Drywall Installation Methods

Drywall remains an extremely popular wall surface for its durability, versatility and inexpensive price range. Drywall installation methods include good planning so that no mistakes are made during the process. Many installers will make s sketch of the areas that will be covered with drywall so that any planning errors can be detected ahead of time. All drywall installation methods require that an assessment be made of what type of drywall will be needed.

In places where moisture may be a problem, a water-resistant drywall should be used. This type of drywall is usually made water-resistant by a covering of green finish paper.

There may be building codes that require a certain type of drywall, such as a fire-rated type. If an insulating vapor barrier is needed, a special wallboard with foil backing should be used. Most drywall installation methods will be the same for installing different types of drywall.

Installing the Drywall

Once a suitable drywall has been chosen, it should be cut to fit the wall. Lay the drywall down with the finished side facing up and then mark where the cut will be made. Marking the entire length of the cut can ensure a straight cut.

Drywall installation methods require that a ¼ inch gap be left at the floor level. This will prevent any moisture from the floor from damaging the drywall. When making the cut, cut gently into the paper and only slightly into the gypsum. Lift the piece and apply pressure to the other side of the cut. Gently make the cut at the fold, being careful not to rip the paper, and the two pieces will be separated.

Make sure that there are studs that run the length of the joints. If there are not, wood studs will have to be installed. Place a small wood shim on the floor to space the drywall slightly from the floor. Most drywall installation methods can be assisted by making a mark on the floor to remember where the studs are, as their placement may be forgotten once covered with the drywall pieces.

Modern drywall installation methods call for drywall screws to attach the pieces, and not nails. Nails can come loose, but screws will not. The screws should be placed 16 inches apart or closer for walls and 12 inches apart or closer for ceilings. Set the screws gently so that the paper is not ruptured.

If the paper is accidentally ruptured, placing an additional screw close to the rupture site will make the area more secure. Once the screws have all been placed, running a putty knife over the surface can guide you as to where screws may need to be tightened. The edge of the knife should not be able to hit any screws.

Taping and Mudding

Using a 6 inch taping knife, apply a light coat of joint compound at the seams. More compound can be used on wide seams. While the joint compound is still wet, apply tape over it. Mesh drywall tape is a good choice, as it will not wrinkle or bubble, but some drywall installation methods will work best with paper tape. The drywall seam should be centered directly under the tape. More joint compound should then be applied over the tape with the 6" knife.

Once all seams have been finished, mud can be applied to the screw dimples. Smooth the mud over the screws making it as flat and even as possible. Let the joint compound and mud dry over night and then apply more joint compound until the tape is completely hidden.

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