How to Sand Drywall

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 28, 2022
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Drywall or gypsum boards are widely used as interior walls in households. They are cheap, durable, and very easy to install and repair. But, just like all surfaces need sanding to look smooth and perfect, so does drywall.

Sanding is a process of smoothening out surfaces. It is done so that no irregular curves, dents or bumps remain on the surface. If a surface is not sanded properly, it might look unattractive and be an eyesore. Therefore, you should know how you can sand your gypsum board properly and effectively.

In this article, we will teach you how to sand drywall, providing you with some safety tips along the way.


What is Drywall?

Drywall are boards made out of calcium sulfate dihydrate or gypsum. They are also referred to as gypsum panels, plasterboards, sheetrock, etc. Drywall may contain additional additives, too, such as silica, asbestos, plasticizer, and so on.

Construction works use drywall in a lot of cases. The most common use of drywall is its use to make interior household walls. Gypsum panels are really durable, cost-effective, and easy to set up. That makes them really efficient to use.

Since drywall is used in households, it should be smooth and even across all areas. To achieve that, sanding has to be done. Otherwise, the wall would look unattractive and would ruin the aesthetics of the house.

Things You Need to Sand Drywall

Sanding drywall is just as important as installing them. This step adds the finishing touch to the piece. Without sanding, the installed panel would look incomplete and unfinished.

To effectively sand drywall, you need a set of tools. These tools are-

  • Drywall sander.
  • Face mask.
  • Mud knife.
  • Pole sander.
  • Shop vacuum.
  • Mud pan.
  • Ladder.
  • 15-grit sandpaper.
  • Canvas drop cloth.
  • Sand sponges.
  • Window fan
  • Safety Hat

How to Sand Drywall Step-by-Step

After you take all the preparations and precautionary measures, you are finally ready to sand your drywall. We will show you how you can sand your drywall board in a step-by-step manner.

  • Map out the places where you need to perform sanding first. It is better to plan out your way before randomly going through your work. Check the ceilings, edges, and corners first as they most commonly require sanding. Also, note out any patches of the wall that require sanding.
  • Use a mud knife to scrape off any excess pieces of mud. Sanding cannot work if there is excess compound lying around on the surface. Therefore, use the knife to scrape off the mud and put them in the mud pan.
  • Next up, taper off the corners with the sand sponge. Start out with the corners where two walls meet. Push the sponge against the surface and stroke it opposite to the other surface towards the wall.
  • Go over screws with the sanding sponge or sandpaper. These areas require sanding to be evened out. Usually, these areas require little to no sanding. However, you should sand them anyway to make the surface smooth and even.
  • Sand the places in between two drywall pieces. Go over them with the sandpaper to even them out quickly. Then, swipe back and forth to sand them in broad strokes. Use the sanding sponge so that they become smooth.
  • Don’t use too much pressure while sanding the surface. Just go over the patches smoothly and don’t apply too much force. Only sand the high points of the board. Don’t go over the dented or low parts as you’ll be filling them up with mud instead.
  • You can go over the drywall with a dry flat-brush once you’re done with sanding. This can remove the remaining dust on the drywall unless the dust will enter to your lungs. Therefore, it can be useful to follow this step.
  • After you’re done with sanding drywall, remove all the drop cloth after the dust has settled down. Store the drop cloth separately in a corner or a basket. Then, use a shop vacuum to suck up all the dust and clean the area. Use proper filters and bags for the shop vacuum to prevent dust leaks.

Safety Tips When Sanding Drywall

Sanding drywall can produce lots of dust that can be injurious to health. Therefore, the dust has to be controlled at the time of sanding drywall panels.

Drywall dust can cause allergies when inhaled. They can also cause severe problems like hypersensitivity pneumonitis and asthma attacks. Dust containing silica can also cause silicosis or even lung cancer in extreme cases.

Therefore, to prevent drywall dust from building up too much, some precautionary steps have to be taken.

Prepping the workspace

Before working, lay drop cloths around the area. Using drop cloths, seal off cold-air return ducts, air conditioner, doorways, etc. Also, don’t forget to cover the furniture and other places where dust may build up. Always remember to clean off the area even after removing the drop cloth.

Safety Gears

When sanding drywall boards, make sure you stay equipped with the proper personal safety equipment. It includes – dust mask, gloves, hat, long-sleeved clothing, and safety goggles.

A dust mask (here are some top choices) is mandatory, as drywall dust can be really harmful to the lungs. A respirator can be just as effective too. The N95 mask is a great face mask in this case.

Apart from that, safety goggles prevent dust from entering the eyes. Gloves, long-sleeved clothing, and hats are also important to wear. Dust can cause irritation on the skin, and thus covering the skin can help against that.


Make sure the room where you’re sanding the drywall is well ventilated. If the place doesn’t have proper airflow, dust will build up in the room, causing more problems for the person in the room. Placing a window fan in a window can help since it can blow the dust out of the room.

Final Thoughts

Drywalls are really popular panels and is used in lots of construction works. They can produce lots of dust and need precautions while using or working with them. Therefore, it is necessary to know all the steps in preventing excess drywall dust.

Sanding drywall is a very simple task. It is still required to know how to properly sand the drywall. This article guides you on how to sand the drywall.

We hope you found our article on how to sand drywall helpful.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.