How Difficult is Taping/Mudding Drywall?

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Any number of books on the subject at the home centers.
It requires practice and patience.
The correct tools and correct mud and tape will make a large difference. (there are many different muds)
Read and ask lots of questions.
Do a little reading on the subject:
http://alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/drywall.html
Cindy wrote:

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Cindy wrote:

It is not rocket science but it is an 'art'. No amount of advice in a newsgroup or reading a book will teach you as much as watching a professional do it for 5 minutes. I learned that the hard way by trying to tape from a book, finally hired a pro and saw my mistakes right off. Can now do an acceptable job (except on ceilings). Books are good for the 'what' part, only seeing it done and practice gets the 'how'.
Harry K
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Couple of things not mentioned but I found useful. If you do sand, the Sanding Sponges are awesome in my opinion. Come in different grits, sizes and shapes. Last a looooong time. Can wash them. Available everywhere from HD/Lowes to Wally World.
Once you sand, before putting on the next coat, brush the wall down and wipe it very lightly with a damp (not wet) drywall sponge. I've found that the drywall dust from sanding causes the next coat to cake vs being smooth becuase the dust quickly absorbs the moisture in the mud you are applying.
The final coat of mud is often thinned SLIGHTLY for smoothness. May sound silly but adding a bit of Dawn dishwashing detergent makes it nice and creamy.
Don't whip the mud with like a high speed paint mixer. If you do you will find a zillion tiny pucks on the wall from where minute air bubbles pop.
Those are the tips I can think of right off...or a history of my screwups if you prefer:-)
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I use this exact one: http://www.pavepatch.com/pail-mixer-eggbeater-pi-30.html
It folds the mud nicely without introducing air. Makes a big difference in the quality of the texture when you go to apply it.
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Thanks for the pointer. Pic always worth 1k words.
Al...
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There are two different blue lid buckets of compound commonly found on the shelf/pallet at your local home center: light blue and dark blue, which represent Topping Joint Compound and AP Joint Compound.
Pay attention to the name of the product. The light blue lids are on the buckets of Topping. You don't tape with the light blue lids. It says so right on the bucket. It is for finish coats only, and sands nicely.
You tape with the green lid, also known as all-purpose or "AP", or the darker blue lids, which signify Joint Compound. If you get confused, read the back of the bucket.
As for the mesh tape, it is self-adhesive. There is nothing wrong with using it for the flats, but you'll want to use paper for the corners (including the wall-ceiling joint). With *paper* tape, you lay a bed coat of mud first. Stick the *mesh* tape directly to the drywall - there is no bed coat application until *after* the mesh tape is stuck to the wall.

There are red lids on some ceiling texture and plaster products as well.

There is a big difference between the ready-mixed compounds and the setting-type compounds. The latter dries mostly as a matter of a chemical reaction, while the former dries mostly as a matter of evaporation, and is referred to as "drying-type". The setting-type compounds are stronger, and are used by many for the bed coat. They do dry faster. They come in powder form, but be aware, there is also a drying-type compound that comes in powder form, though I've yet to see it on the shelf.
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Cindy wrote:

Another important thing to consider is how the room is lit.
Harsh recessed lights with reflector floods are the most unforgiving as far as bad finishing.
With 2x4 fluorescents, as used in offices and basement gamerooms, you can get away with a lot more errors.
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I have done drywall once before, when I re-did a bathroom. That was my first big DIY project, and I'd do it again.
I bought both paper and fiberglass tape, and I preferred the paper to the fiberglass.
One thing you might check into, depending on the size job, is if you are able to rent a tool the pros use. I have seen professionals use a tool that applies mud and tape simultaneously. It's a long stainless steel or aluminum box that you fill with mud. Somehow paper tape is fed through the box with the mud. (picture a hand held spool of correction tape, only on a bigger scale).
The tool allows the proper amount of mud to be applied to the tape, and also saves steps by applying tape and mud to the wall all at once instead of one at a time. The pros use this tool because it adds effeciency to their job.
I know that i bought a corner trowel, but i can't remember if i liked it or not. I halfways think I ended up using a one inch putty knife to do the inside corners instead of the corner trowel.
good luck!
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