The Different Types of Drywall Finishing Tools

The Different Types of Drywall Finishing Tools

The drywall is up and fastened, but your job isn't done yet. Once you get the heavy lifting out of the way, you get to move on to the more delicate part of the installation process—finishing. Finishing, which involves taping, mudding, and sanding, necessitates a different set of tools than lifting and securing does. Ensure you have the right tools for the task by reading through this checklist of the different types of drywall finishing tools.

Mixing Paddle

As the name implies, mixing paddles (often called mud mixers) are used for mixing joint compound, or "mud." You attach them to a power drill to make them spin. Mixing your mud is recommended even if you're using premixed mud because it ensures the mixture is smooth and lump-free for easy application.

Mud Pan

A mud pan is another essential finishing tool. Mud pans are containers that hold joint compound so that you can lug it around and load mud onto your knife easier. Mud pans are made from either metal or plastic. Plastic is lighter and easier to clean, but metal is more stable and has straight edges for scooping and scraping. Most contractors agree that metal mud pans are the superior choice because they are more stable and have straighter edges than plastic mud pans. The edges are important for most finishers since they allow you to scrape the drywall knife against them more effectively.

Power Drill

To mix mud with a drill, you need a special mud mixing drill, not a regular power drill. These are called spade handle drills, and they’re specifically made to mix joint compound and other liquids.

You can, of course, mix mud by hand, but this is time-consuming and hard on your arms. Most pros go the automatic mixing route and use large mixing paddles with 1/2-inch drills for maximum mixing power.

Drywall Knives

Of the different types of drywall finishing tools, drywall knives are arguably one of the most important. Drywall knives are knives with wide, flat blades. They're used to apply a layer of mud to wall seams or joints. Knives come in various sizes, and you'll need three different sizes for finishing.

The first knife you'll need is a joint knife, which is the smallest kind of knife. Joint knives have blades ranging from 4 to 6 inches. You use them to apply the first layer of mud to the joints. Next, you'll need a 10-inch taping knife, which you'll use for the second coat of mud and any additional coats afterward. Finally, a 12-inch taping knife is necessary for feathering the final coats.

Drywall knives don't just come in various sizes. They also come in various materials. Stainless steel, carbon steel, and blue steel are the most common blade materials, while wood, rubber, and plastic are the most common handle materials. Generally, knives with stainless steel or blue steel blades and rubber handles are the most durable and comfortable.

Corner Trowel

If you're working with corners, the corner trowel is a good tool to have on hand. A corner trowel is a piece of metal that’s bent at an angle and attached to a handle. Most are bent at a 90-degree angle, but some are adjustable so that you can change the angle as needed. You can use corner trowels to smooth both sides of an inside corner at once. Without a corner trowel, you'll need to finish each side separately with a drywall knife. This is both tricky and time-consuming.

Taping Banjo

You'll also need a banjo (or another similar tool) for taping and mudding joints. Banjos are tools that look and operate similarly to regular tape dispensers. When it comes to banjos, the main difference is that the paper tape travels through a compartment full of mud before dispensing.

While you can tape and mud manually, doing so takes a lot of time and effort. Using a semiautomatic or fully automatic tool like a banjo reduces strain on your body while improving the speed and efficiency of your work.

If you want extra speed and efficiency, another tool you may want to consider is a drywall bazooka. There are a few perks to bazookas, the first being their spectacular name. Bazookas are fully automatic, unlike the banjo, which is only semiautomatic. This means bazookas are even faster and less strenuous to use. However, keep in mind that bazookas are costlier and harder to find than banjos.

Hand Sander

Between each coat of mud, you'll need to sand the joints. This removes bumps or any other cosmetic faults. There are a few tools you can use for sanding. For smaller jobs, you can use a sanding sponge, which is a disposable sponge with a coarse surface.

For larger projects, we recommend a hand sander. Hand sanders a bit like Swiffer mops. They have a sanding pad that you attach to the tool. Instead of replacing the entire tool at the end of each job as you would with a sanding sponge, you just have to replace the pad. Hand sanders also feature ergonomic handles for a solid and comfortable grip.

Pole Sander

Another option for sanding is a pole sander. Like hand sanders, they use replaceable sandpaper pads. The main difference between hand sanders and pole sanders is that the pole sander features a long wooden pole and a pivoting head that provides easy access to hard-to-reach areas such as ceilings and cramped corners.

Vacuum Sander

Another sanding option? Yes, and this one is truly convenient. Professional drywallers know that sanding drywall creates dust. This dust dirties the work site and can negatively impact your health should you inhale it. A vacuum sander attachment is a sander that you can attach to a standard shop vacuum to capture dust. This keeps the worksite tidy and protects your health. This is an especially valuable tool for contractors with asthma, allergies, or other sensitivities to dust.

If you and your crew need new tools, Timothy's Toolbox has you covered. From automatic taping tools to knives, we have an impressive inventory of sheetrock tools for sale. Shop today for products from top brands at unbeatable prices.

The Different Types of Drywall Finishing Tools

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