What Are Drywall Lifts

Drywall lifts are tools that assist hangers with placing drywall in high areas. Ceilings are an example of high areas that benefit from the use of drywall lifts. Trying to drywall a ceiling without one is nothing short of frustrating. Some hangers swear by drywall lifts while others insist that a delicate balancing act with drywall placed atop the head performs the job just as well.

But let's face it. If you have a large ceiling that needs to be placed ten to twelve feet into the air or higher, the "head-technique" just isn't going to cut it. Not only that but repetitive use of this technique can cause permanent damage to your neck. So let's talk a little bit about drywall lifts.

Drywall lifts are basically devices that transport drywall into the air. To use one, secure a sheet of drywall onto its cradle and raise it to the ceiling area by manually cranking it. The lift will keep the sheet secured into place while you use a ladder to reach pertinent areas and nail or screw the sheet into support beams (joists).

Working Alone and Without A Lift

Without access to drywall lifts, you might have luck with rigging up one of your own with the materials you have around you. You'll need a short ladder, a T-brace, a plank, and a box (or another short ladder). Set a plank in-between the rungs of each ladder to build a "catwalk". Use the T-brace (2 x 4s nailed together in the shape of a tall "T") to prop up one side of the drywall and move the T-brace along with you while you walk across the plank and nail the drywall into the ceiling's support beams.

The danger with this strategy, and consequently the reason why drywall lifts are preferable, is that the T-brace is prone to slip while you hammer away. This danger simply doesn't exist when using drywall lifts because T-braces aren't even part of the equation.

Another strategy is to make or purchase drywall jacks. These guys are constructed similar to the way that T-braces are made and they're used two at a time to hold up a panel of drywall while a ladder supported construction worker nails it in.

Working With Others Without A Lift

When several workers are placing drywall onto ceiling support beams, they may use something similar to what's described above rather than using drywall lifts. But instead of using a T-brace, they use a partner to hold and prop up an end of a drywall panel. In addition, they place planks on horses and walk along them while they secure the drywall onto a ceiling.

With Or Without Drywall Lifts

As you're attaching a ceiling to a ceiling's beam, either with or without drywall lifts, you'll want to nail the drywall into place (support beams) while walking backwards. This way, you can monitor your progress and ensure that you're placing those nails in a straight line.

Ceiling nails should be about seven inches apart. When nailing is complete, you can go back and reinforce the ceiling with a second set of nails placed two inches from the nails you placed earlier. This reinforcement will counteract natural gravity, which will attempt to loosen the drywall from the beams that it's attached to.

A Lot of Work

As you can see, nailing up a ceiling is no easy feat and working without drywall lifts has the potential of making it harder than what it needs to be.

See Also:

Automatic Drywall Taping Tools