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Install Drywall on Vault Ceilings

Where the ceiling is pitched, install the sheets as you normally would with one exception. Load the wallboard onto a drywall lift that is tiltable. The steeper the pitch, the more the situation will call for and rely on cradle hooks for edge-on support and to avoid slippage when the sheet is being hoisted and held steady.

The Drywall Lift
Hoisting Ceiling Drywall
A wider base will stabilize the taller carries. This is critically important for safety reasons.

Fasten the sheets with nails or by driving screws as you would for a flat ceiling. Although this will entail driving screws from second-person access, as from a ladder, scaffold or electric lift.

The hoist works well amazingly well for vault ceilings and also standard flat ceilings. Certain models can deliver to ceilings to 11' and taller, take sheets up to 16' , and, with the tilting craddle, deliver onto sloped wall applications. But barrel vaults and arches are lifted in a straight-on manner, since the lift platform does not accomodate these curvatures.

For ceilings with curvature, such as a barrel vault, install flex sheets, which are thinner sheets of drywall, that bend with the curve and flow with the arc -- making sure that any differences in thickness align flush. For cathedral ceilings the steepness of pitch will in-part determine the method of getting the drywall up there. The total height too, will contribute to the method of mobilizing the wallboard into position.

The tallest ceilings will require the auto lift, say ceiling heights in excess of the 19' range at their lowest point. Though using these lifts will mean offsetting their significant operating costs, even with the lift for the installer likely to be procured from a local rental outlet given the prospect of their new price tags and storage requirements. Clearly though the automatic lift does provide the greatest production capabilites. This however assumes many sheet applications, higher ascent, or otherwise difficult means of access. At reduced elevations and lesser square footages to be covered, the manual tripod lift suits most applications. Addressing the tradeoff is best done on a case-by-case basis.

Access is requried for finishing alike so the sharing of scaffold, whether rolling, static, or what you have might prove mutually worthwhile.

Arch Ceiling
Barrel Vault Ceiling
Lifting Drywall on a Cathedral Ceiling

For ceilings supported by large trusses -- many homes experience 'truss uplift' - basically, the movement between the high and low chords of the truss. This is caused by a change in the moisture content of the framing truss. Effectively, pulling or temporarily bowing the bottom chords upward, which brings on ceiling cracking.

A pre-treatment for this is to cause a float in the wall by nailing higher from the corner (where the ceiling meets the wall) than you normally would and/or attach drywall clips on the inner/partition walls. Relieving a portion of the stress, or deflection in these joint areas.

See Also
Finishing Tips Drywall Ceiling Repair Sanding Tips

Taping, Mudding and Ceiling Texture Topics


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