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March 16, 2022

TCL Episode #44 – Drywall and Mudding with Teddy from Paint Ready Finishing

Show Notes

The most underrated part of the whole construction whether it be a home or commercial building is mudding and drywall. Episode 44 of “The Construction Life” has a special guest Teddy who is an expert in the drywall and mudding world. Teddy has been doing mudding for 30-35 years.

Owner of Paint Ready Finishing which is in place for more than a decade, Teddy loves the hand-skimmed work, which is the reason he joined the trade. The show focuses on how finishing is more like an industrial art when you are successful in creating something that looks how it is supposed to. When Teddy started, he used to work 20 hours a day and worked 2 – 10,000 square foot homes in a week. Back then it was only like 18 cents a square foot. So, he was killing himself for very little gain, but back in those days, especially the late 90s during the recession years, no matter how much someone made, people used to say how lucky they are to have a job!

Old Dog or Not?

Teddy says how mudding has evolved with respect to time, tools, and physical compounds. Earlier they used to mix mud the night before, it was pre-mix mudding. Teddy says that there is no fixed formula when it comes to construction, every project is different. So you have to dig deeper you can accept the new things that are coming the new tools, the new tricks, or you can be the old dog and not evolve.

Did the pre-mix killed the industry?

Even very skilled people don’t use pre-mix. When asked if pre-mix killed the construction industry, Teddy replied, a lot of the guys that do work with pre-mix, will not deviate, even if they’re going to be prefilled it takes longer. If you pre-fill with premix also, and the area doesn’t dry, you put a wet tape over the top of that. It has the potential to crack.

People want to save time even if they must sacrifice quality. Even though machines came into place and guys went from hand trowel to machines.

Drywall important

Teddy says when he has good drywall in front of him, he’s the happiest guy in the world. He’s whistling at work; he is all pumped up and does his job beautifully in record time. But when it’s bad, he is demotivated already. By bad, Teddy meant it can be bad screws, bad board placement, broken corners, broken flat joints, just pure laziness, etc.

Sometimes the corners overlap. So, he has to trim every corner before he can install beads because some of these will cascade and that will ruin the whole project. It always starts with framing. So, if the framing goes bad, then the board guys get affected, and then everything goes downhill right to the bitter end.

Are you a plastic or metal guy?

Teddy likes them all and says that everything is job-specific. Teddy loves the Trim-Tex mud set corner beads for everything, because once they’re installed, and even if they get hit, they’re easy to fix. Trim-Tex is plastic, it’s better than metal but is still not going to stand up to condensation.

It was also discussed how Columbia Taping (Drywall Finishing) 12” is not exactly 12 inches, it is actually 11, three quarters which might not work well for you so you should switch to 14” instead.

Safety of Drywall and Mudding Workers

Usually, drywall and mudding workers don’t realize it, but the workers in this niche are exposed to many chemicals so they should take care of their safety. Everything Durabond 90, glue, even mud has harsh chemicals that cannot just burn your skin but can also lead to several types of cancer.
You should protect your hands and wear good quality gloves. Teddy has suggested the following things for your safety

  • Moisturizer
  • Gloves for your skin safety
  • Mask/Respirators

Mudders / Drywallers don’t have the respirators on and they are exposed to silicosis, due to inhaling silica while working. Your lungs can be destroyed with the dust around you!

You should also go for pulmonary tests too to check your lung health!


When mud is too thick, it fisheyes which means it starts to get holes in it. Also, when a wall is not insulated, or it has a different temperature than the mud or you bring a box of mud from a truck in and you don’t let it sit for 24 hours, you don’t spin it up, it’s going to be a different temperature and it will start sweating, it bubbles or breathes. The trick is always to keep it tight. The tighter, the better. And if you see bubbles, that either means that a wall is not insulated, it’s a plaster wall, it’s too thick.

Other takeaways!

  • Teddy narrated how he walked to a site with 600 sheets of drywall in the center of a house with no roof. It rained every day. So, for 30 days, this house had no roof and the drywall was soaked every single day. So, they remove one sheet and found mold underneath. There was mold everywhere, even behind the wall.
  • Where to use mesh or paper? Always Mesh except firewall or machines!
  • Focus on doing what you are doing well, instead of making assembly lines to make the same or similar product, companies should focus on making what they are good at. Similarly, one should only work in the trade they are good at.
  • The client deserves Industry Standard as they are paying good money. Board guys should get paid enough and overtime, so they work properly and don’t just do it for the sake of completing the work.
  • Teddy says when he was a GC and was running on sites, it was almost impossible to get a good mudder. When he worked for the insurance company, every job finished with mudding. And that’s where he learned how to use Dura Bond. It made him smarter.
  • Teddy says that the trade that’s fixing is not the trade is supposed to be fixing it. So, if something comes up, the hours or the fixing work should be adjusted in the budget.
  • Nobody guarantees a span over 28 feet of drywall. You must have a control joint otherwise things will crack.
  • Durabond taping is job-specific. It might not work in bigger industrial projects such as movie theatres etc, but Teddy has never seen Durabond failing in big residential projects and says it is physically strong.
  • Old school is not that bad. The old school still applies to shaft and mudding.
  • Even one coat for Teddy means, prefill, tape, and one coat, it usually happens when customers don’t have the budget.