How to Fix Uneven Drywall

Written by stan mack
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Uneven drywall is common. Shifting foundations, poor construction and radical temperature changes can warp walls and ceilings, causing the drywall to look wavy. Drywall finishers and plasterers fix these problems using a technique called "floating." This is a labour-intensive process, but it is easy to understand. Essentially, you have to coat the entire surface of the drywall with joint compound. Over areas with valleys, apply a thick layer. Over areas with peaks, apply a thin layer. The overall effect of this technique is to camouflage the unevenness of the drywall.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Straight-edge
  • 12-inch drywall knife
  • Joint compound
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Drywall primer
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Determine which areas are peaks and which are valleys. To do this, hold a straightedge against the drywall. Then look at it from the side. You should be able to get a good idea of which areas need to be floated. If necessary, use a pencil to mark which areas need filling.

  2. 2

    Fill in the valleys with joint compound, using a 12-inch drywall knife. At this point, your goal is just to even out the drywall, so don't try to cover the entire surface at once. Instead, just focus on filling the target areas.

  3. 3

    Test the area for peaks and valleys again after the joint compound has dried. Hold a straightedge against the surface and use a pencil to mark the areas that need filling.

  4. 4

    Coat the entire area with a thick layer of joint compound, leaving an extra-thick layer over the target areas. Allow the joint compound to dry.

  5. 5

    Sand the entire area smooth with 100-grit sandpaper. Occasionally test the area for peaks with your straight edge. Sand any peaks you find as much as possible.

  6. 6

    Repeat the coating and sanding process until the drywall is no longer uneven. For the final coat, thin the joint compound with water. This will create a glassy, smooth surface.

  7. 7

    Prime the area before painting. Consider using a primer specifically designed to hide flaws in drywall.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a sanding pole to sand your work. They are inexpensive and will save you a lot of time and effort.
  • Drywall dust can damage electronic equipment. Use dust sheets to cover anything you want to protect.

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