Imagine the home as a work of art. The cabinetry, trim, and furnishings are the composition, and the drywall is the canvas they're arranged on. In building as in art, the quality of the canvas affects the quality of the finished piece. Think about it: If you assemble a perfectly mitered crown molding in a corner with a cracked seam and popped nails, what do you think is going to attract the customer's attention?

Good artists spend hours preparing their canvases, but even good builders sometimes neglect the details that make a great drywall finish possible. After 24 years in the drywall business, I have seen many builders who should have known better do the same dumb things over and over. Sometimes the slip-ups are outright mistakes. Other times they're...

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