I'm plastering my first drywall and have been given advice from a friend who as done it a few times before. He believes I should not sand down the mud (a.k.a. jointing compound) between coats, but I think I should. I don't think the first layer is as smooth as it should be and I think getting any little bumps out now before the next coat would be a good idea. Surely the next swipe of the knife is going to catch on them and leave elongated ridges or scratches down stream.

2 Answers 2


Yes, knock off any bumps between coats, but there's no need to get it perfect. A screen sander on the end of a pole is the best tool for this job. And it goes without saying that you should minimize any bumps while the mud is still drying to avoid having to sand it later. Some even recommend using the premix joint compound on the last coat and, just before it dries, going over it with a slightly damp sponge to take off any bumps.

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    We rarely sand between coats, but we do use an 8 inch knife to knock off any boogers and raised trails. We use setting type mud on the first coat and premix on the 2nd and 3rd. The last coat needs to dry completely before wet floating or sanding. If it is still moist at all, it will roll or streak. Mudding takes a lot of practice and a DIYer may need to sand a lot more than a seasoned pro. So glad my guys are "Artists". LOL. I am still in awe when I watch them. Ive been doing it for 38 years and still can't match their speed and quality. May 19, 2012 at 10:48
  • @shirlockhomes I had heard the wet floating here but hadn't tried it myself, so thanks for the pointer. They don't let us do the mudding on Habitat projects since we'd do more damage than good. I have run a bunch of sanding groups and there's a huge difference between the artists and the amateurs. And I wish you had made that an answer so I could +1 it!
    – BMitch
    May 19, 2012 at 11:49
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    Thanks, but I got plenty of votes. Gotta spread the wealth. lol. Another hint: on the last coat, mix a bit of water and Ivory liquid dish soap with the mud. Mix it real well. It goes on very smooth like soft butter and has fewer air bubbles. This recipe is also great for skim coating problem areas, sanding scars or over damaged drywall from wall paper removal. We also only use fine sanding sponges for final finish. May 20, 2012 at 10:30

Sand if you need to in the beginning, but I bet after a few tries you can master it so that you don't need to sand between coats. You will get to where you only need to sand a little after the last coat.

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