Drywall Finish Levels

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  • In Architecture and Construction Drywall is Classified on a Scale from 1-5 Based on what Finishing Steps are Taken
  • Useful for design planning, but also when subcontractors as there is a standard to be done, and thus no "who done it" between Painters and Drywallers if they are different companies


  • 1.) Seems there may be disagreement on the exact levels?
    • Need to see if there is an official standard written somewhere, or if the slight variation is acceptable in typical literature (and just...contractors talking lol)
  • 2.) Code Requirements/Definitions
  • 3.) Industry Standards / Customer Preference / Value vs Labor Spent (This also ties into ergonomics/Manufacturing Engineering of it all planning)
  • 4.) How they play into Architecture
    • Supposedly Level 5 is only required in very bright areas/areas with "harsh lighting"
      • Also certain paints; Drywall Shorty's Video Mentioned use for High Gloss Paints to prevent "Flashing"
      • Early Morning Sun and Sunset Light
    • Then derive a sort of protocol (or maybe even Plugin for MSH3D / Blender !) for choosing when to use what
      • This ties into Architectural Lighting Simulation (Heard about this on a jobsite recently, you use the file to say where the lights will be and what model they are etc, it does the simulation and shows a "heat map" of sorts. Allows for not just aesthetic planning without Trial and Error but also prevents Overlighting )


Level 0

  • No Steps Taken

Level 1

  • Drywall Tape Is Applied to the Joints Between Sections of Drywall
  • Joint Compound is applied only over the tape and Drywall Screw Tops (Also it does not need to be done cleanly (if higher levels are not being done afterwards) as it's main goal is attaching the tape and making a seal, not aesthetics)
  • It is sometimes caused "Firetaping" as it is Required for Building Code in some areas (Grabbing a Citation + What Local Areas Require, if it isn't a nationwide thing, is a good idea for here), even if the people paying for the work may have wanted a Level 0

Level 2

Level 3

  • A Second Coat (And more "Proper" looking ie not Translucent) is Applied Above a Level 2 Finish

Level 4

  • A Third Coat is Applied and Drywall Sanding
  • This can also be thought of as the second "proper" one, akin to only 2 layers of paint...which are over one layer of primer

Level 5

Internal Links

  • Drywall
  • Surface Prep
  • Drywall Installation Process
  • Surfacer
    • An Alternative to a Proper Level 5 Finish, Similar Purpose but more Paint-Like, Vancouver Carpenter Mentioned it (as well as anecdotal evidence of it messing the drywall up, need to dig into this
    • Also (outside of potentially cost) using the same Drywall Mud reduces products needed which can be of use

External Links