What Is Level 5 Drywall?
Drywall is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 in its finishing levels – or the level of preparedness for paint and other decorative coatings. Level 5 drywall is one of the last and most complicated levels of finish. These levels were developed by the Gypsum Association in order to standardize how walls are assembled and sealed during the building process.
To understand how to get a level 5 finish, you need to know the steps that come before it. Level 0 finish means that no finishing has been done and the drywall has just been hung up. It is merely attached to the foundation or infrastructure. A level 1 finish is the most basic level of finish, where the joint compound has been added to the gypsum board. The numbers continue to increase through level 2, level 3, and level 4, with each ranking getting more treatment and with the drywall tape and screws getting embedded in the joint compound. Finally, the drywall is ready for level 5.
Level 5 drywall has a high-quality skim coat over it. This thin coat covers the nails, tape, compound, and wall materials from the naked eye, creating a pleasing, completed look. The thin skim coat can help homeowners hide mistakes from previous levels, but it can also create new mistakes that need to be fixed or covered.
This is a basic explanation of level 5 drywall. You can learn more about the finishing process, including the materials you need and the level of complexity for DIY homeowners, in our drywall finishing guide.
Level 5 Drywall Explained
Different rooms require different levels of finishing, which means you might not need to apply a thin coat to reach level 5 in certain rooms. Any wall that will be hidden from view (like a kitchen that has cabinets) does not need level 5 finishing. Similarly, if you are building a garage, shed, warehouse, or other space that doesn’t need to look nice, you may be able to stop the finishing process after level 3 or level 4.
The skim coat used in level 5 drywall primer is often applied with a roller or as a spray. This primer will prepare the wall for additional painting and design elements – like a spray texture commonly used on walls and ceilings.
At CertainTeed, we have developed a level 5 wall and ceiling primer and surfacer as part of our M2Tech® product line. This is added with a production spray application and also provides mold resistance. Not only does it make the walls look nicer, but it adds extra protective elements to your home. The spray option means you can bring your drywall from a level 4 to a level 5 without applying the skim coat by hand.
Before you start to hang drywall, develop a plan to achieve the level of finish you need. Assemble the right materials for the job and make sure you have the experience or professional contractors to do the job well. Learn more about the drywall types offered by CertainTeed so you can choose the best options for your construction plan.
Explore More Drywall Types