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minor7flat5
10-30-2005, 01:37 PM
I'm looking for a way to sand drywall that doesn't produce nearly as much dust. Right now, I use hand sanders with screens to do the finish sanding and it works great, as long as nobody minds white dust everywhere. I am faced with sanding a whole lot of redone old tape joints -- not just one patched hole, but not a roomful of fresh smooth drywall -- and my wife is giving me the evil eye. I need to cut the dust.

I know that Home Depot has fancy hi-end dustless sanding equipment for rent, but that's not what I'm looking for: it rents for something ike $30-40 per day + materials, but that will really get expensive fast if I rent one every time I want to sand a single patch or tape joint.

A brief Google search brought up a couple of promising options:
A hand sander (http://all-wall.com/acatalog/info_1_HYD09165.html) that hooks up to a vacuum.
A fancy gadget (http://sandkleen.com/products.htm) that bubbles the vacuumed air through water.
I found a drywall sponge (http://homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/shop_cart/pg_alt_view_popup.jsp?CNTTYPE=PROD_META&CNTKEY=shop_cart/pg_alt_view_popup.jsp&[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@&BV_EngineID=ccfeaddgdjjkgjmcgelceffdfgidgnl.0&MID=9876&prod_id=169570) and tried it, but it appears that it will take forever and will not give a smooth surface (the same problem one faces when sanding wood using one's hand as a backing).

Anyone have good tips?
What about my shop vac. What kind of filter do I need to put on it? Is it futile to expect to use a standard shop vac for this dust?

(I'm not sure if there's a true factual answer to this, so maybe this is IMHO stuff)

Harmonious Discord
10-30-2005, 02:08 PM
You need the high end filter for the vac. It will have the abilty to filter dust, on the label. You can do a wet sanding, which I've never done.

Valgard
10-30-2005, 02:15 PM
You need the high end filter for the vac. It will have the abilty to filter dust, on the label. You can do a wet sanding, which I've never done.

I use a Gore "Clean Stream" filter on my Shopvac, it works great for very fine dust (like finish sanding). I've never used it on drywall but assume that it'd work well with one of the sanding attachments that you mention.

When I redid my family room I used a plain old dish sponge on the joints and it worked great, nice smooth finish and zero dust. Of course I textured everything afterwards so minor imperfections are all covered up. I don't think that a sponge will take of gobs of dried mud.

ftg
10-30-2005, 02:45 PM
I use a slightly damp sponge. I like the results a lot better and of course no dust. Requires using the right mud.

GaryM
10-30-2005, 03:24 PM
Instead of a sponge, try this.

Take a piece of 2x4 about 12" long. Staple on a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet so three side of the 2x4 are covered. Dip the whole thing in a bucket of water and shake off the excess. Use the wet carpet to smooth the joint compound. The 2x4 keeps the surface nice and flat. Dip and shake as required.

You might still have to sand some, but not nearly as much.

The Flying Dutchman
10-30-2005, 03:40 PM
I wold clear the room and isolate it with cheap 2 ml x 8 ft poly hung by red sheathing tape. Now you can sand to your hearts content and have an easy cleanup afterwards.

However if that is not an option for you, based on my experience in restoring boats, why don't you try it with wet&dry sandpaper. I've never tried it with drywall filler, and getting the drywall wet might soften the surface somewhat, but that kind of sanding is very common with other material, and will certainly eliminate the dust. If you give that a try, let us know how it works out.

Padeye
10-30-2005, 05:08 PM
Drywall dust is insideous . It will get throuigh paper and foam filters and wreak havoc with the brushes on a universal motor. A friend ruined a shop vac this way and I'm not sure if the gore filters will prevent that.

Finagle
10-30-2005, 05:27 PM
I've used the device that attaches to your Shop Vac and bubbles the dust through water to filter it out. Works pretty well. Not *that* expensive -- 20 or 30 dollars, I think. Fairly cheap compared to having drywall dust everywhere.

danceswithcats
10-30-2005, 07:00 PM
After looking at the water filters for drywall sanding (they were new back then and more expensive) I bought a handpiece to hold the screen, a length of flexible sump pump hose, some plumbing fittings, and proceeded to make one from an old drywall compound bucket. It probably cost $15-20 plus my time, but there's no mess to clean up after large sanding jobs.

spingears
10-30-2005, 07:21 PM
I'm looking for a way to sand drywall that doesn't produce nearly as much dust. Right now, I use hand sanders with screens to do the finish sanding and it works great, as long as nobody minds white dust everywhere. I am faced with sanding a whole lot of redone old tape joints -- not just one patched hole, but not a roomful of fresh smooth drywall -- and my wife is giving me the evil eye. I need to cut the dust.
1. As others have noted isolate the area with thin poly plastic to contain dust.
2. Be sure shop vac has both a cloth and paper filter attached so as to not leak.
3. Use screen sanding medium for fast action.
4. Wear a full face mask with dual dust filters to protect your lungs. More importatnt than wifeys house!

rocking chair
10-30-2005, 07:41 PM
i use a damp sponge on not quite dry mud. very smooth, no dust.

should you decide on the sanding, may i suggest wet cloth as well as the poly barrier. you can wet and wring old sheets or paint tarp, and hang on all entrances to the room, then the poly on the outside. so the dust has to go through wet fabric as well as the poly to escape the room.

this has worked for me. esp. if electronics like tvs have to stay in the room. plastic first then wet cloth on top. hardly anything got past it.

not sopping wet, but dampish.

AncientHumanoid
10-31-2005, 07:03 AM
All good replies so far. So let me chime in with a slightly different take.

Many DIYers tend to over sand drywall because of not having floated out enough. After taping and bedding, come back and float out the joints. You may have to float them out a couple of times to get it smooth. Nice and wide with a fairly wet mud and a 10 or 12" knife.

The smoother you float it out in the first place, the less sanding you'll need to do. Personally, I would rather float it out "one more time" than have to spend a lot of time sanding.

Crotalus
10-31-2005, 07:14 AM
An emphatic amen to what NoClueBoy said. Taking the time to make the joints as smooth and flat as possible with a wide knife makes the rest of the finishing much easier. And to echo what several others have said, I rarely dry-sand. I use 3M sanding sponges, dunked and wrung out and a bucket of water to rinse them and remove excess mud.

minor7flat5
10-31-2005, 07:24 AM
I'm in agreement with NoClueBoy and others that I would prefer to have a smooth joint straight off the taping knife rather than have to sand. Usually I am able to do that. Unfortunately this time I'm dealing with a skim coat on top of all the crap that is left behind when a couple of layers of wallpaper are removed, so the first coat is just an attempt to get a fairly smooth surface (I know... a pro could do it.). I was tempted to simply replace the wallboard in those sections, and that would probably have saved much time.

Given that I am pretty confident that I will have to sand, I'm going to try that bubbler gadget. I hadn't thought of using those 3M sponges for wet sanding, but that sounds like a peachy idea as well.
GaryM's idea sounds interesting too.

Thanks folks!

I have plenty of opportunity to try each one and choose the better option.

crazyjoe
10-31-2005, 09:50 AM
Here's what my dad did when he refinished his bathroom, and he said ot worked out all right. He took a sander with a dust-collecter and bought several lengths of flexible hose....enough so that the shopvac could be placed outside a window and the hose run into the house and attached to the sander. Since you no longer have the vac inside anymore, there realy isn't any need for a super-fine filter, and this will eliminate a huge portion of the dust. You need to move slowly so you don't stir up tons of dust at a time, but this seems to be the best way.

minor7flat5
10-31-2005, 10:48 AM
I can imagine that being done one step easier: run a hose from the blower output of the vacuum out the window. In either case, I will have to choose my time well so as to not incur the wrath of the neighbors (who wants to hear a shop vac howling at midnight).

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