How Many Different Levels of Drywall Finish are There?

Drywall finishing comes in 5 levels; however, not all levels are necessary, nor are they utilized in completing most drywall jobs. However, if you’re looking for perfectly smooth walls without any imperfections, then you will need a skilled professional to complete all levels.

Level One

The first step of drywall finishing begins with hanging the drywall. 
Level one starts by taping the joints and using a joint compound, also known as “mud,” to embed the tape into the joints. 
This step is crucial as if the tape isn’t embedded correctly and the joints aren’t made strong, the joints may later crack, which will be visible in the finished work. 
Using the most adhesive drywall joint compound is the first step. Using a good drywall tape is another critical factor. Paper tape is known to prevent cracks better than mesh tape will. 
The compound’s application on this first coat also requires skill as too much or too little mud can impact the finished product.


Level Two

Level two is when wall skimming begins. Level two drywall finishing is a must step as this is where all the nails and drywall screws are covered with compound, and a light skim is applied over all the drywall joints finished in level one. 
Once the compound is dry, the finisher will check for any excess drywall mud and lightly hand sands any bumps to create an even surface.

Level Three

Level three is the application of another coat of joint compound to the previously taped and mudded areas. Level three is the repetition of level two. This step is to ensure all nails and drywall screws are entirely invisible.
Once again, when the mud has dried, the finisher will check his work and sand down any visible bumps. In most cases, this is the final stage of drywall finishing. What follows after this step is a texture as a finishing layer.


Level Four

Level four is when you repeat applying joint compound to the taped joints and drywall screws. Sand down the walls once the compound has dried. To most, this is a sufficient level of smoothness to stop at, especially when finishing ceilings that are texture-free as any slight imperfections are hard to catch on the ceilings. 

Level Five

Level five is the application of a thin layer of skim coat on the entire wall. There are no tool marks, dents, or scratches left behind. Once the skim coat is dry, walls are sanded down to get rid of any final imperfections. Level five drywall is a unique finish where walls are left ultra-smooth and free of any defects. A level five drywall is an elegant finish, predominantly used in modern homes with great white walls that showcase beautiful artwork. Or perhaps on walls where the driving focus is on whatever is displayed on the wall rather than the wall’s texture.  
When this step is completed and all other levels have come and gone, you will have elegant drywall that complements your home in the most uncomplicated and straightforward way possible. If your end goal is smooth perfect walls, completing the final level is a critical task to accomplish.


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