Need some tips for running your flat box on walls? Look no further. Read on or watch the video below and you'll be running your flat box like a pro in no time.
In our previous 'How To Use a Drywall Flat Box' posts, we've covered the basics of what a flat box is and how they work, how to set up your flat box and how to prep your mud. Now, let's get you up to speed on how to run your flat box on walls to achieve fast and professional results.
When pumping a drywall flat box, make sure to move it side to side to ensure you get a nice even fill. This will help with mud distribution as you're running your box along the surface. When carrying your flat box, make sure to carry it right under the head of the box itself where the handle meets the flat box. You don't want to carry it by the brake because it's really top-heavy which creates unnecessary wear and tear on the break's mechanisms.
If you're familiar with Drywall Nation you'll have noticed they use Butt Boards on all their jobs. That's why their butt joints aren't staggered; they use recessed floating joints to help with structural integrity.
When finishing vertical seams, it's generally best to begin by running your flat box from the bottom-up. It's easier to pull your box off when coming from the top-down. This will leave a nice, small lap mark that's easily smoothed out and concealed.
Often you will notice small bubbles and indentations after your first flat box run. This is why it's always advised to run your flat box twice over all seams (usually referred to as "chasing" or "tracing"). Running your finishing box a second time along the seam should eliminate most of those imperfections and leave a nice, smooth finish.
When running your box top to bottom, a little trick when using LEVEL5 drywall flat boxes is to align the nut seen in the center of the box with the seam; this will help ensure your box is centered along the tape that you're coating.
Begin at the butt joint and run your drywall flat box along the wall. Finish off the seam and then go over it again to remove imperfections left in the mud from your first run. Pull your brake and lift your box off to leave a lap mark right against and into the butt joint.
Remember to apply your flat box break right before you pull the box off the wall for the best results (ideally when you reach a butt joint, corner or window). Ending your run in the middle of a wall will often result in an unnecessary lap mark which means more work later.
When working around plugs, make sure not to run right through/over a plug with your flat box - it doesn't look good and, more importantly, it's inconsiderate for the electrician. Instead, start on either edge of plug and run your flat box in either direction, using the plug as your starting point. Then, run your box again from the opposite direction towards the plug, apply your break right as you get to the plug and lift your flat box off. The goal is to leave a lap mark right in the middle of the plug hole (but not to cover or get mud into the plug itself!).
If you've been using your flat box for a while, it's not uncommon for small pieces of paper or debris to get caught in the blades. If not removed, you'll start to notice grooves, lines or imperfections in your joint compound. This is even more of a problem once the compound on your box starts to dry up.
To keep things clean, you can periodically use a sponge or a cheap brush to remove pieces of debris from your drywall flat box blades. A cheap dollar store brush will do the trick. Don't forget to also give the sides of your box a quick brush to remove any dried up pieces of mud.