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Old 07-11-2018, 01:56 PM   #1
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Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Hey everybody! I'm new here, and I have a question...

I've recently removed paneling from the walls of my kids' playroom, and I've come to find that the drywall was hung backwards by the previous owner. I've already replaced some damaged sections, and in other areas, for various reasons, I put up new sections of drywall over existing sheetrock... But I put up those pieces with the correct side facing out.

I've already taped the seams and started filling in the nail holes around the entire room (seams were previously not taped under the paneling), and now I'm ready to do the remaining coats of joint compound... But now I'm having second thoughts.

I've looked up how to deal with backwards drywall, and the answers typically suggest priming with an oil based primer and skim coating the backwards pieces. So before I get too far ahead, I'm wondering if it's easier to just tear down the backwards drywall and replace with new, or skim coat the pieces that are backwards?

Furthermore, should I have already primed before taping the seams?

I'm just not sure which route would be the best? Would the skim coat route be okay, or will I eventually find myself wishing I had or needing to replace the drywall later on down the road? It kind of sounds like a bandaid solution, and a difficult bandaid at that... One that might come off easily. Or am I wrong, and that's a perfectly viable solution?

Thanks!
-Pete
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:09 PM   #2
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


At this point, I would just finish what you started. What was wrong with the paneling? It's maintenance free.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Odd pieces of drywall get hung backwards every day. Usually it isn't an issue. The main things is the backside often doesn't have as nice a finish [skim coating fixes that] and sometimes there is ink or whatever that needs to be sealed with a good primer. If it's something that will bleed thru latex primer you'd need to use oil base primer.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:44 PM   #4
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


You don't have to do either. The only reason there is a front side is because that side has the compressed ends for taping. Treat as if it wasn't backwards, it's the same paper front and back. Don't make it harder than it has to be.

Last edited by rolcards; 07-11-2018 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:37 AM   #5
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rolcards View Post
You don't have to do either. The only reason there is a front side is because that side has the compressed ends for taping. Treat as if it wasn't backwards, it's the same paper front and back. Don't make it harder than it has to be.

Agreed ^^^ ... Just be aware the factory "tapers" are not on the back side of the drywall. They are in built in to the drywall so the tape/mud butt joints will be flatter.

And with the drywall being installed backwards and not being tapered down at the butt joints, the tape and mud will have a tendency to leave "humps" in the taped/mud joint, as it has no recess to go down in.

Which means the butt joints will just have to be "feathered" out more away from the joint, to reduce the visibility of the "humps". Just a bit more work and more joint compound needed to do, no big deal..
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:31 AM   #6
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Not apposed to skimming as others have suggested, but another option would be to lay over with 1/4" or 3/8 drywall.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Quote:
it's the same paper front and back.

I disagree. The paper on the backside isn't as nice and I have run into times [rare] where there was ink stamps that would bleed thru latex primer. But as the others have said - it usually isn't an issue.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:44 PM   #8
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rolcards View Post
You don't have to do either. The only reason there is a front side is because that side has the compressed ends for taping. Treat as if it wasn't backwards, it's the same paper front and back. Don't make it harder than it has to be.

The paper on the exposed ( face side ) side is a smooth-finish paper and on the back side the paper is a natural finish paper. Also some have a special face paper based on it's design use.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


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Originally Posted by mark sr View Post
I disagree. The paper on the backside isn't as nice and I have run into times [rare] where there was ink stamps that would bleed thru latex primer. But as the others have said - it usually isn't an issue.
True the paper is a little different but as long as the mud sticks. I've only run into a couple cases where drywall was backward. If I do again and the printing is there I will remember what you said and put a skim or kilz over it, then again like a friend likes to say, texture covers a lot of sins.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:30 PM   #10
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


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Originally Posted by ClarenceBauer View Post
The paper on the exposed ( face side ) side is a smooth-finish paper and on the back side the paper is a natural finish paper. Also some have a special face paper based on it's design use.
Actually I'm looking at a piece of drywall right now, paper on the front is bleached white, paper on the back isn't, both have the exact same smoothness, maybe you are buying some of the "special" drywall you refer to. Since the poster didn't mention using a special drywall my answer reflects typical drywall. Either way, are you saying my answer is wrong?
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:20 PM   #11
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rolcards View Post
Actually I'm looking at a piece of drywall right now, paper on the front is bleached white, paper on the back isn't, both have the exact same smoothness, maybe you are buying some of the "special" drywall you refer to. Since the poster didn't mention using a special drywall my answer reflects typical drywall. Either way, are you saying my answer is wrong?
Please reference USG Handbook Centennial Edition Page # 2 Gypsum Panel Products it will provide you the information you need. I do under stand this is in reference to USG products. But about 30 years ago I was at the Gold Bond Plant in Willington, NC gypsum Plant where Drywall was in production & the Back Paper was different than the face paper. Maybe the USG handbook is incorrect or the manufacturing process has changed.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:37 PM   #12
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceBauer View Post
Please reference USG Handbook Centennial Edition Page # 2 Gypsum Panel Products it will provide you the information you need. I do under stand this is in reference to USG products. But about 30 years ago I was at the Gold Bond Plant in Willington, NC gypsum Plant where Drywall was in production & the Back Paper was different than the face paper. Maybe the USG handbook is incorrect or the manufacturing process has changed.
lol. No, I know when I'm beat, I have doubt you are right.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:47 AM   #13
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


If you were worried about bleed through from riding ink, go to HD or Lowe's and buy a product called BIN primer. That will seal literally anything in the world.

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Old 07-13-2018, 10:47 AM   #14
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


And I've been a drywall contractor for 30 years now. Just skim over the backside, and don't worry about it.

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Old 07-13-2018, 11:15 AM   #15
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Re: Replace or Skim Coat Backwards Drywall?


Going back a few years I was instructed by the USG rep. to use regular drywall when Rock Lath was not in production to use that the drywall installed backwards had a better holding power than the finish side for plaster.
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