Dustless Drywall Sanding - Introduction

You will appreciate dustless drywall sanding a lot more after your spouse is done yelling at you for making such a mess. Drywall dust is, without a doubt, one of the messiest substances known to man. The dust is so fine and it travels fast. It is amazing where it can get and how much of it can get there.

Tracking it through the house is another popular mistake. All of the praise you can get from a good drywall job will be negated by the scorn you will receive from making a mess.

Drywall dust does not have to win. It does not have to ruin your drywall repair project. Find out the options you have for dealing with drywall dust. It could be as simple as the kind of drywall mud you use.

You have two options when it comes to dustless drywall sanding. One would be to deal with the dust before it gets everywhere. The other would be to not create any dust in the first place. The method you choose will depend on several factors. Doing a better job of finishing the drywall can also help. Check out the article 'Taping and Mudding Drywall', for some pointers on drywall finishing.

Dustless Drywall Sanding - Information

  • Part One - Containing drywall dust would be your first option. If you can keep it in one location, it is fairly easy to pick up.
  • Part Two - A popular, if not somewhat problematic, solution for dealing with sanding drywall in a finished area.
  • Part Three - A vacuum cleaner, especially a powerful one would also seem like a perfect solution. There are a few issues.
  • Part Four - Dustless drywall compound is also another option. The technology keeps the dust from getting airborne.


The 'Next' section discusses 'Containing Drywall Dust'. Check the 'Home Repair Topics Menu' at the top of the page, if this is not your problem.

Last Updated on January 13, 2013

Containing Drywall Dust

Do not underestimate how pervasive drywall dust can be. It has the ability to get everywhere. It will put a layer of fine white powder on everything. When you are planning on dry sanding, you need to protect the area.

Containing the mess is a good idea with any repair project. Cover the floors before you start. Drape plastic over the doorways and seal them with blue masking tape. Put walk off mats down wherever you will be going in and out of the area.

Another silent enemy is your heating and cooling system. Cover up the registers and cold air returns. Dust that gets sucked into you heating system can wind up spreading through the whole house. Even when you use dustless drywall sanding techniques it is a good idea to isolate the area.

Drywall projects are among the messiest you will get involved with on your home. The other problem is that it normally takes place inside of your home.


The 'Next' page covers 'Wet Sanding Drywall'. The 'Previous' page is the 'Introduction' to this series of articles on 'Dustless Drywall Sanding'.

Last Updated on January 13, 2013

Vacuum Sanding Drywall

Vacuum sanding drywall is another option. You do this by attaching a sanding head to a shop vac. This method has the advantage of achieving the same quality as conventional sanding. The vacuum cleaner captures the dust as it is generated. Sanding heads that can attach to a shop vac can be purchased for around $20. Not a big investment for saving yourself some cleaning.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues to contend with. Vacuum sanding drywall with a shop vac is not totally dust free. Some dust escapes the suction and can still get in the air. Drywall dust is very fine and can clog a filter on a shop vac very quickly, even if the filter is new. When this happens the shop vac will start to blow out as much dust as it picks up. Not a pleasant thought. Purchasing the sanding head is not a major investment. However, it is still an expense.

You need to use sanding screen with this type of sanding head. The holes in the screen allow the air to pass through. You need to purchase the screen and a sanding head before you can start. Make sure you have a clean filter for the shop vac. Sand the drywall the same way you would with a regular sanding head. Sand lightly, in long even strokes until the surface is smooth. Use your hand to make sure the area is smooth.

Check the filter often, cleaning as needed. The mess will be massive if the filter clogs. After you are done you want to clean the filter thoroughly.


The 'Next' section discusses 'Mixing Plaster and Drywall'. The 'Previous' section covers 'Spackling Plaster Walls'.

Last Updated on January 13, 2013

Wet Sanding Drywall

Wet sanding drywall is a common method that is used to smooth the surface of the drywall compound. It really isn't sanding at all. Instead a sponge or rag is used to dissolve the drywall compound.

This method has some advantages. The first would be that it does not require any special tools. A sanding block and a rag or a sponge along with a pail of water are all the tools that are needed. Done carefully, this method can yield a smooth surface that is ready for paint. The biggest advantage to wet sanding drywall is that there is no dust at all. All the excess drywall compound is dissolved by the water and winds up in the pail of water. Great!

Wet sanding drywall does have some drawbacks. First the feathering of the edges is not quite as smooth as regular sanding. This may or may not be noticeable after the patch is painted. Second, it is very easy to remove too much compound. When this happens you are forced into coating the area again. Lastly, you can groove the surface without realizing it. Again, when this happens you will have to coat the area again.

Always use something that is flat and fairly stiff for this method. Never use just a rag and your fingers to finish the drywall. You will groove it almost immediately. They do sell sponges at drywall and home supply stores for this purpose. They are not expensive and work pretty well. Use a damp sponge, not soaking wet. Wring it out often while you are smoothing the surface. Make several light passes and do not put too much pressure on the sponge.

Another option for this type of dustless drywall sanding would be a sanding block and a rag. The same principles apply, not too much water and light pressure. Don't try to do too much with each pass. Don't remove too much compound.


The 'Next' section discusses 'Vacuum Sanding Drywall'. The 'Previous' section covers 'Containing Drywall Dust'.

Last Updated on January 13, 2013

Dustless Drywall Compound

A few years ago a new product was introduced to be used in the war on drywall dust. Dustless drywall compound made its debut and dustless drywall sanding took a giant leap forward. The United States Gypsum company started producing a light weight dustless drywall compound.

Light weight drywall compounds have always been a friend to do it yourself homeowners. They are easier to work with and require less sanding than the older standard compounds. Adding dust free technology to an already popular compound was a great innovation.

Dust free does not mean mess free. The way the compound works is that the dust particles stick to each other forming larger particles that fall harmlessly to the ground. This residue is easily swept up and disposed of. The fine white dust that becomes airborne is not a factor.

With this product, dustless drywall sanding has never been easier. Most home supply stores carry this compound. The USG brand is called "Sheetrock Joint Compound - with Dust Control". It is sold in one gallon and three and a half gallon pails.


The 'Next' section is a 'Summary' for this series on 'Dustless Drywall Sanding'. This article discussed 'Plaster Wall Failure'. The 'Previous' section gave you in formation on 'Vacuum Sanding Drywall'.

Last Updated on January 13, 2013

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