How To Sling Mud

I’m not gonna lie…I’ve really been dreading writing this post.  It’s not that I’m against slinging mud, taping drywall seams, and sanding down joint compound, it’s just not my favorite thing.  It’s time consuming and messy and dirty and it brings out my inner angry Angie.  She’s definitely not cute…even in pink pumps.  But it’s a necessary evil and we powered through the task.  It may have taken us a month to get through it, but it’s finally done…le sigh.  Now that we’ve sheet rocked/mudded/taped/sanded a few rooms in the house, we’re going to share with you our little “how to mud like Angie & Colby” post, not that it’s a good thing, as we perform the task on our freshly sheet rocked master bedroom.  We by no mean consider ourselves experts in this arena but we always give it the good ol’ college try and this is what works for us.  First up, the tools of the trade (photos courtesy of Home Depot):

And here’s what we’ve got:

  1. Joint compound knives in varying sizes
  2. Joint compound hawk
  3. Joint compound
  4. Mud mixer (I’m coining that term)
  5. Corner bead
  6. Joint compound tape
  7. Fine grit sanding sponges

That’s a whole lotta joint compound going on there.  According to Colby, the key to creating a truly seamless, drywalled room, and I quote, “slap on 12 gallons of mud and sand of 11 gallons”.  So true.  We went through alot of mud to cover up all those seams!

First up, patching the seams including a few gnarly corner seams.

To harden up the corners and make a nice, even seam, we used some corner bead.  It’s kind of a rigid plasticy material that you can secure to corners only to mud right over it.  It’s super easy to install and super effective.  It makes us look like pro sheet rockers!  To install it, first trim it down to size.

And then nail it or screw it into place.

Voila…instant corner.

You tape up seams in a similar fashion.  Just instead of nailing corner pieces into place, you stick joint compound tape, nice and evenly over the seams.  Sadly, I missed photographing that portion of the mud slinging program.  And speaking of mud sling…it’s time to bring in the gooey stuff.

Hot tip…mix your mud!  There’s nothing worse than finding air bubbles or chunks in your seams from poorly mixed mud.  As the official sander in the household, I find it frustrating.  So we first mix the mud using a mud mixer attached to a cordless drill.

And just whip it right around like you’re mixing up a cake…or frosting.  Just don’t eat it as it is not cake nor frosting.  You were gonna lick it weren’t you?!

The second phase of mud mixing occurs just before application using a hawk and a joint compound knife.

You just work the mud around on the hawk, smoothing and scraping until you get a nice, even consistency.  Then just scoop up the proper amount of mud needed and apply.  Be sure to use a decent amount on your first coat to be sure to cover up all the tape and corner bead.

The first coat is all about coverage.  The first coat doesn’t have to be terribly wide, you’re just going for full tape coverage and a nice even coat.

Corners tend to get tricky, but just have patience and keep working that mud right into the seams.  And on inside corners, like the one below, try to keep the “seam” where the two walls meet in a somewhat straight, parallel line.

And just keep swimming…errrrr….mudding.  Colby is the mudder extraordinaire here.

And don’t forget to cover all those screw holes.  Then, usually after a day or two depending on the humidity, the joint compound should be completely dry.  If you did a decent job on your first coat, you should be ready for coat number two of three.  But you may need to sand off some chunks before commencing mudding round two.  On your second coat, your goal is to widen out your first coat to make a more seamless transition between the seam and the wall.

Your third coat gets even wider (hence the two different sized joint compound knives that we use), but still covers up the original seam.  By the time the third coat is finished, the mudded seams should be considerably larger than the original tape width.  By this time, all the tape should be properly covered and there should be a nice tapered effect going on between the mud and wall leaving the surface relatively smooth and flat.  Next up…. sanding.  For the first go around of sanding, we like to use our orbital sander.

It’s a little unconventional but it’s 100% for our sanity.  The sander tends to leave marks in the dried mud, so you have to be careful not to sand too much and ruin the mud job.  Thus, it’s good for removing larger chunks of mud.  The worst part of mudding/sanding is the dust, at least in my opinion.  It drives me all kinds of crazy!  So to counteract the dust, we came up with a makeshift sander/vac system by duct taping the Shop Vac hose to the vacuum port of the sander.

This helps us get the big stuff sanded down smooth leaving the fine tuning for the hand sanding sponge.

I call this step of the sanding process “buffing”.  It’s just like buffing out all the scrapes, divots, and any other imperfection until you get an extremely smooth finish.

Can you tell I was totally posing for that picture?!  Clean, wet hair?  Not a spec of drywall dust on me?  A smile?!  Sucker please!  By the time you finish sanding, you should be able to run your hand across the walls and seams and feel nothing but smoothness.  That’s my true test of whether or not the wall is ready to go.  If you do find wonkiness, you just layer on a little bit more mud and sand it back down to smoothness.

Again…bad picture planner.  I don’t have a great picture of the room post sanding.  I was just too excited to jump right into priming and painting the room.  Painting is my favorite.  I seriously could paint all day long…and I’ve done it before!  It’s so relaxing.  Which is great because I’m pretty sure that by the time we outgrow our home, each room in our house will probably have been repainted at least five or six times.  Okay…kidding…more like eight times!

So hopefully we have helped you overcome any “oh-my-gosh we can’t sheet rock and mud” fears.  Trust me…if we can do this so can you!  Next up, priming.  Love the smell of primer in the evening!

Pssst…What’s new with you?  Any painting and priming projects going on in your neck of the woods?  I love me a good painting project!

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