When sanding drywall compound, a fine dust is released that seeps to the farthest reaches of your house. One day you are sanding drywall in your kitchen (even with dust barriers up), and the next day you're finding drywall dust in your bedroom--far at the other end of the house.
Drywall dust is difficult to manage. You cannot collect it dry because it cannot be swept up. You cannot wet-clean it because water hardens it. Short of using expensive low-dust compound, the best thing to do is reduce drywall dust before it starts. One way to do this is with a dust collection vacuum sander, such as the one produced by Hyde.
What It Is
The Hyde Dust-Free Drywall Vacuum Hand Sander is inexpensive and simple: a six-foot hose with one end attached to a perforated sanding head.
Put a mesh sanding screen overhead, connect the other end to a wet-dry vacuum, and begin sanding. As you move the sander head, dry compound is abraded and turned to dust, which in turn is sucked into the head and through the hose.
Dust Reduction, Not Elimination
The Hyde Dust-Free Drywall Vacuum Hand Sander sucks away the majority of the dust, but some still escapes. This is not a design flaw so much as it is the nature of sanding and dust. No kind of dust containment system works perfectly. Consider this a low-dust but not a no-dust system.
Instead of wire spring clamps that hand sanders employ, the Hyde has screw-on cams that hold the ends of the mesh sheets firmly in place.
Most of the drywall dust is collected by the Hyde system, but approximately five percent of it will escape.
Pros and Cons
While the idea of sanding drywall with dust-free abandon may sound good, it is a bit more complicated than that. To achieve a low-dust sanding session, you will need to pay the price in terms of difficult, strenuous movements.
- Dust Contained: If you have adjusted your mind to the prospect of always being covered in drywall dust when you sand, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that this does not have to be the case. This system actually does collect dust.
- Perfect for Small Jobs: When you are sanding an entire house or even an entire room, you can surrender to the dust. But when the job is small, you do not want to coat an entire room in dust or erect a complicated dust barrier just to sand a corner or around a light switch. This system is practically made for these types of small jobs that need to work around your life.
- Difficult to Move: Consider that the wet/dry vac creates enough suction that you can even leave the Hyde's sanding head stuck on the wall. This is a testament to how much suction is created--and is needed--to pull away dust. But it is also a testament to the friction created by this device as you try to move it along the wall. It is a paradox that is difficult to reconcile. When you have enough suction to take away all the dust, you cannot move the sander head. When if you were to step down the vacuum power, you would not have enough vacuum to move dust away. Moving the Hyde across a vertical surface is a feeling akin to sanding a horizontal surface such as a table, floor, or countertop, but with a two-pound weight attached to the top of the sander.
- Movements Not Smooth: Not only does it make it harder to move the sander, but your movements are sometimes halting and stuttering. When sanding long drywall seams (between individual boards), you can only sand length-wise. Sanding width-wide (across the short section of compound) tends to flip the sanding head over.
Because it is so difficult to move the sander head, you will not want to sand an entire room with this kit. The Hyde Dust-Free Drywall Vacuum Hand Sander is great for a corner or for a few seams, but not much more.
Also, keep in mind that you will need to use a special collection bag and filter designed for drywall use. If you use a general purpose bag, dust will escape.