How To Wet Sand Drywall

How To Wet Sand Drywall

If you’ve ever finished drywall, you’re probably aware of the mess produced by sanding, which may have you wondering how to sand drywall without dust.

And the answer? Wet-sand.

While wet-sanding is a tedious process, it can drastically reduce the amount of drywall dust left on the walls, floors, and floating throughout the air.

Here’s how to wet sand drywall to cut down on dust.

What Is Wet-Sanding?

What Is Wet-Sanding

Drywall is traditionally finished by taping the joints between panels and applying drywall mud or joint compound. After the mud is dry, it’s sanded with sandpaper to create a smooth surface.

But because dry sanding produces so much dust, some people prefer to wet sand it instead.

Wet sanding uses a stiff damp sponge to remove and smooth excess drywall mud. Wet sanding feathers out the joint compound and is a great way to avoid drywall dust.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Wet Sanding Drywall?

While wet sanding is a great way to cut down on dust, it does have a couple of drawbacks.

To the touch, wet sanding is not as smooth as regular sanding. However, since the water from the sponge blends out the edges of the joint compound, damp sanding can look better than standard drywall sanding.

The other big drawback is that wet sanding is more time-consuming. However, if you consider the time you won’t spend on dust clean-up, it can still come out ahead.

Pros of Wet Sanding:

  • Much less drywall dust
  • Feathered out drywall mud creates less noticeable seams
  • Inexpensive 

Cons of Wet Sanding:

  • Time-consuming
  • Not as smooth as dry sanding
  • Accidentally overwetting can ruin the drywall’s paper face

Supplies You Need To Wet Sand Drywall

Supplies You Need To Wet Sand Drywall
  • Sanding Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Water

While you can technically use any stiff sponge to sand drywall, it’s best to get yourself a drywall sanding sponge. (This wet drywall sanding sponge from Amazon is highly rated and a great example of what you should use.)

How To Wet Sand Drywall: Step By Step

Step 1: Dampen Your Sponge

To get started, dip your drywall sponge in water and then wring it out. Your sponge should feel damp but shouldn’t be soaking wet.

Step 2: Start With The Abrasive Side

Start by knocking down any high or spiky spots in the drywall mud with the abrasive side of your sponge.

Go over the mud in circular motions, using light pressure. Be careful not to press too hard or stay in one area for too long. Rinse your sponge as needed.

Step 3: Feather Out The Compound

Now, thoroughly rinse out your sponge and redampen it. Next, use the smooth side to go over the joint compound, smoothing and feathering the edges of the drywall joints.

This is your last pass so focus on lowering the bump and blending the edges. Use even light pressure the entire time.

Step 4: Let It Dry and Reinspect

Now you need to let the wall dry. If you try to wet sand anymore, it will be too much for the drywall’s paper face.

After the wall is dry, inspect for any uneven or rough spots. If there are rough spots, you’ll need to use a regular drywall sander on them.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to majorly cut down on drywall dust, wet sanding is worth a try. Wet sanding is time-intensive, but since you don’t have to deal with significant dust clean-up afterward, it can still save you time over dry sanding.

If you’re going to wet sand, take your time to do the job right. Avoid overwetting your sponge and rinse it as soon as it gets a joint compound build-up.

Make sure to regularly rinse your bucket of water as well.