Drywall Installation Tips

A DIY drywall project is not as bad as you might think. If you have never experienced the joys of hanging drywall, you're not alone. Most people have done a patch job or two but a full blown installation is only likely to happen during initial home construction or during a fairly intensive remodel. This article will provide you with some drywall installation tips that will make the job easier and save you some time and effort.

Tools You Will Need

    – Drywall hammer and nails
    or
    – Screwgun or drill with #2 screw bit and drywall screws
    – 4' level
    Chalkline
    – Drywall saw
    – Utility knife

Moving Drywall

Moving drywall around can be a chore. It's not so much that it's heavy, but it's awkward. The trick is using its weight and bulk to your advantage. Did you ever take judo lessons? It is pretty much the same concept. When you move it you can swing it and let natural momentum help you. This will take some practice but you will get a feel for it.

Cutting Sheetrock

To cut sheetrock you first need the measurement. For a straight measurement you can pull out your tape measure to the correct number of inches, holding the body of the tape measure on the edge of the sheet, hold a pencil on the tab with your other hand, and run both hands along the sheet, drawing the line.

For angled cuts, use the chalk line

Always score the paper with the utility knife on the finish side of the sheet. Then snap the sheet in a quick motion, reach around and cut the paper on the non-finish side. For perpendicular cuts, use the sheetrock saw in one direction and then snap the other.

Hang the Lids

One person can hang the walls but the ceilings (known as lids) are much easier with two people. There are devices on the market that allow one person to do it but that still won't give you another pair of eyes.

Start in a corner and work outward, making sure that the seam splits on the center of a ceiling joist. When you get to the other side of the room, you may find that the measurements do not call for a straight cut. This can happen if the room is out of square. Use your chalkline for this.

Starting on a Wall

A corner is the logical place to start. Typically, in residential work the sheets are laid down rather than stood up. Look very carefully for any electrical outlets and cut the sheetrock to accommodate them.

Use a bit of scrap on the floor to shore the sheet up. Once you get the sheet in place lay your 4' level on the edge, adjust it, and nail the high end.

If you are using screws use this pattern: on each stud use one screw 1” from the top, another 1” from the bottom, and three more evenly spaced in the field. For nails, do the same for top and bottom but for each nail in the field, add one more 1” from it. The second nail is called the “helper” nail. When you set the nail, dimple the paper but do not break it.

On all subsequent courses of sheet, stagger the joints on different studs. This gives the wall its strength.

At doorways, never have a joint on the header straight up from either side of the rough opening. Eventually the tape will break.

These drywall installation tips will help you have a professional drywall job. Take your time and keep an eye on details. It will pay off later.

See Also: How to Finish Drywall