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Drywall Finish Levels Explained

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By Author: Smith Plastering
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The finished appearance of a drywall wall or ceiling is largely reliant upon the quality of the framing job and the care handled in applying the drywall panels. The better the framing and cladding, the easier it is to have an almost perfect wall. Once that is done, the last remaining challenge is to finish the joints to meet the appearance that you expected.

Let’s discuss the different drywall finishing levels. These levels are intended to provide an industry standard for drywall finishing and to present an excellent Naples drywall exterior.


Level 0

Level 0 entails that no finishing of any type has been done. At this level, drywall is simply secured to the walls or ceiling. This type of finishing is used in temporary construction or wherever the final decoration has not been determined. No taping, finishing or corner beads are required. Also could be used where non-pre decorated panels will be used in demountable-type partitions which are to be painted as a final finish


Level 1
This level means that drywall joint tape has been embedded in the joint compound, but nothing further ...
... has been done. This is frequently used in plenum areas above ceilings, in attics, in areas where the assembly would generally be hidden or in building service corridors and other areas not normally open to public view.

There are certain degrees of sound and smoke control provided. In fact, in some geographic areas, this level is referred to as “fire-taping,” although this level of finish does not typically meet fire-resistant assembly requirements. Where a fire resistance rating is required for the gypsum board assembly, the details of the construction should be in accordance with reports of fire tests of assemblies that have met the requirements of the fire rating enforced.

Level 2
Level 2 means that you have skimmed a thin coat of joint compound over the tape and covered the drywall screw holes. You can stop at this level if you intend to cover the wall surface with tile or wood. If you don't plan to cover this part, then it shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife or trowel, leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles.

Level 3
Level 3 is where finishers apply a coat of joint compound to the tape and screws. Walls that will receive a heavy texture, such as knockdown texture, can be finished at this level. It would be useless to progress beyond this level since texturing will produce a finish that is rougher than level 3.

Level 3 should not be used where smooth painted surfaces or where lighter weight wallcoverings are stated. The prepared surface shall be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of final finishes and touches.

Level 4
This is the classic stucco and drywall finish. Here, you apply another coat of joint compound to the tape and screws and sand the dried compound. This is the level that typically is used when a wall surface will be painted or covered with wallpaper.

Level 5: This highest possible level of drywall finishing involves applying a skim coat, if applicable. Level 5 finish is required where gloss, semi gloss or enamel are specified or when flat joints are specified over an untextured surface. This is also where critical lighting conditions occur.

About Smith Plastering

Smith Plastering has a team of drywall experts in Naples looking to create a masterpiece for you. We can take Naples drywall projects of any size. Our reputation was built on superior quality and exceptional customer service.

If you are looking for a drywall company in Naples or in Collier and Lee counties, Smith Plastering is the right company for you! We provide help for builders to finish the job on time and with satisfaction guaranteed. Call us at 239-594-7537 today for a FREE quote on your upcoming project.

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