/ / How to wet sand drywall to avoid dust?

How to wet sand drywall to avoid dust?

When you think of sanding drywall, you probably think of a big cloud of dust. Or dust everywhere…

But this doesn’t have to be the case, you can sand drywall with less dust. No dust everywhere in your home, clothes, and even hair.

The solution is wet sanding. And this post is all about sharing tips on avoiding drywall dust by sharing how to wet sand drywall.

drywall sandpaper used for wet sanding

What is wet sanding?

Sanding is the process of evening out a surface, whatever that may be. Wet sanding is when a sandpaper type of material is immersed into water then it is used to sand.

One of the biggest benefits of wet sanding is that it reduces dust.

If wet sanding is so great, why is everyone not using it?

Wet sanding is more time-consuming than dry sanding. Though dry sanding does require a lot of dust cleanup, they probably take the same amount of time when you consider the cleanup.

Also, wet sanding can leave some small waves because the sponge or sandpaper used is more flexible then what is used when dry sanding.

And because you are wet sanding, the wall must dry again before painting.

Plus it’s not as practical for large areas, a whole basement.

But don’t let that stop you.

Wet sanding is perfect for a DIYer because like I said before, it reduces the amount of dust, and let’s face it, you are probably living in your home while you’re doing this.

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How to wet sand drywall to avoid dust


TIP: Any stiff sponge will do the job but you will have a better result with a drywall sponge or sandpaper designed for wet sanding.

STEP 1: Wet the sanding sponge

Fill the bucket with warm water about half to three-quarters of the way full.

Dip the sanding material into the water and wring it out the excess.

TIP: You don’t want the sponge to be to dry. You want it damp enough to loosen and dissolve the joint compound.

STEP 2: Sand the bump spots

SIDE NOTE: If you are using a sponge, you will notice that there is an abrasive side (rougher). This side is used to help sand down high spots.

Start off by focusing on the bumpiest areas for your first pass.

Move the sanding sponge against the drywall in a circular motion over the high spots.

Don’t press too hard when sanding in one spot because this can create a crater, valley, or holes in the area. Resist the temptation of scrubbing aggressively to speed up the process because it will cause you more work.

TIP: Let the sponge and water do the work, not the strength of your hand!

Continue sanding until the area softens to an even surface.

If the sanding sponge begins to dry out or get built up with compound, rinse out the sponge and continue sanding with a new dampened sponge.

TIP: To remove the built-up compound on the sandpaper, use a scrubbing brush to brush out the sandpaper in the water.

Also, don’t be afraid to refill your bucket with clean water when needed.

STEP 3: Smoothing it out

Once the bumps are gone, focus on making sure to smooth out the edges, this reduces the visibility of the seams after painting.

SIDE NOTE: If you are using the drywall sponge, switch to the smooth side to smooth out the edges.

Smoothing the edges is considered a second pass and you should finish here because you do not want to get the drywall paper too wet.

STEP 4: Allow the wall to dry

Once the area is completely smooth, let it dry overnight before applying another coat of compound or paint.

TIP: Remember to never do more than two passes before allowing the compound to dry. But also do not sand more because you can remove the joint taping.

If you do feel like you need to sand again after the two passes, I would recommend applying another coat of joint compound but this time water down the compound to help you achieve a smoother finish. See how I do this in my tutorial on how to patch a hole in the drywall.