Pursuing a drywall finisher career allows you to become an important contributor to new construction and renovation projects. The process involves creating smooth and even walls that give a clean and crisp look to any space. Drywall finishers work in both residential and commercial settings, providing a range of potential projects to be a part of. Learn what to expect on the job as a drywall finisher and how to qualify for openings in your area.
What is drywall finishing?
Drywall finishing involves three stages to get a final product installed on walls, ceilings, or building partitions. Here are the primary responsibilities you’ll take on as a drywall finisher.
Finishing typically doesn’t involve cutting and hanging the drywall pieces — that’s done by the drywall installer. Instead, you’ll focus on creating a smooth texture that’s ready to paint. The first step is to use hot mud to fill gaps and joints while covering screws throughout the pieces of drywall. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve a flat finish without any aberrations.
Tape is used over the mud to cover the seams between two adjoining sheets of drywall. Finishers roll mesh tape over the mud to smooth out the surface and strengthen the joints. It’s especially important in corners to safely secure both drywall pieces. Once the tape is set in place, you’ll wipe off the excess mud.
The final step of finishing drywall is to coat the tape with topping compound after the mud dries. The required number of coats depends on what type of finishing level you’re trying to achieve. There are five levels to choose from, each of which has its own degree of smoothness. A level 1 finish, for instance, is reserved for functional areas like garages. A level 5 finish, on the other hand, requires four coats and gives the most even look out of all the options.
What does a drywall finisher do?
There are several skills involved in a drywall finishing career. It’s a physically demanding job that may include new installation as well as fixing damaged walls and ceilings in existing spaces. You’ll likely need to learn how to read blueprints in order to understand what needs to be done for each job.
Throughout the project, mudding is usually done with a hand trowel and involves going up and down ladders (and potentially even scaffolding) to reach all the areas of drywall that need to be addressed. There are some tools, however, that put out the mud and tape at the same time, making the process go by more quickly. When coating, you’ll need to sand and reapply as needed to get the desired finish leve.