How to Install Drywall Basics

The material of choice, for nearly all surfaces is drywall. Benefits are its economical application, durabilty, ease of repair and insulating properties. Getting down the rudiments of hanging it will help smooth your efforts. For specifics on marking, measuring, cutting and fastening our drywall install guide explains these.

1) First, only after knowing that the wall and ceiling cavities are ready to be closed up, along with any needed vapor barriers in place, you will want to inspect the surfaces to be drywalled. For new installs this will mean not only viewing the studs being attached to, but taking looks across the collective framing of the walls and ceilings to make certain there is a level surface. One method to check is to string a line to reveal high and low spots. Level out any inconsistencies, in the form of rises and shallows, by tacking on furring strips or drywall shims for the less obvious cases.

Flush Outset Install of Drywall Ensure that all electrical boxes, and can lighting, have a proper outset as do all windows and doors; everything that should receive the wallboard flush with the outer jamb section. Typically the outset is near the same thickness as the drywall at 1/2".

Remove any debris and obstructions, on the framing, that would cause paper buldges and cracking, compromising the integrity of the finished drywall surface. Also, take precautions when making the cuts around the boxes. Find the perimeter, and don't force the board too tight on the wall too soon. Any miscuts and bulges are not doubt harder to fix than making the initial cut. This common bursting leads to removal and patching, so it is best to avoid beforehand.

Correct Drywall Cut, Electrical Box
Incorrect Cut

2) Add framing where needed around ductwork and the like. Making a mental note of the framing dimensions around ducts, for proper screw depth later on.

If needed, place backing to install drywall at corners to serve as bracing. A remedy is to attach another stud or scab onto the existing. Be prepared since this is not all that uncommon at the corners of new framing.

3) Coordinate the drywall thickness needed. Normally this is 1/2 inch but applications may require 1/4, 3/8, or 5/8 thick drywall.

Treat any curved areas seperate that may exist such as arched ceilings. These will require flex panels. Measure the square footage necessary for adequate coverage.

4) Calculate the square footage needed in terms of the sheet length's available for the drywall layout. Account for approximately 10 to 15% waste depending on your skills. Figure for areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms that may require moisture resistant drywall as needed.

Account too for the type(s) of drywall needed for your application. In addition to standard sheets of drywall, fire resistant drywall might be mandatory by local firecodes in areas prone to fire, and these sheets are formulated to contain fires.

For special sound deadening requirements, the wall might be baffled -- where a system of layered drywall could be installed over specialized insulation like USG thermafiber that has been inserted into the wall cavity, before completing.

5) Gather the materials for the hanging that are needed. Including the stacked sheets of drywall, stored in a flat, moisture free environment*. Allocating second story sheets with an automated carrier on delivery will cut down significantly on carry time and effort.
* drywall will curve when let to set upright, even overnight.
Attachments - screws are preferred over nails. And coarse thread screws are more likely to hold in most circumstances. For 3/8 board, a 1" screw is recommended, for 1/2 wallboard, a minimum 1 1/8" is used and for 5/8" drywall a 1 3/8" screw at the least.
Mount Sheet Ends Halfway Across Studs
Apply adhesives to either (a) strengthen the wall surface, (b) to help bind sheets of drywall together or (c) for attaching drywall to non-wood surfaces, like metal/ masonry, or d) to help reduce the number of screws being set overall.

Tape - decide on either paper tape, with a center crease, or fiberglass mesh tape, which adheres to the wall surface. Generally paper tape is recommended for installations unless you have experience.

Corner Bead - measure off the inside and outside corners, to receive either metal corners or pre-taped

6) Assemble the hand tools you will need.
For marking; a tape measure, a carpenters pencil, T-square.

For cutting; a drywall saw, utility knife, a power cutout tool - power cutters reduce time spent cutting around electrical boxes and fixtures, and a circle cutter.

For shaping; a hand rasp, run this over the edge surface to smooth or enable the fitting of pieces.

For fastening; a drywall hammer or a drywall screw gun.
7) For begin placing the drywall sheets: plan your method of access beforehand, taking into consideration the highest places in the room.

Drywall Installs on Ceiling - Horizontal Requirements

Working from a rolling scaffold lets you stand from a platform and roll as you go -- an oft-used technique, often left on the site by other trades -- yet there is still the problem of transporting the boards up to that level. Handling the sheets on ladders is common, though strenuous and a saftey concern. The drywall lift is a best proven method. Even the wall lift for reduced sections is a huge time and exertion saver.

Walking from stilts make getting around easier, although they are definitely for the experienced. They can be hazardous and there may be legal requirements for their usage.

Another option is the step bench - typically aluminum made specifically for drywall application is a good idea.

Taping, Mudding and Texture Topics

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