Newbie here trying to DIY somethings around the house. I am following these steps to cover/fix a ceiling hole: Put sheetrock, apply mesh tape , apply mud, sanding and painting.

When I am sanding down the Mud, I see some of the mesh tape exposed. (picture)enter image description here Any idea what I should do here ? Can I just paint over it, or do I need to apply mud again and resand? Thanks in advance.

enter image description here

  • 1
    FWIW, this is the primary reason I don't use mesh tape. I prefer thin mud applications, and the additional thickness and texture of mesh tape makes that a challenge.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 20:50
  • Yeah, i felt the same. So, you would suggest using paper tape or any other tape ?
    – jay roy
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 22:24
  • 1
    I use standard paper tape, and I often pre-moisten it with water so it bonds to the joint compound better, eliminating bubbles and loose areas.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


It's joint compound, commonly called mud, and not grout.

If you are sanding into the tape, you have not applied enough.

It's not a "one and done" product. You apply joint compound and embed tape.

You let it dry (or set, but setting compound is not the usual DIY choice.) Incidentally, USG recommends paper tape as superior to mesh unless you are using setting type joint compound (aka "hot mud.")

You lightly scrape or sand to knock off only the high points and apply more compound with a wider knife.

You let it dry

You repeat that a few times, with larger knives.

You shine the harshest light you can find at low angles and look for defects in the surface. When you reach the point that you can't find any, even after looking again from other angles, you prime and paint.

  • 2
    Very important to let the mud dry completely. Can easily take two to three days to do it right (my record is 4 but it was a living room wall and lots of lights)
    – JACK
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 21:11
  • 2
    Achieving good drywall results on the first try is a professional skill, so don't get discouraged by the amount of applications and sanding you'll probably be doing as a newbie. It takes a lot of practice. Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 15:51
  • Thank You. I have applied more mud , let it dry and resanded. When i touch it with hand it does feel plain and uniform. Does it look like it can be primed and painted? (new picture attached)
    – jay roy
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 20:44
  • Impossible to say from that straight-on 2D photo and flat lighting. Use the technique mentioned in the last paragraph and judge for yourself.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 20:51
  • 1
    @jayroy first off, it's visibly not dry yet, so it's not ready for paint just from that point of view. You also can't tell if it's going to be flat, since it shrinks as it dries. If you already sanded, you went too soon. It will turn whiter as it drys, and the clue when it's all white is whether it feels cooler than the rest of the wall (not really dry yet) or the same temperature (dry, good to go.) The lighting in that picture is not helpful - but I think the shark-fin point on the lower right looks non-flat. Harsher lighting will show defects better.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 0:14

Welcome jav roy. Doesn't look too bad for newbie. I have been patching for years and I still have to work at it (and work at having patience) to make it look decent. The other answers and comments are excellent. I thought this would be a good chance to write some tips.

  1. Multiple thin coats are better than trying to lay it on too thick.
  2. Before putting on a new coat, use your knife to knock off any high points. If you do think, you shouldn't have to sand between coats.
  3. Use a wide knife. My favorite is 4 inches. The wider, the smoother it will be. Keep the compound in the center of the knife so it feathers out.
  4. Use a "mud pan" that has sharp metal edges for cleaning the knife off, right before you spread the compound out flat.
  5. Do not put unused mud back into the container. Take out what you need (you can always get more), and throw away what you don't use.
  6. I think the fiberglass tape is OK. I stick it onto the joint, then put a thin coat of mud on, pressing it through the tape. First coat is just to secure the tape.
  7. Most times I can only get on three coats a day: morning, noon and night.
  8. I'll apply a couple of coats over the tape, then go back later and feather the joint into the surrounding drywall. Then alternate as needed.
  9. Get a rubber sanding block or better yet, a drywall sanding pad. The flat surface helps. Sand lightly with 150 grit, then switch to 220 for fine sanding.
  10. When sanding, feather the edges.
  11. Prime with drywall primer/sealer, then paint. I like to use a small roller for both to help the finish match the existing wall.
  • Thanks for fixing up the format.
    – BrianK
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 14:02

The other comments are good advice. Thin multiple coats are better than heavy coats. This creates a “hump” where your patch is. Each coat you should be using a larger spackle knife. Your final coat, sand lightly feathering out the edges. My uncle taught me a trick; close your eyes and gently rub your fingers across the spackled area. If you feel edges or dimples from air pockets, you need to recoat. I have never been disappointed using this method. When you apply the primer, it will highlight the edges and bumps, but it is very hard to sand through primer. I hope this helps. Good luck!

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