How to Sand Drywall With Minimal Dust

Updated: Oct. 04, 2023

Techniques and tools for sanding drywall like a pro so it's perfectly smooth, plus tips for dust control.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Learn more.

Next Project
Time

A full day

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

After you've hung and taped drywall, follow these steps to sand it perfectly smooth. We'll show you techniques the pros use when sanding drywall to achieve excellent results.

Tools Required

  • Drywall sander
  • Dust mask
  • Mud pan
  • Sanding pole
  • Shop vacuum
  • Stepladder
  • Taping knife

Materials Required

  • 150-grit drywall sandpaper
  • Drop Cloths
  • Hat
  • Sanding sponges
  • Window box fan

Sand Preparation and Dust Collection

Drywall sanding can be a tedious job. It’s not only dirty and grueling but also stressful because now you have to fix any earlier mistakes. Good sanding results are built on the foundation of good drywall taping, and the final sanding is your last chance to get the whole job right. The paint job will reveal the truth: Either you succeeded—all the fasteners and seams look uniformly invisible—or any taping and sanding flaws are now glaringly apparent forevermore. No wonder so many homeowners choose to hire out drywall work.

Take heart: If you’re patient and pay attention to detail, you can tackle this job with making some of the most common drywall mistakes. We’ll show you the sanding steps and finishing techniques the pros use to get sanding done quickly to make smooth walls.

Tips for Drywall Dust Collection When Sanding:

Drywall dust is fine, like flour, and will travel to other areas of the house. To prepare your house for the work ahead and reduce this dust, follow these steps:

  1. Lay dropcloths. Use plastic sheeting and masking tape to seal off cold-air return ducts and doorways. Mount box fans in windows (exhausting out) to ventilate the room. Remove the screens from your windows and doors before starting work to avoid having to clean drywall dust from them afterward.
  2. Capture dust at the source. If you have ever sanded drywall, you know what a mess drywall dust can be! For way less than you’d think, you can practically eliminate the problem with a dustless drywall sanding attachment for your shop vacuum. This one from Hyde Tools (No. 09165) comes with a 6-ft. hose and adapters to simplify the connection to your vacuum cleaner.
  3. Get the proper safety equipment: a two-strap dust mask (changed every half hour if you’re working in under-ventilated areas) or a respirator—both types rated for drywall work—plus a hat, glasses (goggles fog up) and comfortable clothing.
  4. Don’t forget the psychological aspect of drywall sanding: The work goes much quicker and easier if you recruit a helper and turn on your favorite music!

Project step-by-step (9)