Bob pretty much covered it. For any large job (20+sheets), paper tape is best and ready mix mud. Much easier. Add water sparingly until you get a consistency to the mud YOU are comfortable working with. I add soap, maybe a couple of tablespoons worth, to a 5 gal. bucket. Not necessary for a DIY'er especially if this is you haven't done much finishing. As Bob said, if you use mesh tape a setting type compound should be used for at least the first coat. (Second coat won't hurt.) Main thing to keep in mind is less mud is better. Several thin coats are better than trying to cover in one coat. (Won't work anyway.) The mud is "semi transparent" when it's wet (you can see the tape through it in places). The natural tendency is to build up the mud so you can't see the tape. Actually after the mud dries, even a "thin" coat, it's white (opaque) and the tape can't be seen. Even if you see some spots of tape after sanding due to irregularities in the wall, tape is a paintable surface. Take your time.
I think Bob meant pre-fill any large gaps 1/4" or larger. Use setting type compound.
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Last edited by bjbatlanta; 02-13-2009 at 07:24 PM.