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The Ultimate Guide of Wet Sanding Drywall

It is said that wet sanding on drywall is the best way to get a smooth surface before applying paint. Keep on reading to know what to do and not to do for a better result.

What is Wet Sanding on Drywall?

Wet sanding is the process of dissolving and loosening drywall compound using a damp sponge so that it can be smoothed out. Once the surface gets moistened, the excess taping compound becomes loosen and can be removed easily when it is dry. This wet sanding technique requires a very thick and stiff sponge. There are even sponges that are specifically designed for this task. If you cannot find one, you can use any stiff large household sponge. It will do in a pinch. You had better use an artificial sponge instead of a natural one, which is usually too soft.

Why Wet Sanding?

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Once the drywall has been built, you can see the joints there. Even if you have implemented the most careful taping and mudding process, it is still visible. To conceal it and get a smooth surface when applying paint, the joints have to be sanded with a sanding screen or sandpaper. This action entails lots of dust, and it is inevitable.

The dust will travel everywhere and gets into everything, even into your clothes and hair. You might think that wearing good eye protection and a particle mask will get you covered. The truth is the particle is incredibly fine and invasive that it can go into your eyes and lungs. For this reason, wet sanding offers you an alternative solution to this problem. Before beginning to apply wet sanding technique, consider the following did and don’ts.

The Dos of Wet Sanding

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Be Patient

After reading all the benefits of wet sanding, you have to remember that this technique requires a lot of time and energy. It is not an overnight fix as you have to scrub the excess taping over the joints using a damp sponge. Even if you use a stiff and large one, you still have to do it for a longer period. So, hang in there! If you wish to do it more quickly, forget about wet sanding, and opt for dry sanding. But you have to be ready with a bomb of dust that will cover up the entire room and your body.

Use the Right Sponge

You can use any stiff household sponge to do the job. But consider using a drywall sponge specifically designed for wet sanding to get the best results. A drywall sponge is thick and stiff. It features two different sides. One of them is slightly abrasive which is excellent for the first pass of sanding. The other side is very soft and fluffy which can be used for the second pass of smoothing the wall. To use this kind of sponge, submerge the sponge in water until it is fully soaked. After that, squeeze out the excess water so that the sponge is quite damp but not dripping.

The number of sponges you are going to purchase depending on how large the drywall you are dealing with is. You will only need one drywall sponge to work with small patching jobs. If you are going to sand a large wall, prepare at least two or three sponges because this job will make them wear down too much or tear apart during use.

Be Gentle yet Steady

To get a good result, begin with wide gentle strokes. Let the sponge and water do the job for you.
It is no use to harness the strength of your hand. Bear in mind that your ultimate goal is to smooth away imperfections, not to create valleys or holes. Soften the stretch of the drywall mud first, then focus on the ridged areas. Smudge out them by using circular motions.

Change the water Frequently

During the sanding process, the water in your bucket will a little bit white and thick because of several rinses of the sponge. If it happens, you need to replace it with fresh water soon so that your sponge can be cleaned more easily. To prevent any buildup from occurring in the pipes of your sink drain, flush it with hot water.

The Don’ts of Wet Sanding

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Never Expect Perfection

Wet sanding 101: Do not ever think about getting a super smooth surface as if the joints we’re not there. Since you use a sponge, which is flexible, you will still find gentle waves in the finished surface. Some pros even consider wet sanding as “joint smudging” because much of the taping compound remains on the wall. It does not mean that wet sanding drywall is not worth the effort, though. This technique allows you to make the seams more hidden after painting.

You can also take the benefit of this drawback by patching a textured wall. Creating a textured wall using a damp sponge is much easier than sandpaper. Just dab, wiggle, and pat the drywall mud until you get the texture you wish to duplicate.

Don’t Be Too Rush

When working with a damp sponge to wet sand your drywall, you might be thinking to speed up and use more power to rub the surface so that this painful job will end soon. Nothing could be further from the truth. By wiping down the drywall too firmly using a very wet sponge, you can cause an over-removing the taping compound. If it happens, you are going to create craters and holes, meaning you need to apply more mud, which means you are going to deal with another chore.

Don’t Use Water Thriftily

Wet sanding requires plenty of water. Therefore, you had better use a five-gallon bucket, then fill it with warm water about three-quarters of the way. You can soften the drywall mud by using warm water rather than the cold one. By doing this, you will not have to stop to refill your bucket too often, which can be exhausting and time-consuming.

Don’t Overdo It

A drywall sponge has two sides; the abrasive and the smooth, fluffy one. You are going to use the abrasive side for the first pass. Use the other side for the second pass to smooth the edges. In some cases, two passes are not enough. If that happens, let the drywall dry before finishing the job with sandpaper. Wet sanding your drywall may not the best solution to get a super smooth surface. But it is worth trying as it eliminates dust.

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