Step 4: Apply one or two more layers
Photo 6: Change directions for the second coat
Trowel the second coat horizontally. If you still see indentations or imperfections after the second coat dries, trowel on a third coat.
It sounds like a lot of work to apply two or three coats of joint compound, but the process is quick and the thin layers dry fast. As you know, the smoother you get the wall, the less sanding you’ll get stuck with. Trowel off each successive layer at a right angle to the previous one. After the last coat dries, pole-sand the wall with 120-grit paper. If you have too many peaks and valleys, hit the walls with 100-grit first.
Tip: Give this squeegee-like taping knife a shot for smoothing out tape joints next time you tape. It tapers the edges and you’ll have no trowel or taping knife marks.