New Video: How to Finish Drywall

Posted by John on April 27th, 2014

Hey gang,  it’s been well over a week since our last post and even longer since we last checked in with an office update.  Well, I’m happy to tell you that we’ve completed the long drywall finishing process and we’ve started priming and painting.  Pretty soon, we’ll be installing crown molding and moving onto furniture building.  It’s been four months since we ripped out the carpet to kick off the office renovation.  Getting the drywall done is a huge victory and having it out of the way will hopefully give us some momentum going forward.

While I was spackling (or mudding) the drywall, Lisa helped me out by being my cameraman or camera lady and we were able to capture the process of applying all three coats.  As promised, here is a video on how to finish drywall.  Keep in mind that this video is fairly long at nearly 22 minutes, but I take my time and show you exactly the process I follow.

 If you can’t see the video, you can use this link: http://youtu.be/12Z9_g5CiK8

Some key takeaways:

– For better results, use both the chemically hardening joint compound and the air drying joint compound.  I personally prefer the “blue” bucket, which is the lightweight joint compound over the “green” bucket.

– Use the chemically curing compound for the first or the first and second coats.  Use the air drying for the second and third and any follow on coats.

– Use progressively wider knives.  Start with a 6″ wide knife for the first coat, a 10″ knife for the second and a 12″ or 14″ knife for the third and fourth coats.

– Don’t sand until right before you prime.  You shouldn’t have to sand between coats.

– Always prime the sanded drywall before painting.  Never put finish quality paint directly over the joint compound.

Are there any drywall finishing tips that you’d like to add?  Leave a comment below.

If you liked this post and video, please share it.

Posted in DIY Projects,Drywall. Tagged in ,, , ,

Tips for Hanging Drywall

Posted by John on March 27th, 2014

In the past week or so, we started hanging drywall in our home office.  It’s not a terribly quick process and it’s been consuming a few hours a night.  Consequently, our post frequency has been low lately.  Whenever we’re knee deep in home improvement projects, that sort of thing is going to happen.  Today, I want to share with you some general DIY advice for hanging drywall or sheetrock (if you call it that too).  This weekend we’re going to be applying the first coats of joint compound and my goal is to put together a video tutorial for that process.

In other news, in last week’s newsletter, I asked our readers to tell me what set of woodworking plans they’d like to see next.  The response was unanimous.  Everyone wants the router table plans.  Look for those next week.


Tips for Hanging Drywall

1.  Proper Framing.  The most important part of a quality drywall job, in my opinion.  The drywall gets secured to the framing lumber on the wall.  If that framing is incomplete, poorly done or didn’t take the drywall into account, then the drywall is not going to be done well either.  Everywhere you have a seam in the drywall, which is everywhere one piece meets another, there should be a 2x piece behind it.  When we designed our coffered ceiling, I intentionally took the drywall into consideration and it wasn’t an afterthought.  This may mean adding more boards than is required by framing code.

2.  Use the Right Drywall Thickness.  Drywall sheets come in 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ and 5/8″ thick.  5/8″ thick is typically used for ceilings and is required for fire protection in certain spaces.  Our garage, for example, should have 5/8″ thick drywall throughout, but most of our interior walls probably just use the 1/2″.  The thinnest drywall, the 1/4″ sheets are mainly used on curved walls since it’s not as rigid as the thicker material.  The 3/8″ sheets can also be used in place of the 1/2″ sheets in some situations.  You’ll want to double check with the builder’s code before you tackle a larger job to verify what thickness you should use.  Since we’re covering over coffered ceiling framing that actually sits beneath a finished ceiling, we’re just using 1/2″ thick drywall.

3.  Drywall Screws.  Use the right drywall screw length.  I mainly use the 1-1/4″ long coarse drywall screws, which don’t go all the way through a 1-1/2″ thick 2×4.  Anything longer than that and I’d need to be aware of what’s on the other side of the 2×4, since the screw can go through the board and make contact with anything on the other side.  Also, make sure to protect any electrical work with the appropriate cover plates so you don’t accidentally drive a screw through a wire.  That would be bad.

drywall drill bit

dimpled drywall

4.  Drywall Driver.  This is my biggest pet peeve with drywall installation.  There is a special bit that you can buy for your drill that is specifically designed for installing screws into drywall.  It dimples the drywall board and sets the depth of the screw to just the right amount.  I pull the hair out of my head when I see people on TV (typically, Renovation Realities, go figure) using a regular Phillips head bit.  These drywall bits are majorly inexpensive.  I got 4 for $5 at Home Depot.  Don’t work without them.

chalk line

5.  Use Chalk Lines.  My chalk line tool is easily becoming my favorite tool on this office project.  So let’s say I need a 5″ wide piece of drywall at some length.  I measure down 5″ from the edge of each side and then snap a chalk line down the entire length of the sheet from one end to the other so the 5″ mark is visible.  Then I just trace the line with my box cutter and I know I have a nice accurate piece.


6.  Use a Rasp.  The best way to get clean pieces of cut drywall is to use a hand held tool called a rasp.  The rasp is basically a cheese grater that you use to clean up the cut edge of a freshly cut piece of drywall.  It removes any high spots, smoothes out the cut and must be done before you throw the drywall sheet onto the wall.  It will help keep your drywall seams much tighter.

drywall floor protection

7.  Protect your Floors.  When you cut and rasp drywall, it gets all over everything in the space.  I protected our new hardwood office floor with some rosin paper I had left over from the floor install.  I prefer this over plastic as it doesn’t move around and is much more durable. You can also use general construction paper since it’s cheaper.  Don’t skip this step though unless you’re working right over the subfloor.

So that’s all I got for hanging drywall.  I still need to add my corner beads all over this ceiling and I’ll be starting my mudding process this weekend.  Good times.

Do you have anything to add to this list?  Have you every hanged drywall before?  What is the hardest part for you?

Posted in DIY Projects,Drywall. Tagged in ,,

Hiding Flat Screen TV Cables

Posted by John on July 31st, 2012

So on Monday we shared our experience mounting a flat screen TV to a wall. Today, we’re going to show you how to hide the TV’s cables to get a totally sleek look. This is the second TV we’ve done this procedure to at Mike and Dana’s house and this version seemed to work better than the first, which used a slightly different product. In my opinion, this modification isn’t very difficult to do and can probably be done by anyone with a little bit of DIY experience.

We last left off with the TV hanging on the wall to test the bracket out. It had to come down in order to hide the wires. To hide these cables, Mike bought a Powerbridge from Best Buy.  (This current model is no longer available from Amazon, but you can try Option 1 or  Option 2 as they are essentially equivalent).  This device consists of two plastic boxes that get inserted into the wall. One will be located behind the TV and the other will go behind the TV stand. Between the two, the wires will be run in the wall for the power and whatever audio or visual cables are required.powerbridge-1024x682


In order to install these two Powerbridge boxes so you don’t see them, we need to make sure we’re putting it behind the footprint of the TV. Before we took the TV off the wall, we marked the perimeter of the TV with a couple of post-it notes. The boxes will need to stay within that area AND since the Powerbridge box is fairly large, it will need to sit roughly in the middle of the area between two wall studs.flat-screen-TV-mount-1024x682


We used those magnetic wall stud locators we discussed in our last post and then marked our wall with the wall template that was provided with the Powerbridge. We needed to mark the wall for both the top box and the bottom. The bottom was pretty much directly below the top box and low enough to be out of view behind the TV stand.powerbridge-template-1024x682


With the templates marked, Mike used a drywall saw to cut the openings for the boxes. You need to be careful whenever cutting into a wall so you don’t actually cut into a gas line or a power cable.drywall-saw-1024x682



After the holes were cut, Mike inserted the top Powerbridge cable and fished it through the wall. This was apparently an exciting moment for him. The boxes stay in place by pop out wings that are tightened with screws. Very simple. Before we connected the bottom box, Mike pulled through a couple HDMI cables.fishing-cable-e1343788365105-836x1024


The power cable that comes with the Powerbridge is connected with a unique click together fastener.  We actually needed to fix it before we made that connection as one of the wires was visibly detached, but that wasn’t very hard.  After you snap the connector together, the cable slack gets stuffed into the wall and the bottom plate gets tightened to the drywall.


The photo above shows it all completed. The Powerbridge comes with an additional cable to plug into a nearby outlet that gets run to the bottom box.Flatscreen-TV-mounted-1024x682


All told, it took a little over an hour to get this project done. Mike and Dana really like the new look and Lisa and I are considering it for our family room at some point.

Any upgrades coming to your TV? Cut any holes in your walls lately?

***Full disclosure:  Lisa and I are members of Amazon.com associates.  If you purchase a Powerbridge, we get a small kickback.  If you’re interested in joining Amazon Associates, go to Affiliate-Program.Amazon.com ***

Posted in Drywall,Electrical,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , , ,

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