house, is once the walls are down to just plaster, I put on a coat of good primer, this keeps the little pieces from coming loose when you are skimming. I too use the fast curing joint compound powder because it dries faster, harder, and is not so easy to over sand or gouge. It also is easier to fill the deeper crevases with less shrinking.

As far as taping, I start with the 6" so not to over load the tape, then to a 10" and finish with a 12" for feathering. Sometimes a damp sponge is helpful to eliminate some initial sanding.

Inside corner tools are helpful if the corner is pretty square, if it isn't I will use the straight knife on each side.

If you have odd inside corner angles such as bay windows, or as in my case old house with chases like 45 or 60 degrees, I snap a plumb chaulk line then run painters tape along the line then straight knife the side oposite the tape, once it has dried remove the tape and fill the other side. Works great!

kentvw
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
kentvw

If you are skimming over old texture or rough walls I would highly recommend that you use topping compound sold in buckets or boxes. While you’re at it have an extra bucket used for mixing the topping. In the drywall tools area you will find a mixing paddle that can be chucked up in a half inch drill motor. Use this type of paddle to mix your factory mixed topping with a little water to make a nice smooth, buttery textured topping mix and keep a wet towel over it while you work. Dried mud clumps are the enemy of an easy job so keep the edges of your pan scraped down. If you tools start getting too much dried out mud on them clean up and start fresh. For overnight storage of your topping mix scrape down the sides of your mixing bucket and pour an inch or so of fresh water on top of it. The water can be poured off the next morning and you can remix.

memaw1001
Re: TOH Wants Your Tips!
memaw1001

Tom.
You read my mind. I cann't help much but I have heard of the damp sponge technique. Be careful of not letting it get dry enough, it makes a mess of your walls like you wouldn't believe. I am going into my first total drywall job on my house and I will be keeping an eye on everyones tips.
Thanks

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