Trowel Talk: The Ultimate Guide to Selecting, Using, and Maintaining Your Drywall Trowel

Uncover the secrets to mastering drywall trowel with our ultimate guide on selecting, using, and maintaining them effectively.

When it comes to drywall installation and finishing, one of the essential tools in a tradesperson’s arsenal is the drywall trowel. This versatile tool allows for the smooth application of joint compound, creating seamless and professional-looking finishes on walls and ceilings. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about selecting, using, and maintaining your drywall trowel for optimal results.

Types of Drywall Trowels

There are several types of drywall trowels available, each designed for specific purposes:

Flat trowel: The flat trowel is the most commonly used type and is ideal for spreading joint compound over large surface areas quickly and efficiently.

Corner trowel: The corner trowel features a unique shape that allows for easy application of joint compound in tight corners and along edges, ensuring a clean and precise finish.

Notched trowel: This trowel has a notched edge that is used for creating textured finishes on drywall surfaces, adding depth and visual interest to walls and ceilings.

Inside corner trowel: The inside corner trowel is specially designed to finish inside corners smoothly, without leaving behind any bumps or ridges that can detract from the overall appearance of the wall.

Choosing the Right Drywall Trowel

When selecting a drywall trowel, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure you choose the right tool for the job:

Size: The size of the trowel should match the scale of the project. Larger trowels are suitable for big areas, while smaller trowels are better for detailed work.

Material: Drywall trowels are typically made from stainless steel or carbon steel. Stainless steel trowels are durable and resistant to corrosion, while carbon steel trowels are more affordable but may require more maintenance.

Handle: Choose a trowel with a comfortable and ergonomically designed handle to reduce hand fatigue during extended use.

Proper Techniques for Using a Drywall Trowel

Mastering the proper techniques for using a drywall trowel is essential for achieving professional results:

Preparing the joint compound: Ensure the joint compound is mixed to the right consistency for smooth application. It should be thick enough to stay on the trowel but thin enough to spread easily.

Applying joint compound: Use the trowel to apply thin, even coats of joint compound to the surface. Work in small sections to maintain control and achieve a consistent finish.

Angle and pressure: Hold the trowel at the correct angle and apply gentle pressure to achieve a smooth and even finish. Avoid pressing too hard, as this can create ridges or uneven textures.

Maintenance and Storage Tips

Proper maintenance and storage of your drywall trowel can extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance:

Clean after use: After each use, thoroughly clean the trowel to remove any dried joint compound. Use a putty knife or scraper to scrape off any residue before rinsing the trowel with water.

Storage: Store the drywall trowel in a dry area to prevent rusting. Hanging the trowel on a hook or pegboard can help maintain its shape and prevent damage during storage.

Replacement: If the trowel blade becomes worn or damaged, it’s essential to replace it promptly. A dull or damaged blade can affect the quality of the finish and make troweling more challenging.


Mastering the art of using a drywall trowel is key to achieving professional-quality finishes on your drywall projects. By selecting the right trowel, practicing proper techniques, and maintaining your tool, you can ensure consistent and flawless results every time. Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or a DIY enthusiast, taking the time to perfect your troweling skills will elevate the quality of your work and leave you with stunning, smooth walls and ceilings.

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