The correct drywall tools will help you erase the cracks, dimples, and dents that happen when your house settles, nails pop, and kids bounce hard things off walls. Here are must-have drywall tools that will make your walls look like new.
A smear of joint compound can cover faint cracks and subtle dimples in drywall, but you’ll have to perform some cut-and-patch surgery on holes and larger drywall problems. Here are the tools you’ll need.
1. Utility knife: Your main drywall cutting and scoring tool, this razor blade-in-a-handle also is good for straightening edges of damaged drywall for easier repair. Cost: $1 to $15.
2. Keyhole saw: This long and thin drywall saw looks like a barracuda, with interchangeable blades for precision and tight radius cutting. Cost: $6 (includes 2 blades).
3. Mesh or paper tape and patches: These hole cover-ups provide a flat surface for joint compound. Purists use mesh; others prefer paper tape, which they claim provides a smoother surface. Cost: $7/300 ft. for mesh tape; $4/150 ft. for paper tape. $5 per 6” patch.
4. Try square: This L-shaped instrument is good for marking and measuring drywall cuts. Cost: $9 (hardwood) to $25 (rosewood).
5. Putty knife: This flat knife, usually 2 to 6 inches long, is used for applying joint compound or putty for small repairs and nail pops. Cost: $2 (plastic); $6 for 6-inch steel.
6. Drywall knives and trowels: These are flat tools—4”, 6”, 8”, and up—for taping drywall and applying, spreading, and feathering joint compound. Cost: The larger the knife—say, 12 inches—the more compound it will hold and the better it will feather the edges of joint compound patches. Cost: $4 (plastic set 6”, 8”, 10”); $40 (13” steel trowel).
7. Mud pan: This mini-trough holds joint compound, aka “mud.” Pros like a stainless steel mud pan because it’s durable and won’t rust; plastic pans are cheap enough to throw out for easy clean-up. Cost: $4 (plastic); $14 (stainless steel).
8. Sanding block: This rubber block holds the sandpaper that smoothes and blends drywall patches. Cost: $5.