The 4th of July weekend was very hot and humid. I managed to wrangle about 3.5 days to do drywall work on the Bodega.
The first order of business was to put the finishing touches on hanging the sheetrock. The upstairs closets needed some small finishing pieces installed. Details like the closets require a lot more time as there are many pieces to cut. The loft in a tiny house is hot and the quarters are cramped.
In these cramped quarters, you will discover that it becomes difficult to use normal sized tools. You will also discover that large sheets often times need to be cut into several pieces to get them into the space they need to go.
With all the sheetrock installed I cleaned house and removed all the scraps for disposal. The next job was to apply tape to all the seams and corners. In simple terms, you slather on a bunch of drywall goo and then apply some paper tape. You squeeze and scrape out all the excess goo to create a base that you apply a final (smooth) coating of goo. The paper tapes job it to prevents cracks from forming in your walls as things settle.
I am not an expert so I suggest you watch some YouTube videos to learn from the contractors that do this work. It takes some skill and you need to learn a few tips if you want your job to come out looking good. I will share a few things that should help you get started.
You will need tools. You need a 6 inch drywall knife (putty knife) and a hawk to hold the drywall compound. You should also pick up a 10 inch knife since you need it for the second application. You will also need a mixing paddle to thin out the drywall compound. To operated the mixing paddle you will need a drill with a 1/2 inch chuck.
To begin add about 1.5 cups of water to your 5 gallon bucket of drywall compound and mix it until it looks like vanilla drywall pudding. Then put a big dollop of compound on your hawk and go to town.
You start by applying a very generous layer of compound to a section you want to tape. If you are stingy with the compound you might accidentally get a dry spot behind the tape. This is very bad as the tape bubbles and makes it look like a 4-year-old did your drywall job.
Theres nothing wrong will applying too much compound as you can always scrape it off. A properly done tape job will have the tape adhered to the wall with zero excess compound showing.
The reality is that you will have a very very thin coating of compound on each side of the tape. This happens because your knife touches sheetrock on one side, and the tape on the other. It leaves behind a coating of drywall the thickness of the tape.
For inside and outside corners I used metal trim coated in paper tape. Some use nail on metal trim for outside corners and paper tape for inside corners. The nail on metal tends to crack as the framing settles unlike the paper coated metal which is adhered to the sheetrock. Paper tape in the inside corners works just fine, however it is real easy to get wrinkles when the tape is fully saturated. I tried a piece of paper coated metal on an inside corner and decided that I was using it everywhere. It’s a bit more money but it installs real nice.
You install corner trim just like tape. Slather on a bunch of compound, set the trim into the compound and press it in real well. The pro’s use a roller tool that makes sure the trim is set well….I just used my fingers. Then you scrape off all the excess compound.
The Bodega required 5 gallons of drywall compound and about 300 feet of paper tape to complete the taping. It also required about 130 feet of outside metal trim and about 180ft of inside trim.
I have done drywall in the past, but never at this scale so I was a bit shocked to be buying a second bucket of compound. By the looks of the level in the second bucket, I expect to be buying a third one. Fortunately, its only 16 bucks for 5 gallons of the stuff. I was also surprised at how much work taping can be. The hawk gets heavy and your arms get very tired. I worked in 2-3 hour shifts taking long breaks in between sessions. My finger joints are all a bit sore this morning…I’m getting old!
By The end of Sunday morning I had the taping complete and I began the application of a second coat. I experimented a bit with a couple of seams just to get a feel for the 10 inch knife. I discovered that its hard to work on adjacent seams as your knife messes up the drywall on the finished joint. Near as I can tell, the best thing to do is not work joints next to each other….or get some skills. Since I have no time for skills, this means working a joint, letting it dry and then working the one next to it.
I decided to work the outside corners on all my windows and doors first. Then I worked one side on the inside corner next to the ceiling. Today (24 hours later) I will work the other side of the ceiling corners and the joints that run into the windows and doors.
The last thing I will say about taping and mudding is that its messy. The thin mud falls off your knife and you end up with cow patty looking dollops of mud everywhere. The first day my shirt was covered in drywall compound. Not to worry is washes off clothing easily and the cow patties can be scraped off the floor with a drywall knife.
This pic shows the loft with completed taping. I removed one set of scaffolding to make more room to work in the lower level. The transition from sloped ceiling to flat was done with paper tape. I used 4 foot sections and was super careful to keep things straight. This was a very challenging part of the job.
This section of wall is where I learned how to apply the second coat. I hat lots of trouble not messing up my already finished joints while working others. The corner bead around the window was done with a 6 inch knife and the other seams were done with a 10 inch knife. The next coat I will use the 10 inch knife on the windows and a 12 inch on the other joints.
Here is a closeup of a tapered joint. Its got some imperfections that should sand out easily when the compound dries. The dark blotchy areas are still damp.
This week after work I will finish up my second coat. After that I will lightly sand to remove ridges etc. Then I will begin on a third coat. My goal is to get the third coat applied by the end of next Sat, so I can paint on Sunday.