Ready-mixed compoundis a premixed mud used mostly for finishing drywall seams but it's also well suited for repairing minor damage to drywall and plaster surfaces. It is very soft and extremely easy to sand. In fact, a small patch of dry ready-mixed compound, such as over a nail pop, can be remove completely in just a few strokes of 120 grit sandpaper. This can be a problem when you remove more of the patch than you need to and have to redo the repair to smooth out the wall again.
Setting-type joint compound comes as a fine powder, it is very well suited for making thick applications for deep wall damage. This compound is similar to concrete in that it sets after mixing with water due to a chemical reaction rather than drying from evaporation like ready-mixed does. Because of this, setting-type can be much harder to sand than ready-mixed joint compound. To make sanding easier the manufacturers came up with softer formulas, Easy Sand Durabond® is one of these. While this newer product is easier to sand than the original it is not as versatile. Don't for instance, try to skim coat with Easy Sand Durabond, it tends to curl up and fails to bond well when applied in very thin coats. Because of this, we don't recommend these softer setting compounds. Instead we suggest applying regular setting compound in thin coats to make it easier to sand.
Drywall sheets consist of a gypsum core, sandwiched between two sheets of heavy paper. The paper is wrapped around the gypsum on two sides to form finished edges.
Drywall sheets are commonly available in 4ft x 8ft and 4ft x 12ft pieces with thicknesses of 1|4, 3|8, 1|2 and 5|8 inches. Drywall available at your local home store includes three basic types: standard, fire retardant and moisture resistant drywall. Some building codes require fire retardant drywall on ceilings and moisture resistant is used in bathrooms and kitchens to standup to the high humidity in these rooms.
The finished edges on the sheets are compressed, so when two pieces are placed, finished-edge to finished-edge, a small depression is formed. The seams between the sheets are taped and the depression is filled with joint compound to create a flat, smooth, finished surface.
Tools for applying drywall joint compound include a mud pan and joint knife. Mud pans are available in plastic and stainless steel. The metal pan is the best choice for keeping the knife blade clean and controlling the mud. Plastic pans have a metal strip embedded in the rim that can easily become clogged and it tends to fall out and rust.
Joint knives are available with varying flexibility. A medium flexible blade is the best choice for drywall work. If the blade is too flexible, it can bow when finishing seams, causing a dip in the finished joints. If the blade is too stiff it can be impossible to smooth the surface of the mud when skimming.
Flat drywall seams can be finished with paper tape or self-sticking, fiberglass-mesh tape. Paper tape should be applied with plenty of joint compound and stuck down tightly or it will come free easily. The mesh tape can be easier to use and it usually requires fewer coats of mud to finish a seam. The mesh should be lightly sanded after the first coat of joint compound to knock down the fibers and make the joint easier to smooth out. Outside drywall corners can be finished with metal or paper drywall corner bead. Metal corner bead is the best choice in most cases for a square, durable corner.
It's best to use ready-mixed compound for finishing drywall seams and inside corners, setting-type will harden too quickly in most cases, causing problems. Exceptions to this are finishing butt joints and metal corner bead, where a thick first coat is required. In these cases, setting compound will not shrink like ready-mixed and it is much harder when set, making for a more durable joint.
Use a small joint knife of about 6 inches for the first coat or two of joint compound on seams and inside drywall corners. A larger knife can be a good choice when first coating metal corner bead and for the finish coat on flat seams and inside corners.
To handle and apply mud, scoop some into a mud pan and collect a portion onto the rim. From the rim, work the mud onto the wall, a little at a time to get good coverage. See Skim Coating Techniques for more on handling joint compound.
Used to hang paint buckets and other tools from ladders or scaffolding when repairing and painting high stairwells and ceilings or when painting exterior trim molding and siding.
Used to fill gaps between two surfaces such as walls and trim molding or bath tubes and tile. For painting project use latex or silicone enhanced caulk. Pure silicone caulk is waterproof and will repel paint. It should only be used for tub and tile or similar non-painted areas. Cut the tip of the tube and pierce the seal inside before loading it into a caulk gun.
Used to dispense caulk from a caulk tube. A trigger and ratchet system force pressure on the plunger inside the caulk tube pushing it out of the tip.
A wide blade chisel can be used to remove moldings without damage or remove hard coatings like plaster and mortar.
Used to spray deck sealer, wallpaper stripper, bleach wash for mildew and lots of other jobs around the house.
Used for masking off wall stripes and other decorative painting projects. This tape is made with smooth paper instead of the crape paper used in other masking tapes, prevents paint bleeding to create sharper lines between paint colors.
Used to finish outside drywall corners. Metal and paper beads are available. For a durable wall corner use metal corner bead.
Use this knife to score and cut drywall as well a many other task associated with home improvement. Blades are retractable and replaceable.
A self-sticking, fiberglass patch for repair of holes in drywall and plaster. These patches come in a variety of sizes and may be reinforced with a perforated aluminum plate for ceiling repairs.
Use this tool to cut holes in drywall for new electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing access, etc.
Use to remove paint from glass windows and other hard surfaces. Retractable blade.
Spread drywall joint compound for wall repair and drywall finishing. Several sizes are available starting at about 3 inches going up to about 16 inches and more. Use a size that's easy to control while providing a broad coverage area. A flexible blade is the best choice for wall repairs and drywall finishing.
Paint large rooms fast with this 18" roller. Accepts special rollers from 12" to 18". Requires a jumbo paint tray; threads onto a standard extension pole.
Very soft spackle makes sanding easy but won't stand up to heavy traffic. This is not a good choice for wall repairs unless they are very minor.
Titebond® brand usually available from wood working suppliers is the only liquid hide glue we can find on the market. This wood glue is made from cow hide and is used to cause paint to crack for a faux finish on furniture as well as for gluing wood joints.
Available in plastic and stainless steel. The steel pan will last longer and be easier to clean. Use a mud pan to handle joint compound as it is applied to walls joints, etc. Also handy for mixing powdered wall repair compounds.
Use a sash brush for most paint jobs but choose the brush bristles for the paint you are using. As a general rule use a natural china bristle brush for alkyd and oil paints and a polyester brush for latex paints. The polyester washes better in water and the natural bristles are compatible with the oils in the paint. There are also blended bristle brushes intended for use with oil and alkyd paints but they may not be as good.
Painting iron work and rail balusters is fast and easy with a painting mitt. Improves coverage and cuts work in half.
Use to fill small nail holes in wood trim. Also good for glazing around glass in windows and french doors.
Pull this tool to scrape peeling paint on trim molding and wood siding. Removes old paint quickly and easily. Sharpen the blades with a file as needed to keep the tool working effectively.
This tool will perforate the surface of wallpaper to allow liquid stripper to soak in, making it possible to loosen the paper and dissolve the paste.
Used to hold and transfer wet plaster to walls and ceilings. You can make one by attaching a piece of ½inch plywood to a 2by2 block handle.
Makes rolling paint faster and easier. Eliminates hand and arm fatigue and improves control of paint rollers. Extensions from two feet for painting average-height ceilings, up to about 16 feet for painting stairwells and high ceilings.
Choose a quality roller cover when possible. These will last through dozens of jobs and maintain a quality finish if cleaned properly.
Roller trays come in all sizes, from 6 to 20 inches. A standard one gallon, 11 inch roller tray, like the one shown here, can be used for most rollers. For a jumbo roller, the larger jumbo tray will be the only one that will work.
Wash paint rollers and use this spinner to remove all paint and solvent. Save money using rollers over and over.
Helps when sand a flat surface. Eliminates ripples and uneven surfaces. Make your own sanding blocks for home and shop.
Because this brush is cut at an angle it can be a big advantage for painting detailed work. Great for "cutting-in" window sashes, ceilings and trim. A sash brush is the professionals choice for most jobs.
A small 6" roller with about a 1" diameter. This roller will make small spaces easier to roll. Use one to paint kitchen cabinets, wall stripes, furniture and other small areas.
This is a plaster product made by USG. It's used to replace damaged plaster brown coat. To restore 3-coat plaster use this product over the plaster lath. Follow with a white coat of setting-type joint compound.
This spackle tends to shrink, takes a long time to dry and can be hard to sand. Use this product for filling large holes and smoothing out nicks in trim molding. For small holes a better choice is a painter's putty.
We recommend "Fast Wallpaper Stripper" from Savogran® because it is fast and effective at removing paper and paste.