Hanging, taping, and finishing drywall is a heavy task to do quickly and correctly. As a professional drywaller, your job is to provide a level of service that drywalling DIYers can’t compete with.
To hang, finish, and tape drywall like a pro, you’ll need a variety of tools and accessories. But what kinds of tools and accessories, exactly? If you’re unsure of what you need and what you don’t need for your drywall business, read on. We’ve compiled a list of 10 essential tools every professional drywaller needs for drywalling work and why.
The first tool you’ll need is a mud pan. Mud pans hold your mud, or joint compound, as you tote it around the worksite. These pans come in multiple sizes. It’s important to choose one that’s large enough to accommodate your joint compound, but light enough that you can carry it around with ease. Aluminum pans are an affordable and lightweight option that many drywallers prefer.
Sanding sponges are a necessary touch-up tool. Sanding sponges come in two types: abrasive and non-abrasive. Abrasive sponges have one side with rough texture and another side with a smooth texture. They’re a lot like the scrubbers you use in your kitchen. Non-abrasive sponges are completely smooth. They’re large sponges ideal for wet sanding, a common technique used for sanding small or hard-to-reach patches of drywall.
Sanding Pole and Sheets
Sanding poles attach securely to the sander, providing an elongated handle that makes it easier to reach tall surfaces and inside of tight nooks and crannies. Along with a sanding pole, you’ll also need sanding sheets. Sanding sheets come in two types: coarse fiberglass mesh sheets and sandpaper sheets. You’ll need both, so make sure to stock up! The fiberglass mesh has small holes that allow dust to pass through. This way, you won’t cake up the sanding surface. Sandpaper sheets are ideal for fine sanding. Dust accumulates on the sheet slowly; to maintain it, clean it off from time to time with a whisk broom.
A utility knife is a crucial tool for cutting drywall. As long as it doesn’t have snap-off blades, any utility knife works. You can even use the one you already have in your pockets. However, knives with sturdy, interchangeable blades set into a screw-down handle are the most stable and least likely to unexpectedly break.
Putty knives look and function similarly to drywall knives, but you shouldn’t use them to spread mud. Instead, you’ll need to use specialized drywall knives. Drywall knives have wider, thinner blades than putty knives and are more flexible. They come in a variety of sizes. Ideally, you’ll want a 4-inch or 6-inch knife for placing compound and taping and a 12-inch knife for feathering. Fortunately, drywall knives are inexpensive, so you can stock up on them and never run out.
You’ll also want to invest in T-square, but not just any T-square. Drywall T-squares are longer than your average square or straight edge. They come in a full 48-inch length that allows you to cut the entire width of a drywall sheet. The cross-end of this tool fits flawlessly over the edge of the drywall and is long enough to reach the other end. This makes securing the perfect fit easy. Some T-squares even have adjustable crossbars for added convenience.
The next essential tool every professional drywaller needs is a drywall saw. Drywall saws, also known as jab saws, are indispensable tools. Jab saws, like utility knives, are used to cut drywall. They work best for short, straight cuts and rounded cuts. These saws have long, serrated blades with sharp tips that cut effortlessly through drywall. You can also “jab” the sharp tip of jab saws into drywall and press down with the heel of your hand to create an edge to start your cut.
Drywallers used to hang drywall with nails and a hammer, but this is no longer the case. For hanging drywall, you’ll need special drywall screws. Drywall screws come in two varieties: coarse-thread and fine-thread. Coarse-thread screws are easier to use, and most projects will require screws that are 5/8 inches. For the average 4x8 drywall board, you’ll need around 32 screws. Larger boards require more, so plan ahead according to the size of each job.
You’ll also need a drill, not a hammer, to hang drywall. Drilling screws directly into the drywall is the fastest and most effective method. Ideally, you’ll want to use a cordless drill. If you use a corded drill, you’ll need to change outlets frequently. The cord can also get tangled or tugged on, which can pop the connector out of the outlet and slow down your work exponentially. All in all, cordless drills are more convenient and less of a hassle than corded ones.
Finally, don’t forget to clad yourself in the necessary PPE, or personal protective equipment, before you start working. PPE protects you from common workplace hazards like drywall dust and chemicals. By wearing the proper PPE, you can keep yourself safe and secure on the job.
One item you’ll need is a mask. Traditional methods of sanding produce a lot of dust. To keep these tiny-but-damaging particles out of your lungs, wear a NIOSH/MSHA approved dust mask during dry sanding and other work that kicks up dust. Goggles are another important piece of safety gear that keeps dust and chemicals out of your eyes. A thick pair of work gloves is also recommended to protect your hands from chemicals and sharp tools.
You need a lot of tools and accessories for your drywall business. But don’t be daunted by the sheer amount of things you need and what they cost. At Timothy’s Toolbox, you can find all the drywall tools and accessories you need at great prices you can afford. Whether you need to outfit yourself or your entire crew, shop with us today! And if you have any questions, give us a call—our friendly and knowledgeable team is here to help.