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How to Drive and Finish Drywall Screws

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Properly driving and finishing the screws that hold drywall in place gives a smooth look to new walls.
200 Grit sandpaper (Buy) Drill (Buy)
Drywall (Buy) Drywall screws (Buy)
Joint compound (Buy) Putty knife (Buy)
Sanding block (Buy)


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Step 1: Select the right fastener for the drywall
Drywall comes in a variety of thicknesses. Select the right screw for the job by determining the thickness of the wallboard and how far into the wood the screws will go.

Select a drywall screw based on how far you will drive it into the wall studs.


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Step 2: Set the drill clutch to drive the screws into the drywall
Use a power drill for repetitive drilling, like attaching drywall screws. Use a drill with an adjustable clutch to set how far the drill will drive each screw. Experiment on scrap drywall and studs to determine the right clutch setting. If the drill drives the screw too far into the drywall so that it breaks the paper, rotate the clutch to a lower number and try again. You want to set the clutch so that the screw goes into the drywall and the stud behind it, stopping just below the surface.

Adjust the clutch until it drives the screw just beneath the surface of the drywall.


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Step 3: Mark the studline and drill every four inches
Before you begin, mark the studline on the face of the drywall using a chalkline or a pencil and straight edge. Drill the screws into the drywall every four inches, sinking the screws just below the surface of the wallboard.

Drive the drywall screws every four inches following the studline.


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Step 4: Fill the screwholes with joint compound
Use a 2-inch putty knife to fill the screw holes with joint compound. Don't overfill the holes. The compound will shrink and be sanded before you add another layer.

Use a 2-inch putty knife to fill the holes with joint compound.


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Step 5: Sand and finish the drywall screws
Once the compound is dry, sand it smooth with 200-grit sandpaper. Vacuum the dust as you work and remove the dust from the surface before you add the next layer. Some sanders come equipped with a hose attachment for a shop vaccum. Repeat the mudding and sanding process two or three times until the finish is level with the surface of the drywall and smooth.

Sand the dry joint compound between each layer until the surface is flush and smooth.


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Text by Deb Alden
Renovate Your World




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