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What You Need To Know About Drywall Joint Compound Dust

If you are contemplating a home renovation project that involves drywall taping then there is something that you need to be aware of and pay strict attention to.

The compound used to cover drywall joints creates a very fine and highly abrasive dust when dry and then sanded (Figure 1).

Have you ever seen a professional drywall taper using an electric sander?

If you use an electric sander to level and smooth drywall compound the dust will definitely find its way into the motor windings and bearings and you can write the tool off in a matter of minutes.

Not using power tools to sand drywall compound may seem obvious, but there are other motors in your home that can also be affected by the drywall compound dust.

Sanding drywall note the dust on the floor
Figure 1 - Sanding drywall note the dust on the floor

If you have a central forced air furnace or air conditioning system the dust will be sucked into the return air vents and although a lot of the dust will get trapped in the filter, a portion will make it through the filter to the fan motor and the bearings on any pulleys that may be within the system. Other motors or bearings that can be easily affected are located in bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.

In the case of central air conditioning systems the dust will land on the coils and be washed down into the condensation drain lines where it will solidify and eventually block the free flow of the water.

Window air conditioners will draw the dust through the exhaust portion of the unit and clog filters and damage motors and bearings.

Using a home vacuum rather than a shop vacuum to clean up the drywall compound dust will damage any of the moving parts and the motor.

If drywall compound dust lands on fine furniture or hardwood floors be extremely cautious in the methods that you use to clean up as the dust will leave scratch marks on lacquer or polyurethane finishes. The same situation applies to products made from acrylics such as bathtubs and bathtub and shower enclosures.

Last, but by no means least, you should always wear a dust mask and goggles when sanding drywall compound (Figure 2).

Always wear a dust mask and goggles when sanding drywall