By Nick Harmon
There are two different lenses through which a wall can be viewed: the eyes of a drywall ﬁnisher, and observations by everyone else.
It’s always fascinating to me how little people know about the various mediums inherent in the drywall industry. We’re surrounded by walls our entire lives, yet we pay little or no attention to how they were created. Yet often, we tell each other that we hate the texture in our homes and wish there were a way to improve them.
To begin with, we need to address the mediums. Many people refer to drywall mud as “spackle.” If you’re not in the trade (or even if you are) don’t ever call drywall mud “spackle.” This will only succeed in establishing you as an ignoramus, and you’ll immediately be discredited by the tradesmen in the ﬁeld. Much like the art world, the drywall industry is comprised of different mediums and those mediums are designed for different purposes. Plaster is both a medium and a trade. Drywall and plaster are two completely different trades of the construction industry, but both will be addressed here because they both pertain to the topic of smooth. For the purpose of this article, all you need to know is that plaster is a specialized wall ﬁnish and is at no time used in the drywall industry. In turn, drywall mud, is never, or rarely, used in the plaster industry. These elements of wall ﬁnish are so completely different that they have their own speciﬁc trade unions. So next time you’re in someone’s home, and you say, “I just love the plaster on these walls!” be careful you’re not referring to their textured drywall.
Ok, to follow up: – Don’t ever use the word, “spackle;” you’ll sound ignorant. Always call it “mud.”
Plaster and joint compound are two different mediums and should be addressed separately — always. Smooth ﬁnish is not really smooth. Oh wait! We’re not there yet! That’s right, I was going to talk about smooth ﬁnish. Thanks for being patient.
Now that we have a minimal understanding of the mediums/trades, I guess we can talk about how those guys and gals make walls smooth… or not.