Using a power sander for drywall work?

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Forum topic by dbhost posted 08-20-2012 01:50 PM 35659 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5777 posts in 4281 days

08-20-2012 01:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Long story short, I need to replace the corner bead in one of my walls, the new beading material is easily twice as wide as the original, so there is a 1/2” span of mud that needs to get sanded flush, 10’ on both sides… I would REALLY rather not do this with a hand sander…

So what to use?

I am thinking about using my ROS with an abrasive disk, say 80 grit, hooked up to my Thien dust collection rig.

As far as power sanders go, the handhelds I own are a quarter sheet sander, a detail sander, and an ROS. Any other type would need to be bought, but again, I am hoping to just knock it out with what I have…

Am I on the right track or do I need to rethink this a bit more…?

On the plus side, I have an outlet with 2 Coaxial cables poking out that I thought I would need to drill a custom wall plate for to convert from Almond to white, but lucked out at all places, at Walmart and found a while dual coax wall plate (1 coax is for my Comcast internet feed, the other is for my DirectTV satelite feed, and it is the only place in the house this takes place.

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17 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5951 posts in 4712 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 02:01 PM

dbhost—I used a power sander (half sheet orbital) on the walls in my new garage. I used 120 grit screen (sold in home centers around where they have drywall supplies and tools). Did the job in a fraction of the time it would have taken by hand.

The sander I used doesn’t have a vac connection, so I opened the door and used a big window fan to blow the dust outside … I wore a respirator to keep from breathing it.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View hairy's profile


3265 posts in 4582 days

#2 posted 08-20-2012 02:07 PM

If you take some time applying the mud, you can finish up with a damp sponge.

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3620 days

#3 posted 08-20-2012 02:13 PM

sand paper used for drywall is an open mesh, to keep it from clogging up. I’m not sure how that would work with a sander. It might…. Sanding drywall mud does go really fast because it’s so soft. I’ve done a ton of it & you can knock it out pretty quickly If it were me, I’d probably just do it by hand.

On another note, I was trying to find a custom outlet cover a while ago (needed 1 coax & 2 hdmi plugs). I discovered that you can buy these blanks & then just buy the inserts (keystones) as needed. It worked perfect & was cheap..

As an example, look at this – each “plug” is a component that can be bought separately & snapped into the wall plate..

wall plate

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5777 posts in 4281 days

#4 posted 08-20-2012 02:13 PM

hairy, totally agree. but the mud I am talking about is existing. This is repairing a wall not standing up new rock… I need to remove material because there is too much there, and I want the corners flush once the mud is on…

Now that I think of it, I need a big box of drywall screws… Back to the BORG I go…

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View JayT's profile


6419 posts in 3260 days

#5 posted 08-20-2012 02:19 PM

Drywall dust is so fine that a dust separator will not get much out and it will clog up a shop-vac filter If you do decide to use a hand sander with dust collection, get the filter bags for the shop-vac and skip the separator. Even then, you will still get a LOT of drywall dust floating around and covering everything in sight. Use 120 to start and finish with 180, 80 grit is just too aggressive for drywall.

I’ve used the same method as Hairy on small repairs. It works well if you are good at mudding, which leaves me out. Otherwise, renting a drywall sander can be a good option. It will leave a better finish than a hand sander and captures nearly all the dust. Totally worth it, IMHO, just for the time savings on cleanup.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3685 days

#6 posted 08-20-2012 02:58 PM

Beware that drywall dust will ruin the sander, so don’t use your newest sander. I’ve done it a few times and it is much better than hand sanding. I don’t know if other people have had this same problem, but the sander would shock me. I think the dust gets thick enough to carry a charge and gives a zap comparable to those shocking pens.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3298 days

#7 posted 08-20-2012 05:26 PM

I did an entire room by hand. It was the 3rd floor of my house that my wife and I turned into the master bedroom. 30’ x 18’ finished dimensions. I did the ceiling too. It wasn’t bad at all, although I got pretty good at mudding.

Whatever ROS you use, it will likely ruin it. It may be cheaper just to rent a proper drywall sander for a day.


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5777 posts in 4281 days

#8 posted 08-20-2012 06:43 PM

Looks like I am just going to go at it with the hand operated drywall sander. Was just hoping to speed up the process…

I could use it as an excuse to upgrade my sander… But even though it is a Skil POS, the poor thing works so well I don’t want to ruin it willy nilly…

Mind you, you won’t hear me say something that positive about any Skil branded tool very often. Overall my experience with their stuff has been beyond poor…

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View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3346 days

#9 posted 08-20-2012 07:21 PM

Hand sanding pad with 220 grit paper will get it done in a jiffy. It’s only one corner bead you’re doing, the larger the sanding pad the better the finished product. And if you take your time with the mud (always thin it to a creamier texture, don’t use it straight out of the bucket) and knock down high spots with a knife you will very little to sand.

View oldnovice's profile


7702 posts in 4417 days

#10 posted 08-20-2012 07:21 PM

I use a dry wall screen on an extension pole and sanded slowly and majority of the dust falls to the floor.

I loaned one of my sanders to a friend that used it dry wall and when I got it back it “screamed”! Needless to say it was almost ruined!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

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5777 posts in 4281 days

#11 posted 08-20-2012 07:30 PM

It’s hard to explain. The original corner bead was a 1/2” per side L, the new stuff is 3/4”, and the original was coated with about 1/8” of mud. I am half tempted to just pare away the mud I need to, skim sand it smooth, and then apply the corner bead… Probably not good for my chisel, but the 1.5” chisel needs to be honed again anyway… Probably be faster than power sanding to boot!

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5777 posts in 4281 days

#12 posted 08-21-2012 02:21 AM

Wow, that was QUICK!

I pared away the loose stuff, got the strip installed and a rough coat of mud on it. I know mud dries better than bondo, but I tend to tread drywall mud like bondo for some reason. Very light skim coats, sanded between let fully dry, another coat until built up, shaved down close to size with a shaping grater (or in the case of drywall mud, skip to… and then finished up with a sander.

This has NOT been a good evening productivity wise… But at least this will do…

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View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4032 days

#13 posted 08-21-2012 05:11 AM

“Real drywaller” ie; taper, would use 20 minute mud, build up old surface to new corner bead. i hope you at least used “all purpose” mud. a $15.00 sanding pole with sreen mesh #220 will sand in a hurry, of what you need.
sounds like your on the right track, now.

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4281 days

#14 posted 08-21-2012 06:52 PM

All Purpose mud, got the pole / screen sander at the ready… Just being OCD about it…If I don’t, my wife will…

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Mainiac Matt

9852 posts in 3378 days

#15 posted 08-21-2012 06:58 PM

I hate working drywall… and I job it out whenever there is a significant amount to be done…

The sell a “heavier mud” that is supposed to fall to the floor and not go airborne… but it still makes a royal mess.

I second the motion to build up thin skim coats to minimize the amount of sanding.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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