Norton Abrasives Products and Accessories
Norton Abrasives Products and Accessories
Do-It-Yourself/Contractor Markets - North America

Drywall Sanding

Do-It-Yourself Project

 

There are three areas that require the application of joint compound: corners (inside and outside), seams and nail holes. For each application there are unique sanding requirements. Please be sure to allow for adequate drying time of the drywall joint compound prior to any sanding steps below.



Nail Holes

The simplest of these applications is nail holes. The nails or screws used to hold the drywall in place should be set beneath the surface of the drywall so the joint compound will sufficiently cover the entire head of the nail or screw. If any portion of the fastener can be seen or felt after applying compound, it must be set deeper into the drywall.


Step 1

With any project safety comes first. Since the process of sanding involves the removal of material it creates airborne dust. We recommend safety glasses or goggles, work gloves, a work apron or close fitting clothing and an approved dust/mist respirator.

Step 2

Apply a healthy amount of joint compound to the submerged nail to cover it thoroughly. Let compound dry. Nail or screw holes will probably take two coats of joint compound to properly fill the indentation.


 

Step 3

Once the joint compound has dried thoroughly, use a hand, pole or block sander to sand across the entire area of joint compound. Care must be taken not to scuff the paper on the drywall. If you sand too vigorously you will begin to see the paper on the drywall ball up. If this occurs you must go over the surface lightly with a fine grit sandpaper or screen  to remove the paper fragments and leave a smooth surface. If this does not work, apply a skim coat of joint compound over the entire surface of the abrasion and sand lightly once it is dry. Otherwise the rough, balled up paper will show through the paint once it is applied. Be sure to take a close look and feel the nail holes to make sure it is even with the drywall when complete.


Sanding Seams

The second application of joint compound is for seams. Seams occur when you have to butt two pieces of drywall together. Most drywall sheets are tapered on the long edges of the sheet providing a channel to apply joint reinforcement tape and joint compound. You should always try to make joints using the tapered edges. There are occasions when you will need to make an end butt joint where you join two pieces of drywall using the non-tapered ends. This joint will take more care in finishing and sanding.

Step 1

For the tapered joint you will need to apply either paper or mesh reinforcement tape and a coat of joint compound. The joint compound should be applied thick enough so that it extends past the face or surface of the drywall itself.


Step 2

Once the joint compound dries (4-8 hours) it is ready to be sanded. Using a hand sander, pole sander or sanding block, sand across the joint at a 45 degree angle so that the sanding tool never leaves the flat portion of the drywall on either side of the joint. If you do sand with your sanding tool in the joint and not on the flat part of the drywall you may over-sand the joint and cause an indentation in the joint compound that will be noticeable after paint is applied.

Step 3

Once the joint has been sanded, take a joint compound knife and run it down or across the length of the joint to make sure the joint is smooth and flat. If any noticeable gaps appear under the blade of the knife, be sure to apply enough joint compound in that area on the second application. Tapered joints usually need 2-3 coats of joint compound to properly finish the joint leaving it smooth and flat. End butt joints are much more difficult to finish and should be avoided whenever possible. If they cannot be avoided, try to put them in as inconspicuous a spot as possible. For finishing end butt joints apply paper or mesh reinforcement tape along the joint so that it exceeds each ends of the joint by at least an inch. Using as big a drywall knife as you have (12" is recommended) apply a layer of joint compound on each side of the seam using the entire length of the knife. This should give you a layer of joint compound that is 2 feet wide if you are using a 12" knife. Carefully smooth out the joint compound with the knife going in the direction of the seam. Be sure to start approximately 2-4 inches past each end of the joint. Because the end joints have no taper in the drywall, this joint will have a profile to it and will need to be feathered out as far as possible to limit its noticeability. Once the joint compound is dry take a hand sander, pole sander or sanding block to sand the joint. Sand at a 45° angle to the joint, making sure the surface is as smooth as possible and assuring the edges of the joint compound are sufficiently sanded. End butt joints normally take 3-4 coats of joint compound. For all subsequent coats of joint compound, the compound should be applied going across the joint making sure each pass of the knife starts and ends in the same place. For each additional coat of compound you should start 3-6 inches before the last coat and end 3-6 inches after the last coat. Sand each coat of joint compound after it is thoroughly dry.


Sanding Corners

The last application of joint compound is inside and outside corners.

Outside Corners

Step 1

For outside corners you will need to apply a plastic or metal corner bead to give the proper reinforcement for the corner. Make sure the corner bead is applied straight and even along the entire length of the corner. When applying the first coat of joint compound, take the compound knife and apply the compound along the length of the corner making sure one end of the knife is always riding on the corner bead. Apply compound to each side of the corner and wait until thoroughly dry (8-12 hours).


Step 2

Once dry, sand the compound using a hand sander, pole sander or sanding block. Be sure to sand as smooth and even as possible. Outside corners usually take 2-3 coats of joint compound.


Inside Corners

Step 1

For inside corners you will need to apply the paper or mesh reinforcement tape by centering the tape in the corner making sure there is an even amount of tape material on both sides of the corner.


Step 2

Apply joint compound to one side of the corner by dragging the compound along the length of the corner leaving a layer of compound thick enough to cover the tape. Avoid putting too much compound on as that will create uneven corners and make sanding difficult. You should not coat both sides of an inside corner at the same time. Allow one side to dry before applying joint compound to the other side.


Step 3

Once the joint compound is dry use a hand sander, pole sander or sanding block to sand the compound going in the direction of the corner. Norton recommends the Corner Drywall Sponge this extra firm sponge with dual side sanding capabilities is designed to create near perfect corners and is coated on 2 sides. When using a hand, pole or sanding block, care must be taken to sand the inside of the corners so you don't nick or groove the opposite side of the corner as you sand. You must also make sure that you properly sand the edges of the joint compound so they blend with the wall. For ceiling corners where the walls intersect you may have to take the sandpaper and sand these corners by hand in order to adequately sand the entire corner. An angled sanding sponge is especially useful to perform this job, it is an extra firm sponge coated on 4 sides, with angled sides for sanding inside corners of drywall compound. Inside corners usually take 2-3 coats of joint compound.


Please refer to chart below for more information and quick reference:

Grit Guide for Drywall Sanding:

Sanding Area

First Coat

Second Coat

Third Coat

Fourth Coat

Nail/Screw Holes

100 grit paper
120 grit screen
medium grit sponge

120 grit paper
150 grit screen
fine grit sponge

120 grit paper
220 grit screen
fine grit sponge

 

Tapered Seams

100 grit paper
120 grit screen
medium grit sponge

120 grit paper
150 grit screen
fine grit sponge

120 grit paper
220 grit screen
fine grit sponge

 

End-Butt Seams

100 grit paper
120 grit screen
medium grit sponge

120 grit paper
150 grit screen
fine grit sponge

120 grit paper
220 grit screen
fine grit sponge

120 grit paper
220 grit screen
fine grit sponge

Tapered Seams

100 grit paper
120 grit screen
medium grit sponge

120 grit paper
150 grit screen
fine grit sponge

120 grit paper
220 grit screen
fine grit sponge

 

 

Shopping List

Safety Equipment
Sandpaper (100, 120 grit)
Sanding Screen (120, 150, 220 grit)
Sanding Sponge (fine, medium, Extra Large Paint & Drywall)
Rubber Sanding block
Pole sander
mesh reinforcement tape
joint compound
drywall knife or compound spreader
tack cloth or sponge

 


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