All you need to know about Drywall

It’s lightweight, cost-effective and the perfect way not only to complete a construction but to decorate your home. It goes by the name of drywall but also as wall board, gypsum board or sheetrock. But how much do we really know about this product? In order to make your next drywall project easier, we fill in the blanks you may have with some basic information about drywall.

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Hanging drywall is a relatively straightforward project, even for do-it-yourselfers. And because it is an interim step in the overall process of finishing a wall, any mistakes that do occur can still be covered up. But the final task of finishing drywall can easily frustrate even very skilled do-it-yourselfers. Finishing is the very last stage, and this means that you have no more opportunities to fix flaws. This is it. You need to get it right.

Drywall finishing requires a good deal of craftsmanship, which is why the gypsum wallboard industry and drywall professionals have codified a set of professional standards that breaks the process of finishing drywall into five distinct levels. Serious do-it-yourselfers should take note of finishing levels if they want their finish to look as professional as possible.

Drywall Finishing Levels 

  • Level 0: Level 0 implies that no finishing of any type has been done. At this level, drywall is simply fastened to the walls or ceiling.
  • Level 1: This level means that drywall joint tape has been embedded in joint compound, but nothing further has been done.
  • Level 2: This next level means that you have skimmed a thin coat of joint compound over the tape and covered the drywall screw holes. You can stop at this level if you intend to cover the wall surface with tile, or if it's in a garage intended to be used for storage or a workshop-type space.
  • Level 3At this stage, finishers apply a coat of joint compound to the tape and screws. Walls that will receive a heavy texture, such as knockdown texture, can end at this level. It would be pointless to progress beyond this level since texturing will produce a finish that is rougher than level 3.
  • Level 4: This is the classic drywall finish. Here, you apply another coat of joint compound to the tape and screws and sand the dried compound. This is the level that typically is used when a wall surface will be painted or covered with wallpaper.
  • Level 5: This highest possible level of drywall finishing involves applying a skim coat, if applicable.

There are three ways to apply a skim coat:

  • Use a roller: Thinned joint compound is rolled onto the wall with a thick-nap roller. Excess is scraped off immediately.
  • Use a taping knife: A series of six or eight dabs of mud are applied, each about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Immediately, the mud is smoothed across the surface, then excess mud is scraped off.
  • Spray finish: Professionals have spray equipment to allow them to spray on drywall compound. This type of equipment can be rented at rental yards or even at some home improvement stores.

Where Drywall Finishing Levels Apply 

  • In a perfect world, all drywall—every square inch of it—would be mudded and sanded down to a mirror-smooth surface. While this is possible, it's not cost-effective. If you're hiring out the work, every step requires an additional visit from the drywall worker. For do-it-yourselfers, it's yet another day or two you add to the entire project. The nature of the space and how you use it may dictate the level of drywall finish that's appropriate:
  • Garages and workshops: A level 1 or 2 drywall finish may be completely sufficient in garages and workshops. Why mud and sand a space that is rarely ever seen? On the other hand, a car aficionado or an obsessive tinkerer might enjoy having a workspace that is as clean and smooth as any other wall found in the residential part of the home.
  • Wainscot-hidden wall surfaces: Are you putting in wainscoting? Then you don't have to put a premium finish on the lower 1/3 of your walls since it will get covered up anyway. A level-1 finish is fine for these areas.
  • Cabinet-hidden walls: Because kitchens are often blanketed with cabinets and appliances, much of the wall space doesn't need a level-5 finish.
  • Ceilings: Conversely, ceilings tend to get raked by natural light through the windows, highlighting pops, bumps, and depressions. For many homeowners, nothing less than a level 5 will do on their ceilings. At the very least, ceilings always call for a level-4 finish.

When Is a Level-5 Drywall Finish Needed? 

A level-5 finish is a skim coat of joint compound (also known as mud) applied to a finish that you would normally leave at level 4. 

There are a few instances when you need a level 5 coating: when the finish will have glossy, enamel or non-textured flat paint; or when light is be angled low enough to highlight bumps and depressions. A level-5 finish is like icing on the cake. It's a premium finish that you will not get by default; you absolutely will need to discuss this with your contractor or drywall installer, as it is not normally considered part of the finishing process. 

Drywall finishing levels, in numeric terms, are not a normal part of the conversation between homeowners and contractors. Instead, you might discuss the final look or effect that you're aiming for. You might indicate that you want the dining room walls to be as smooth and flawless as possible or that the garage can have largely unfinished walls. It'll be up to the contractor to translate your requests to the drywall technician.


 5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Drywall Company

Are you planning a renovation or new construction project that requires the expertise of a professional drywall company? Selecting the right team for your drywall installation and finishing is crucial to the success of your project. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which company will deliver exceptional results. To help you make an informed decision, we've compiled a list of five essential tips for choosing the right drywall company.

1. Experience and Reputation: When evaluating potential drywall companies, prioritize those with a proven track record of experience and a stellar reputation in the industry. Look for companies that have completed similar projects to yours and have a portfolio showcasing their work. Additionally, check online reviews and ask for references to gauge customer satisfaction and the quality of their craftsmanship.

2. Licensing and Insurance: It's vital to ensure that the drywall company you choose holds the necessary licenses and insurance. A reputable company will be fully licensed to operate in your area and will carry adequate liability and worker's compensation insurance. This protects you from potential liabilities and ensures that you are working with a legitimate and responsible business.

3. Quality of Workmanship: The quality of a drywall company's workmanship is paramount. Inquire about the materials and techniques they use for installation and finishing. A professional company will have a commitment to quality, using industry-leading materials and demonstrating a high level of skill in achieving flawless, smooth finishes.

4. Clear Communication and Transparency: Effective communication is key to a successful partnership with a drywall company. Choose a company that communicates clearly, listens to your needs, and provides transparent and detailed estimates. A reliable company will keep you informed throughout the project, addressing any concerns and providing updates on progress.

5. Timeliness and Reliability: A dependable drywall company will adhere to agreed-upon timelines and deliver results within the specified timeframe. Punctuality and reliability are crucial factors in ensuring that your project stays on schedule and within budget.

By prioritizing these essential factors when selecting a drywall company, you can feel confident in your choice and set the stage for a successful and stress-free project. Remember, investing time in researching and selecting the right drywall company will ultimately contribute to the overall success and quality of your construction or renovation endeavor.