Wet Sanding Drywall

Updated: Oct. 04, 2023

Choose drywall and try wet sanding to reduce the dust

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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.

Tools Required

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

Materials Required

  • Drywall
  • Drywall screws
  • Joint compound
  • Joint tape

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Wet sanding drywall to avoid the dust: Sanding with sponge

family handyman

Dampen a special drywall sponge and smooth out flaws in your final coat of compound. 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.

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Step 2

Drywall is a better choice

drywall Roman023_photography/shutterstock

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. Here are a few tips for sanding drywall.

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Step 3

Buy a big flat drywall sponge

sponge ben44/shutterstock

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. Here are a few tips for patching drywall.

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