How to Tape and Mud Drywall | Drywall Compound vs. Premixed Mud
Did you recently tear a room down to the studs and now you need to know what’s next? If you’re wondering how to mud drywall, we’ll walk you through what we learned and how we mudded our hall bathroom. “Mudding” is the process of joining two separate pieces of drywall together.
Materials List for how to mud drywall:
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- Flexible Joint Knife, 2 inches and 6 inches (AKA Taping Knife)
- Mud Pan
- Drill (for mixing 20 Minute Mud)
- 5 Gallon Paint Mixer (for Joint Compound, not needed for Premixed Mud)
- Large bucket to mix in
- Sanding sponge
We used both Drywall Compound (20 Minute Mud) and Premixed Mud during our Bathroom Renovation. Each has its pros and cons that we’ve outlined based on our own experience.
Drywall Compound (20 Minute Mud):
- Pros: Does not shrink when it dries, less expensive, long-term storage as a powder (Doesn’t freeze or harden)
- Cons: Comes in a powder so you’ll need mixing tools. Each batch is a little different.
- Pros: Ready to use, perfectly consistent every time
- Cons: Shrinks when it dries, more expensive, will eventually harden if not used soon after opening, specific storage temp to avoid potential mold after opening.
We used a combination of each of these options depending on the task we were doing and how much mudding needed to be done that day. Since you know we’re not full time DIYers, we sneak in an hour or two of work at a time whenever we have the time. Sometimes we had had an entire afternoon to work on the bathroom, so we were able to mix the mud. Other days we worked on the bathroom while little man was napping and so we opted for the premixed mud to save ourselves time getting set up and cleaning after we were finished.
If you’re mixing drywall compound you’re going for a pancake batter consistency. There’s instructions on each of the bags, but depending on the time of year and humidity, an extra cup of water makes a difference. Go slow. You can always add more compound to your mix.
As a bonus tip: mix small batches. We burnt out our drill trying to do too much the first time. And by too much, I obviously mean we tried to do almost the entire bag at one time. I do not recommend that technique!
You’ll need a couple of different sized taping knives (pictured above). A small one like this is perfect for filling in screw holes and getting close to outlets. But you’ll need larger ones too to get a smooth finished across joining two pieces of drywall.
Using the small taping knife and the about the same amount of drywall compound that you see the first picture above is that you’ll use to cover screws. On the first application it will look like this…
Take the taping knife and clean off both sides on the side of your mud pan. With a clean taping knife go back and scrape the excess off the wall. After you remove the excess mud, just the screw should be completely covered and the majority of the mud should have been scraped off the rest of the wall.
Getting a smooth finish is the goal here. If you’re able to get a clean sweep of the compound, you might not have to sand after. If you’re using premixed mud, you may need to go back a second time and check your screws. Premixed mud has a tendency to shrink when it dries. So there might be small dimples in the holes as the moisture in the mix evaporates.
When you’re joining together two pieces of drywall, it’s helpful to use fiberglass tape to help create a bond between them by giving the mud something to grab on to.
One side of the fiberglass tape has an adhesive on it. We stretched the tape out across the length of the wall and used the flexible joint knife to press it on the wall.
Once the tape is securely in place, we used the flexible joint knife again to cover it with mud.
This time we used a flexible joint knife that was wide enough to cover the tape in one swipe. If you use too small a knife you might get uneven strokes. Since you want you wall to appear seamless, it’s best to use a knife that will give you a wider stroke.
This was our first shot as mudding the wall seams. You’ll notice the little dimples in the seams. This is a spot that we used the premixed mud. When it dried, it shrunk a little. We did some light sanding to even out some of the excess mud, and then we mudded on top of it again to get a completely smooth finish so the dimples would disappear.
This is just one corner of the bathroom, but you can see that it’s a smooth surface and the seams are gone. This bathroom is officially ready for primer and paint!