Levels Of Finish

To better understand the various levels of finish for gypsum wallboard, lets look at each level separately.

Level Of Finish 0
No taping, finishing, or accessories required. This level may be useful in temporary construction or whenever the final decoration has not been determined.

Level Of Finish 1
All joints and interior angles shall have tape set in joint compound. Surface shall be free of excess joint compound. Tool marks and ridges are acceptable.

Level Of Finish 2
All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with a coat of joint compound. Surface shall be free of excess joint compound. Tool marks and ridges are acceptable. Joint compound applied over the body of the tape at the time of tape embedment shall be considered a separate coat of joint compound and shall satisfy the conditions of this level of finish.

Level Of Finish 3
All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. One additional coat of joint compound shall be applied over all joints and interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with two separate coats of joint compound. All joint compound shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges. Note:It is recommended that the prepared surface be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of final finishes.

Level Of Finish 4
All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. Two separate coats of joint compound shall be applied over all flat joints and one separate coat of joint compound shall be applied over interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with three separate coats of joint compound. All joint compound shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges. Note: It is recommended that the prepared surface be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of final finishes.

Level Of Finish 5
All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. Two separate coats of joint compound shall be applied over all flat joints and one separate coat of joint compound shall be applied over interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with three separate coats of joint compound. A thin skim coat of joint compound trowel applied, or a material manufactured especially for this purpose and applied in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, applied to the entire surface. The surface shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges. Note: It is recommended that the prepared surface be coated with a drywall primer prior to the application of finish paint. - www.gypsum.org

History Behind The "Levels of Finish" For Drywall

"In 1990, four major trade associations, the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries International (AWCI), the Ceilings and Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the Gypsum Association (GA), and the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), presented the consensus document Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The document was created to "precisely describe" the desired finish of walls and ceilings prior to final decoration. This precise description enables contractors to better understand the requirements of architects and building owners in order to enhance the satisfaction of the client. Specifications that include the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish also promote competitive bidding that allows the bidder to consider the correct labor and materials to finish the wall suitably for its final decoration." - National Gypsum Company: Levels of Gypsum Board Finish.

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