You may have decided to invest in automatic drywall tools but don’t know where to start. With so many options available online, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which approach is best for you and your business. Not to mention, automatic tools are a large investment upfront which makes it all the more important you get the best value for your money. In this article, we explore how to add automation to your drywall routine.
What are automatic drywall tools?
Automatic drywall tools come in two different categories: taping and finishing. But for every step of the drywall installation process – from hanging drywall to taping joints to running mud over freshly embedded tape – there’s an automatic tool that can do it faster than hand tools while still ensuring professional quality results. These tools come at a higher price, but their greatest advantage is maximizing your profitability.
Do automatic tools replace hand tools?
Automatic drywall tools simply speed up the installation process while greatly reducing the physical effort to achieve a professional level finish. Hold onto your favorite knives, pans, trowels, and skimming blades. These will always come in handy and can be used interchangeably with automatic tools, depending on the unique requirements of each job.
What should you consider before investing in automatic drywall tools?
The answer to this question comes down to personal preference which is why many drywall finishers approach automatic tools differently. The best place to start is by identifying parts of the installation process that cost you the most time and energy. This will help you find the tools that best serve your needs, guaranteeing a smart investment.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What takes the longest time for you to do by hand?
- What are your main concerns about work fatigue and safety?
- What types of jobs do you do frequently?
- What is your current budget?
By answering these questions, you’ll have a better idea of which tools are most relevant for you and your needs. You can then begin to explore different options that fit within your budget.
If you have difficulty answering these questions, or you find yourself caught between too many answers – don’t worry! We’ve included some practical ways to add automatic drywall tools to your workflow. Find out if any of these match your current needs.
How do you add automation into your drywall routine?
Depending on whether you like to add gradually or jump in all at once, here are some practical ways to add automatic drywall tools into your routine.
Start with flat boxes and a mud pump.
Finishing is probably the most labor-intensive part of the installation process as multiple mud coats are applied over taped joints for a professional finish. When done by hand, this can be physically demanding.
Flat boxes are a great solution as they speed up this process by applying precise mud coats with feathered edges for a perfect crown. They come in 8”, 10”, and 12” depending on the type of skim coat you run, and you can even find them as small as 6”. A mud pump is a great addition as it reduces refill time and can be used with other automatic tools. You can save yourself even further strain by investing in automatic flat boxes which are flat boxes that require little to no force from the operator to apply mud to joints.
Most drywall finishers start with flat boxes as they get the most use on any jobsite and have the greatest impact on workflow. This makes them a great investment.
Level 5 Flat Box Set with Extension Handle
Ready to switch from hand finishing tools to automatic finishing tools? The LEVEL5 Flat Box Set with Extension Handle is a great, cost-effective set that makes finishing those flat joints easy and effective. Made from a corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum, this Flat Box Set is lightweight, easy to clean, and durable. This Flat Box Set includes: 10 in. Standard Flat Box 12 in. Standard Flat Box Compound…
Tackle corners and angles next.
You may find corners and angles even more time-consuming. If this is the case, investing in a compound tube and corner flusher (also known as a glazer) is a great, budget-friendly place to start. The compound tube acts like a large syringe and the corner flusher attaches to the nozzle so that as mud passes through, it’s evenly applied to corner and angle. It’s also worth mentioning that corner flushers are excellent for projects in which new drywall might be resting next to old drywall. You can use a corner flusher independently of a compound tube, but this combo is highly versatile and allows you to do more with less.
Investing in an anglehead is another great option for speeding up corner and angle finishing. What differentiates an anglehead from a corner flusher (aside from the price) is that it has carbide blades which are responsible for perfectly feathered edges and a sharp corner in the apex of the tape. This corner tool is great for new construction.
Tapepro Self Adjusting Bead Roller
The Self Adjusting Bead Roller is perfect for use on all corner beads, particularly for off angles. With a wide range of motion this roller can be used on angles from inside 90-degree to outside 90-degree and automatically adjusts to the angle required. The handle pivot is close to the body which reduces any tendency to tip and the arms are positioned so as to provide even pressure to the rollers to…
Speed up the taping process by investing in a banjo or bazooka.
Maybe you find taping to be the most tedious task and are looking to speed things up from the very beginning.
A banjo is a great, budget-friendly tool to start with as it simultaneously applies mud and tape to drywall joints. It costs anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on the model you choose, and it doesn’t require a mud pump or regular maintenance like a bazooka. This inexpensive tool is durable, compact, and ideal for small or infrequent projects.
Advance Semi-Automatic Even Flow Banjo
The Advance Semi-Automatic Even Flow Banjo features a curved belly design which eliminates skipping and/or dry spots on tape while utilizing all mud in a single run. The tension-controlled speed wheel with locking nut adjusts flow without backspin, and the thumb screw adjusts mud thickness effortlessly. This banjo holds up to 500 ft. of paper tape and carries 0.5 gallons of joint compound…
A bazooka, on the other hand, is ideal for large or more frequent projects. Though it costs more, it features a tape cutting sleeve, longer mud runs, and a reach that allows you to work without the use of stilts or scaffolding. Once you get over the initial learning curve, you’ll be taping in minutes not hours!
Tapepro SuperLite Automatic Taper
The Tapepro SuperLite Automatic Taper has been regarded as the pinnacle of taping machines with its carbon fiber technology for an ultra-lightweight, dent-proof, and temperature stable experience for the modern-day finisher. The new SuperLite taper has many new features including: Carbon fiber main tube with reinforced section for quick release head Light weight titanium side plates Carbon fiber…
Over time, most drywall finishers end up with a banjo and bazooka in their tool set as it gives them greater flexibility to tackle all kinds of projects.
Invest in an automatic taping or finishing tool set.
Of course, there are plenty of automatic taping and finishing sets available online. If you’re willing to pay the upfront cost, you can get everything you need in one convenient package and lower cost than buying individually. These sets often include regular and extension handles, adaptors, and storage cases.
Columbia Finishing Set
The Columbia Finishing Set is built for the professional drywaller to stay profitable and competitive while greatly reducing physical strain. No gimmicks, no bull, just tools you can count on to perform day-in and day-out. This set is sure to streamline your finishing process while delivering on the highest-quality results again and again. There’s a reason why the largest wall and ceiling…
As you can see, there are several ways to add automatic tools to your drywall routine. Depending on your budget and style of working, you can start with the tools that make the most sense for you.
Taking a quick assessment of your workflow by identifying the parts that cost you the most time and energy is a great way to formulate a plan. Based on this, you can explore the different options available and make the right investment for your business. For more information on this subject, be sure to check out Are Automatic Drywall Tools Worth It? We also put together The Pros and Cons of Automatic Drywall Tools infographic to help you make a well-informed decision.
Here at Wall Tools, we offer special financing on qualifying purchases, including a Pay-in-4 installment plan through PayPal. Don’t let the cost get in the way of future gains!
Want to learn more? We’re always on hand to answer any questions you have about our tools, parts, and services. Email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 1-877-925-8665. Our team is committed to providing you the information you need to find the right tool for the job.