Drywall Finishing Levels: All You Need to Know.
Drywall finishing comes in different levels. In case you are unfamiliar with some of these levels, this article will show you all the relevant information. Here, we have six finish levels for drywall surfaces explained in details. They go with walls, ceilings, or other drywall construction. You should note that these definitions of different drywall levels were created by the drywall construction, painting, and manufacturing trade associations. Whether you are new to painting or you are an expert painter, your painting will always fall into one of these levels. We have numbered the levels from 0-5 and also provided a comprehensive explanation. You will be familiar with the specific level of finishing that each level entails. Knowing this will help you to eliminate vagueness while defining the meaning of a finish.
LEVEL 0 DEFINED
Because there is no finish, this level has the designation of zero. It is void of taping, no joint cement, and no painting. The drywall is erected and is then complete. Recommended use: temporary construction, dust walls You should use this level in a structure that is temporary and not yet finalized. You need not whether the final decoration is set for a final plan or not. It is also suitable in the position where decorated panel comes in demountable-type partitions that are required to give a final touch of painting.
LEVEL 1 DEFINED
You may adopt level 1 consistently in the areas above the roofs. You should also use this in unfinished spaces, and areas where the mounting would be generally concealed. This includes the corridors of the building services, as well as some other areas that are always enclosed against the public view. You should provide fire-tapping as required for some degree of smoke and sound produced in some geographic area. This level of finish does not meet fire resistant assembly requirements typically. Details of construction should be by the report of fire tests of assemblies that have matched the condition of the fire rating imposed where a fire-resistance rating is essential to the Gypsum Board Assembly. You may also need to use tape embedded in
the joint compound of all interior and joint angles. Level 1 is also ideal for use in the areas with pedestrian traffic and corridors as recommended by the specifier. However, accessories are very much optional and also you might not need it. Also, you do not need to cover tape and fastener heads with joint compound. Make sure the surface is free of numerous joint compound. Ridges and tool marks are unquestionably acceptable in this level one.
LEVEL 2 DEFINED
Level 2: Having the ASTM C630 specification, this level is ideal for areas where gypsum backing board water-resistance is employed as the substrate for tile. You may also use it for standard gypsum board surfaces in garages, warehouse storage or some similar area that surface appearance is of no importance primarily. Ensure that all joints and interior angles tape are embedded in joint compound. Also, you should wipe the surface with a trowel knife immediately. However, you can leave a thin coating of the joint compound across all joints and interior angles. Furthermore, we recommend that you cover all fastener accessories and heads with a coat of joint compound. The surfaces must be free of excess joint compound. Ridges and tool marks are undoubtedly acceptable at this level.
LEVEL 3 DEFINED
Level 3: You can engage this level in areas that are to receive dense texture (either hand applied or spray) finishes before final painting. It is also suitable for areas where commercial-grade (heavy duty) wall-coverings are essential for the final decoration. It is not proper to use this level of finish where lighter weight wall-coverings or smooth painted surfaces are specified. You may also coat the prepared surface with a drywall primer before the application of final finishes. Just like in level 2, it is recommended that you wipe all interior angles and joints that have tape embedded in joint compound immediately with a trowel or a knife. It is okay for you to leave a tiny coating of joint compound over the surfaces of interior angles and joints. Endeavor to cover fastener accessories and heads with two separate coat of joint compound. Smoothen all joint compounds, and ensure that they are free of ridges and tool marks. Covering the prepared surface 5 Finishing Drywall System 157 with a drywall primer before the application of the final decoration will be of utmost benefits as well.
LEVEL 4 DEFINED
Level 4: Use this level where residential grade (light duty) wall coverings, flat paints, or light textures are to be applied. The prepared surface should experience a coating of a drywall primer before the application of final touches. Release agents for wall coverings are specially formulated to minimize damage if covers are subsequently removed. Also, you must consider the weight, texture, and sheen level of the wall-covering material selected. This is imperative while specifying the wall-coverings over this level of drywall treatment. You should sufficiently conceal the joints and fasteners if the wall-covering material is lightweight. Not only that; you should also emulate this where the surface has a glossy finish, contains a limited patter as well as having the combinations of these features highlighted. The joint photographing may witness a reduction when you apply flat paints over light textures across critical lighting areas. You should steer clear of enamel paints, gloss, and semi-gloss in this level of finish. Also, make use of a joint knife or trowel in the immediate removal of joints and interior angles with tape embedded in their joint compound. However, as usual, you are to leave a thin coating of joint compound on interior edges and joints. Additionally, you should apply two separate coats of joint compound over all flat joints, and one different coat of joint compound applied over interior angles. You should cover the fastener heads and accessories with three separate layers of joint compound. Smoothen all joint compounds and make the free of tool marks and ridges. You should cover the prepared surface with a drywall primer before the application of the final decoration.
LEVEL 5 DEFINED
Level 5: If you want to obtain a uniform surface and also have a reduce the possibility of joint photographing, then level 5 is the most effective level to deploy. At this level, the highest quality of finish is achieved. Also, there will be a lowering of fasteners showing through the final decoration. You are to use this level of finish when there is a specification for enamel, gloss, and semi-gloss. Also, it is suitable for use over an untextured surface, or where critical lighting conditions occur. You should coat the prepared surface with a drywall primer before the application of final decoration. Wipe all joints and interior angles that have tape embedded in joint compound immediately with a joint knife or trowel. A thin coating of a joint compound must be left over all interior angles and joints. There should be the application of two separate coats of joint compound over all flat joints. Likewise, you should apply one different layer of joint compound should over the interior angles. There must be a covering on the fastener heads and accessories with three separate coats of joint compound. Make sure you trowel-apply a thin skim coat of joint compound to the entire surface. You should shear off excess compound immediately, leaving a film or skim coating of compound completely covering the paper. It is desirable to apply materials specifically manufactured for this purpose as an alternative to a skim coat.
Smoothen the surface, and make it free of ridges and marks. Cover the prepared surface with a drywall primer before the application of the final decoration.
The three ways for a skim coat application
Using a Roller: Roll onto the wall with a thick-nap roller, then scrape off immediately.
Using a Taping Knife: In this method, you are to apply between six to eight dabs of mud. Ensure that each is about three to four inches in diameter. After that, smoothen the mixture across the surface.
Spraying: Spray equipment to allow professionals to spray on drywall compound. This type of material can be rented at rental yards or even at some home improvement stores. By now, we believe that you have perfectly understood the definition of each level of finish. Knowing this will enable you to identify which types are suitable for you. Also, the application of each level differs; it takes having a comprehensive knowledge of the definition of each level to know when and where to engage the five levels specified. Remember, all these definitions of levels follow GA-214-96 Recommended Levels of Gypsum Board Finish