Taping, mudding and sanding

Cathy and I took a look at the freshly installed drywall, took another look at each other and realized that we need help with the next step: taping and mudding.

Attempting the taping and mudding ourselves would probably take about a month. We don’t have a month. We barely have a couple of weeks until we have to move in.

The decision to get professional help was an easy one. Our general contractor, Mark Weitekamper, referred us to a drywall crew who he likes to use. The crew leader came out to take a look and proclaimed that the job would take three days.

Well, sort of three days. One day for taping and the first mudding coat. One day to let everything dry. One day for the second mudding coat. One day to let everything dry. And, last but not least, one day for sanding.

The price appeared reasonable, so Cathy and I decided to spend the money on the professionals.

If I would have known what to expect, I would have brought a pair of seatbelts!

A crew of two swept into the basement with tools I never seen before or knew existed. The crew wasted no time and got right on the job – at lightning speed.

Take the taping for instance. In the time it would have taken me to get the tape and my tools ready, our crew of two was pretty much done with the taping. They had this fabulous contraption that applied the mudding coat and then pressed the tape in, all in one go, whether in corners or on flat applications.

We had researched taping and mudding online, by watching a number of YouTube videos that attempt teach you the best ways to get the job done. We tried to learn as much as possible and had a couple of trial installations.

But this is not the kind of work where you climb off your sofa, give it a try and are good at it. This stuff takes skill. Skill that one has to acquire over time, with many trials and a mentor watching you every step while offering feedback and corrections.

Watching our crew zipping through the basement reminded me that attempting the job without that level of skill could be a hugely frustrating and slow experience.

It appeared that the taping and first coat of mud was the bulk of the work. The second coat started with a quick sanding down of some rough edges followed by the mudding.

There is this other tool that applies the mud over the taped sections, in one go. I would have sculpted the ceiling and walls with a big taping knife and gotten nowhere. Our crew also used taping knives for the corners and finishing touches. They sure knew how to use them to move the mud. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

What? The sanding? You are looking for the time-lapse of the sanding? Sorry, no such luck. That drywall dust and my camera are not compatible.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

3 thoughts on “Taping, mudding and sanding

  1. That was also a smart move. Along similar lines, we’re planning to hire someone to depave our back yard and lay in a gravel and sand base for our new patio (either pavers or bluestone – TBD). If we tried to do that project ourselves, it would never get finished.

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