This page is about how to tape and mud drywall in your garage. If you're looking for information on hanging drywall in your garage, click here. Learning how to tape mud and drywall is fast, but making it look good requires effort and patience. If you're like me, then you really don't have the patience and you just want to get it done quickly.
As far as how to tape and mud drywall in the garage is concerned, personal preference plays a significant role. I really don't care about having smooth walls in my garage. Some people do, and that's great. But I don't mind if I can see where the tape is, or if there's some extra mud that could be sanded. Once it gets painted, I don't think it looks that bad, and especially after the wall gets covered with shelves and things. Of course, inside the house, I care about that stuff, but not in the garage. How much effort you put into yours is entirely up to you. There are plenty of people out there who know how to tape and mud drywall. They all have their own method, but most of them use the same ingredients and tools to do the job. We're not going to go into too much detail here, as this page is about drywalling your garage, not your whole house.
In the how to tape and mud drywall world, mud is slang for joint compound. For garage drywall, I like the pre-mixed all-purpose joint compound found at any home improvement center. I've heard that over-mixing it isn't good because it creates air bubbles that are hard to get rid of. However, I like to stir it up for a couple of minutes with a mixer so it sticks better during application. Other folks who know how to tape and mud drywall may tell you differently, but mixing it has always worked well for me. Before you use any mud, make sure it's at room temperature, which needs to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. This will help ensure the mud sets correctly. So, if you're planning on drywalling the garage in the middle of winter, then make sure you have sufficient heat in there.
Garage drywall, like any other area with drywall, should have tape embedded over all the joints. I like to use the pre-creased paper tape. It's not sticky like typical tape, but with an initial layer of mud, you can use it on all of the straight joints, and also on the inside corners. If you prefer, you can get fiberglass tape made specifically for drywall joints. This stuff is sticky on one side, so you don't have to apply any mud first.
The first time I tried to learn how to tape and mud drywall, I spent way too much time wondering what tools I'd need. If you go to the drywall section of your local home improvement center, you'll come across all kinds of strange looking tools. The nice part is you'll find that everything you need is right there, but the hard part is figuring out what you don't need. If you're only drywalling the garage, then you really don't need a whole lot.
Here's some of the most basic tools for taping and mudding drywall:
Mixer - Stir the mud before using it. You can use a simple paint-mix-stick to stir it up, or a mixing accessory you attach to a power driver, or an actual mud mixer. I use the mixing accessory that looks like two small fan blades on the shaft that are spread apart by a couple of inches, but don't mix at full speed, or you might end up with mud all over your garage.
Knife - If you're going to be taping and mudding drywall in your garage, then you're going to need at least one taping knife. These look like typical putty knives, but wider and longer. For my garage, I used a 6 inch knife for everything, no specialty knives or trowels. Granted, I don't know how to tape mud and drywall as well as those who do it for a living, but a single 6 inch drywall knife works just fine for a garage. If you want to finish your garage drywall If you prefer, taping knives are available offset to make it easier to use them around ceilings.
Banjo - In addition to Bluegrass music, banjos can also be used to speed up the mudding and taping progress. Sorry no more bad puns. In the world of taping and mudding drywall, a banjo is a tool that dispenses mud and tape at the same time. I've used one before and it worked great, although a little on the messy side. Banjo's aren't necessary, but they can definitely save you some time if you have a lot of drywall to do in your garage.
Sponge - A guy I used to work with knew how to tape and mud drywall very well. One thing he told me was to use a damp sponge to lightly wipe away excess mud after it sets. The nice part of doing it this way is that you don't have all the mess from sanding. However, if you want a truly smooth wall, sanding is inevitable.
Sander - Unless you're like me, you're going to sand your garage drywall joints. You can use a hand-operated block sander, which is dirt cheap. It's basically a two-piece plastic rectangle that holds sandpaper in between. Or, you can use a hand operated drywall sander, which is usually rectangular and has 3 to 8 foot extension pole so you don't have to stand on a ladder to get the job done.
Vacuum - A shop-vac is almost perfect. Almost .because the dust particles from sanding dry mud like to quickly clog the vacuum's filter, so you have to check it often and keep it clean or you'll lose your vacuum power. Nonetheless, a vacuum will help you keep the dust from being tracked into your house.
Finally, here's the part where we look at how to tape and mud drywall in your garage. Prior to taping and mudding drywall, check all the screws or nails to make sure their heads aren't poking out. To do this, simply run one of the knives along the surface of the hung drywall. If you hear metal to metal contact, then you need to drive that screw or nail in deeper, unless you don't mind seeing the head sticking out when you're finished. Next, install corner bead on any outside corners. When I learned how to tape and mud drywall and corner beads, I just ran drywall screws through the bead and into the drywall, which works just fine.
If you're using paper tape, generously spread mud over the joint with your joint knife, then cover the mudded joint with tape. Next, put another coat on top of the tape and let it set for an hour or so. Then, use a slightly wet sponge to carefully smooth out any lumpy areas and let it sit for a day. At this point, if you already haven't, you need to decide if you just want to paint, or if you want to sand, then use bigger knives and trowels to re-mud, sand and re-mud, lighter and lighter until you're happy with how it looks. Either way, once you're happy, it's time to finish it.
Knowing how to tape and mud drywall in your garage can save you money, by not having to hire it out. With a little bit of patience and practice, you'll be good enough to handle any garage drywall projects. No matter how much you know about how to tape and mud drywall, you can always learn more, but the basics aren't going to change.