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Wet Sponge Drywall Joint Compound Instead of Dry Sanding

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drywall wet sanding
Copyright Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com
Drywall dust is incredibly fine and invasive. In fact, if you look at the warranties of some house vacuums, you'll notice that using them on drywall dust may void the warranty!

To reduce the amount of drywall joint compound dust in your house, consider wet-sponging instead of dry sanding.

Wet Sponging Is Good--But Still Imperfect

It's Slow: Wet sponging drywall compound is a slow, difficult process--slower than dry sanding. If you're interested in speed, you'll want to dry sand.

It Doesn't Give You a Perfectly Smooth Surface: Because you're using a sponge--which is flexible--your end product will exhibit gentle waves. All in all, this is a good thing, since you do want to "feather" the drywall mud.

What You'll Need to Wet Sponge Joint Compound

  • Sponge, either one you buy from a hardware store designated for this purpose, or a very thick and sturdy household sponge.
  • Large, clean bucket.
  • Nearby source of clean water.

How to Wet Sponge Joint Compound

Following is a brief description of the process. For a detailed, step-by-step description, see Drywall Wet Sanding in 6 Steps.
  1. Start with joint compound that is not completely dry. However the compound should be dry enough that it won't immediately smear off when you touch it. Drywall joint compound a few hours old should be right.
  2. Soak sponge in bucket, then squeeze out.
  3. Start with light, circular motions. Remember, let the water do the work more than pressure from your hand. Right now, you're just concentrating on the high ridges and the spiky portions.
  4. When it gets too difficult or the smears are too thick, rinse out and squeeze sponge in bucket. Sponge should be wetter than on the first pass.
  5. On this second pass, since you've already taken down the high ridges, you can concentrate on lowering the joint compound "bump."
  6. After two passes, you're done. Any more wet sponging will get the drywall paper too wet. If two passes aren't sufficient, you may need to dry sand the joint compound.

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