Wet-Sanding Drywall

Choose drywall and wet-sand to reduce the dust

Drywall is a better material than MDF (medium density fiberboard) for walls because its joints are less likely to crack. Wet sand to avoid dust.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Wet sand drywall to avoid the dust

You may be tempted to use MDF (medium density fiberboard) on walls rather than drywall to avoid the dust when sanding the joint compound. Indeed, MDF would make a nice, smooth wall surface, and it's often used for painted panels in wainscoting. It's much more dimensionally stable than wood. But it still moves. Relative humidity fluctuations could cause a 4-ft. panel to expand and contract as much as 1/8 in. This would open a crack somewhere, even if you glued and splined the edges of panels to one another.

Drywall is a better choice for your walls, because it moves little with humidity changes. To limit the dust, consider wet-sanding the joints. Tape with care so you don't have to do much sanding. Then buy a big flat drywall sponge (inexpensive; at home centers),wet and wring it out, and simply wipe smooth any minor flaws. You probably won't have to use the coarse side of the sponge unless you have unusually rough areas.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Tape measure
  • Screw gun
  • Chalk line
  • Mud pan
  • Straightedge
  • Sanding sponge
  • Utility knife
  • Taping knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Drywall
  • Drywall screws
  • Joint tape
  • Joint compound