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Drywall has a lot going for it when it comes to interior walls, as it can be a handful. Working on drywall can be a pain – even the most carefully done tasks require a ton of sanding, which inevitably comes with dust. The dust won’t stop flying everywhere and getting on everything.

Dust coming from drywall is considered acceptable and interfering, so much that some house vacuums are considered ineffective when used to remove it.

However, one method, known as wet-sanding, can reduce the amount of dust to nearly zero. Although it takes up more time, it is a safer alternative. With this method, one can achieve a nice, smooth finish, void of any dust, on their drywall.

Here’s how to wet sand drywall:

What Is Wet-Sanding?

What-Is-Wet-Sanding How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

Wet-sanding is the process of smoothening out and getting rid of the unwanted taping compound with a dry sponge.

By moistening it with a sponge, the drywall composite starts dissolving, which allows it to be smoothed out easily. When compared to dry-sanding, wet sponging drywall compound is much slower.

Advantages to Wet Sanding

  • No mess from drywall dust
  • No loud sanders
  • Helps you achieve a smooth, clean finish
  • You don’t have to mud and sand over repeatedly
  • You don’t have to clean the wall beforehand

The procedure is simple and cleaner than dry sanding. Below is a list of the materials needed to be able to execute the strategy successfully.

bucket-and-sponge How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

  • Sponges with both a rough and smooth side
  • Bucket of water
  • Plastic tarp (to protect carpeting)

Things to keep in mind before going for wet-sanding drywall

When knowing how to wet sand drywall, patience is key.

As mentioned before, wet-sanding is time-consuming. If you don’t have much time on your hands, dry sanding is your better option.

However, dry sanding requires a lot of cleaning up afterward. Although it takes longer, wet sanding requires little cleanup. Thus the overall time spent on both methods is comparable.

Don’t expect a perfect outcome immediately

What-Is-Wet-Sanding1 How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

It is expected to leave some small waves behind when wet sanding. This is due to the drywall sponge being highly flexible. This can be used to your advantage when patching up a textured wall, as you can easily match the texture with a damp sponge, compared to sandpaper.

How to wet sand drywall by adding water

For this method, you need to make sure you have more than enough water to get the job done, which is evident by its name.

The best option is to fill a five-gallon bucket or container approximately three-quarters of the way with warm water. Water will help with softening the drywall mud.

Having a more massive amount of water is beneficial since you don’t have to repeatedly get up and re-fill the bucket while getting the job done.

Quick step by step guide to wet-sand drywall

Step 1: Add water to the container

add-water How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

As mentioned before, a five-gallon container of warm water is most suitable for this method. The water will make sure your sponge is clean throughout the sanding process.

It’s best if you put as much water as you can in the bucket. The water will get full of drywall scraps throughout the procedure, which will make it somewhat milky. Having more water in the bucket means that you won’t have to change it as often, which would disrupt your work.

Step 2: Wet the Sponge

Wet-the-Sponge How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

Dip the sponge in the bucket, then twist it to get rid of excess water. Be careful since drywall sponges can quickly dry out if you wring them too hard. Make sure you squeeze it just enough to leave it damp since it will be easier for the sponge to dissolve and loosen the joint compound that way.

Step 3: Sand the Wall

Sand-the-Wall How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

Using the soft side of the sponge, apply water to the area that you will sand. Then, turn the sponge over and begin to smooth any uneven edges on the drywall. It is ideal to sand over the larger areas of the drywall.

Do this by moving the sponge in circular, broad strokes. Avoid pressing too hard in one spot – this can create holes in the joint compound. It would be best if you focused mainly on the high ridges and spiky areas of the mixture.

Over time, the sponge’s abrasive side will be noticeably covered in wet drywall particles and will start to perform poorly.

  • Rinse and re-wet: It is crucial to continually rinse off the sponge to get rid of the collected mud and drywall. If you avoid doing this, it will get caked with drywall, making it harder to smooth out any surface.

water How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

  • Avoid making more than two passes: The first pass will eliminate the worst bumps and ridges with the sponge’s rough side. When you go over it the second time, you should focus on smoothing out the edges and getting the surface as smooth as possible. If the two passes aren’t enough, wait for the drywall to dry before using sandpaper to finish the job. Avoid wet-sanding after the second pass, since it will soak the drywall too much.
  • Don’t remember to check for seams properly. Try and notice any differences by running your finger along with the drywall where the seams should be. The drywall seams should appear and feel like one. 

Step 4: Check the Water and Proceed

Check-the-Water-and-Proceed How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

The water will become noticeably murky after a while, and the sponge won’t clean as well. Replace the dirty water with clean, fresh water, and proceed.

  • Don’t forget to change the water when needed: if you’re wet sanding a larger area, you’ll probably have to get fresh water. The water will become thick and milky after rinsing the sponge several times. In this case, change the water to make cleaning the sponge easier. 

Knowing how to wet sand drywall requires a lot of in-depth knowledge! 

Step 5: Wait for the Wall to Dry

Wait-for-the-Wall-to-Dry How to wet sand drywall (Quick guide for you)

Wait for the sticky taping compound to dry completely. Afterward, examine the area. The main point of wet sanding is to smoothen and feather any ridge edges. Compare the state of the joints before and after the procedure. You’ll notice that before damp sanding, the joint had a defined ridge. After the process, the joint should be noticeably smoother, with no defined line. 

Something you should take care of

Before you know how to wet sand drywall, there are several things you need to take care of:

  • Be careful when doing this method; the floor can get wet quickly.
  • Make sure the wall doesn’t get too wet. Drywall is made of water-soluble materials. Thus any excess water will lead to disaster.

Sanding your drywall to a smooth finish requires few tools and little time. Wet sanding helps you achieve a cleaner finish, without creating a mess with white excess powder. It guarantees zero coughing or sneezing from drywall dust! Hopefully, this article showed you how to wet sand drywall in no time.

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