Wet Sanding Drywall: The seams of drywall must be sanded with a sanding screen or sandpaper after even the most meticulous taping and mudding operation is completed, and this activity inevitably causes dust that flies everywhere and gets into everything. It penetrates deeply into your clothes and hair, as well as the farthest reaches of your house. The terrible powder can still get into your eyes and lungs even when you wear adequate eye protection and a particle mask.
Because drywall dust is so tiny and invasive, certain home vacuums’ warranties are deemed worthless if they are used to remove drywall dust. Wet sanding, however, is one technique that may almost completely reduce your dust generation.
What is wet sanding?
Wet sanding is the practice of sanding while using moisture, frequently just water. Sanded particles have less chance of scratching the surface or becoming airborne thanks to the moisture’s ability to lubricate the surface and trap them.
How Wet Sanding Works
After the extra taping compound dries and it is smoothed out and removed using the wet-sanding technique. Typically, a very thick, stiff sponge is used for wet sanding. Drywall compound can be smoothed out once it has started to dissolve and become more pliable after being dampened with a sponge. The typical tool for wet sanding is a very thick, rigid sponge.
This method is far from flawless, and it is hardly a fix-all for drywall issues. Since so much of the taping compound stays on the wall rather than your sponge, some professionals see wet sanding as “joint smudging” rather than genuine sanding. However, blurring the borders of the joints can be beneficial because it makes the seams less noticeable or even invisible after painting.
It takes longer to wet-sand drywall compound than it does to dry-sand it. You should dry-sand if you’re interested in speed. Neither does wet sanding result in a flawless surface. Because you’re using a flexible sponge, your finished wall can have little waves. Additionally, if you scrub the walls too vigorously with a sponge that is too moist, you risk dissolving and removing an excessive amount of the taping compound, necessitating the need to reapply more mud. However, one significant benefit—a joint-smoothing procedure that is fully dust-free—might make all of these disadvantages worthwhile.
What You’ll Need
Equipment Tools Materials
Drywall sponge Water
Guidelines on Wet Sanding Drywall
Wet the Sponge
Put some warm water in a bucket. The sponge should be dipped into the water, then wrung out. If you squeeze a drywall sponge too hard, it can almost instantly become bone-dry, so squeeze it just enough to keep it moist without making it soggy. To dissolve and remove the dried-out joint compound, the sponge needs to be sufficiently damp.
Sand the joint using the side of the abrasive sponge.
Start by using the abrasive side of your sponge to remove any noticeable high spots. Use broad, circular strokes to move the sponge. Avoid applying excessive pressure to one area, as this may cause depressions in the joint complex. Just pay attention to the high hills and the jagged edges of the dried compound on this pass.
Rinse the sponge as it starts to bog down and go on with a freshly wet sponge.
Sand with the Sponge’s smooth side
The sponge should be wrung out, moistened again, and then switched to the smooth side for sanding. The joint compound should now start to flake away from the joints. This will make the seams less noticeable after painting.
Because the high ridges have already been removed, you can focus on decreasing the joint compound bump on this second pass.
You’re done after this second pass. The drywall paper will get overly saturated with any additional wet sponging. If two passes are insufficient, the joint compound may need to be dry-sanded.
Let the wall Dry.
Once the damp taping compound has completely dried, check the surface. One thing wet sanding does that dry sanding does not do is moisten the dried-up mud compound, “reactivating” it and spreading it to other areas of the wallboard.
Wet drywall sanding’s main benefit is to feather and smooth out the ridge edges. The “before” and “after” joints can be compared. There is a distinct line at the “before” joint. You can feel a ridge when you run your finger along this line. You’ll notice a soft, hazy feathering effect on the “after” joint.
You might need to use the conventional technique to sand the wall smoothly in places where the ridge is too high and would show through the paint.
The Rules for Wet Sanding Drywall
Follow this tried-and-true advice from professionals to create a smooth, paint-worthy surface without the dust of dry sanding.
The advantages of drywall for interior walls are numerous. It is reasonably priced, simple to install and fix, and holds up well to everyday use in a typical home. Before painting, drywall needs to be sanded quite thoroughly—unless you like the look of lumpy, uneven walls with obvious wrinkles between the seams. Sanding drywall also creates dust. There is so much dust that you may be tempt to use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) instead when building. MDF, however, reacts poorly to changes in humidity, frequently cracking from expansion and contraction. This is despite the fact that it doesn’t require as much sanding to give a nice, smooth surface for paint.
Dos and Don’ts of Wet Sanding Drywall
DO be PATIENT.
It takes a long time to wet sand: Dry sanding is preferable if you truly need to finish drywall preparation before painting.
DON’T presume perfection.
Due to the drywall sponge’s flexibility, wet sanding drywall typically results in extremely small waves in the completed surface. If you’re patching a textured wall, you can take advantage of this because a damp sponge has a far easier time matching texture than sandpaper does.
DON’T run out of water.
Use a five-gallon bucket and fill it three-quarters full with warm water to help soften the drywall mud before you begin wet sanding.
DO make use of the Right Sponge.
Although any stiff sponge will work, drywall sponges made for wet sanding will produce the finest results.
DON’T rub forcefully.
Although wet sanding drywall can be time-consuming, avoid the urge to hurry up the process by vigorously scraping away at lumps and rough areas of the drywall mud.
DO pay attention to the bumpiest regions.
Start using broad, easy strokes to smooth out the entire length of drywall mud. Next, concentrate on the ridged or uneven regions, and use circular motions to blot out the flaws.
DON’T forget to rinse and re-wet.
As you work, your sponge will gather drywall and mud, decreasing its capacity to remove flaws. When your sponge gets too dirty, remember to rinse it fully in the water bucket, squeeze off the extra water, and then get back to work.
DO replace the water as necessary.
After multiple sponge rinses, the water in your bucket will get thick and milky. To make it simpler to clean your sponge, discard the murky water and replace the bucket with clean water.
DON’T make more than two passes.
Using the abrasive side of the drywall sponge, you should first smooth out the worst of the ridges and lumps. Use the fluffy side of the sponge, which is intended to minimize small defects, smooth the borders of the drywall mud during the second pass, and create the best-possible surface.
Because drywall dust is so tiny and invasive, certain home vacuums’ warranties are deemed worthless if they are used to remove drywall dust. Taking time to wet sand drywall will leave you satisfied after all.