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The first trick here is to go over all the drywall mud you have previously installed with a clean / dry 6 to 8” trowel blade pulling the blade towards you at an angle scraping all the rocks and ridges from the drywall. This step will make the next coating smother and thinner thus reducing sanding time! The tape coat leveled off everything, and the next two coats will make the surfaces smoother. With the tape being bedded in deep and level you do not need to build up the center of the tape joint thus creating a ridge in the wall itself. You need to use wider taping knives for these coats, from 7 to 12 inches. You want to feather them out smoothly.
Mudding Drywall Joints on Flat Walls and Ceilings:
Use your taping knife to put more mud on the joint. Then smooth it out with a stroke down each side, then one down the middle. Keep even pressure on the knife throughout the process. Even pressure will keep the filling process level with the board and will minimize the sanding. With factory drywall joints, this coat should extend about two inches wider on each side than the tape coat. Butt-joints don't have the beveled edges that the factory joints do so they'll tend to build up higher with each coat of mud. Because of this you'll have to feather them even farther than with the factory joints. After this coat is done you should not be able to see the joint tape. Screw and nail heads get covered with another layer of mud at this stage too. The mud from the first coat has probably shrunk a little so you just want to fill them in flush with the surface. Fill in with strokes in different directions.
Inside corners are a little trickier than flat joints. Once you've feathered one side it's tough to work on the second side without disturbing the first. There is an excellent inside corner tool specifically made for this step. It is used to bed the tape in the corner initially as well as the following coats as well. Again, remove all the excess mud with each step you do and re-scrape the dry mud before applying the next coat to remove rocks and ridges.
Go to drywall sanding!
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