Even for the most seasoned do-it-yourselfer, drywall installation can be a daunting process. Remodeling a single room or constructing an entire house calls for the same meticulous preparation and focus on detail. These are seven tricks of the trade that will help you put up drywall like an expert.
Step-by-step instructions, including helpful hints and advice, will be provided for everything from planning and measuring to cutting and putting the finishing touches on. With our help, you can approach your drywall project with confidence, and the finished product will look and perform like a professional job.
1. Measure and Plan
Measure twice, cut once: that’s the key to a successful drywall installation, an integral aspect of any home improvement or construction job. How to properly measure and organize for drywall installation is covered below.
Accurately Measuring the Room
Accurate room measurements must be taken before the installation can begin. The area can be calculated by first measuring the length and width of each wall and then multiplying those numbers.
The total square footage of a room is calculated by adding the area of all the room’s walls together. The height of the walls must be measured, and any obstructions, such as electrical outlets, light switches, and doors, must be noted.
Estimating the Required Amount of Drywall
The quantity of drywall required may be calculated after you know how many square feet your room occupies. Divide the entire square footage of the space by the size of the drywall sheets you intend to use (4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ are the standard sizes).
The total square footage would be 576 feet if your room was 12 feet by 12 feet with 8-foot ceilings. There would be a requirement for 18 sheets of drywall, measuring 4′ x 8′. (576 divided by 32). Add some additional sheets to your purchase to make up for inevitable waste and cuts.
Now Plan for Cuts and Waste
Some drywall material will be wasted during installation owing to cuts and wall imperfections. You need to anticipate this waste to ensure that you order enough drywall. To make up for potential waste, it’s recommended that you add 10% to the final square footage. To reduce wastage, you should also plot exactly where you will cut the drywall sheets.
If your wall is 12 feet long and you’re using drywall sheets that are 4 feet by 8 feet, you can simply cut one sheet in half to create a 4-foot by 6-foot piece that will fit snugly at the wall’s end. You won’t need to use an entire sheet, so no extra fabric will be wasted.
2. Choose the Right Drywall for the Job
Types of Drywall
Drywall comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Standard Drywall: Most interior walls and ceilings can benefit from this type of drywall, which is why it is the industry standard. It can be purchased in a wide range of dimensions and thicknesses.
Soundproof Drywall: This drywall is specifically made to lessen noise transfer between spaces, as its name suggests. Its primary applications are in places where soundproofing is required, such as home theaters and recording studios.
Moisture-Resistant Drywall: This drywall is specially made to withstand high humidity and is commonly seen in wet environments like kitchens and bathrooms.
Choosing the Right Thickness
The use will determine the drywall thickness you select. Several broad principles are outlined below.
- 1/2-inch drywall: For both walls and ceilings, this is the standard thickness.
- 5/8-inch drywall: Garages, utility rooms, and furnace rooms, for example, often have walls this thick installed for added fire protection.
- 1/4-inch drywall: This is the standard thickness for cladding over preexisting walls and ceilings.
Moisture-Resistant Drywall for Bathrooms and Kitchens
Green board, a type of drywall treated to prevent mold growth, is also known as moisture-resistant drywall. To maximize its benefits, install it in a moist environment, such as a bathroom or kitchen.
To reiterate, shower stalls and tub surrounds are not appropriate places for moisture-resistant drywall because of the constant exposure to water. A waterproof cement board or membrane should be put there.
3. Preparation is Key
Drywall installation demands meticulous planning. A seamless installation and a long-lasting finish from the drywall require thorough preparation. Before drywall can be installed, the walls and ceilings must undergo a series of preparation processes.
Prepping the Walls and Ceilings
The removal of wallpaper and other wall coverings is the first stage in preparing walls and ceilings for drywall installation. Any painted walls or ceilings should be given a quick sanding to remove any shine or sheen.
Then, wipe down the walls and ceilings to remove any dust, dirt, or other debris. A vacuum cleaner or broom can be used for this, and then the area can be mopped up with some water. Focus your cleaning efforts there because those spots attract the most dust and grime.
After dusting and mopping the walls and ceilings, be sure to patch any holes or cracks you find. Use some joint compound and a putty knife to accomplish this.
After applying the compound with the putty knife, smoothing it out, and waiting for it to cure, the crack or hole should be repaired. When the compound is dry, you can sand it down to a smooth finish.
Ensuring Surfaces are Clean and Dry
Drywall can only be properly installed on spotless, dry surfaces. A wall’s finish and structural integrity are both at risk if drywall is exposed to moisture and begins to deform or develop mold.
Walls and ceilings should be let to dry completely after being cleaned or repaired to prevent any mold or mildew growth. To check for any lingering moisture on the surfaces, a moisture meter can be utilized.
Making Repairs Before Installation
Before drywall can be installed, any damage to the walls or ceiling must be repaired. Cracks, holes, and other damage must be fixed, and any structural problems must be fixed as well.
If you disregard them, you may end up with drywall cracks or sagging later on. It’s also risky because it compromises the wall’s or ceiling’s structural integrity.
4. Working with Drywall Sheets
Carrying Drywall Sheets
With the right methods, drywall sheets can be safely carried and moved, despite their weight and size. Some advice is as follows:
- Never attempt to move heavy drywall by yourself. Having this in place will make things simpler and safer.
- Put on gloves to keep your hands safe from harm.
- Put the sheets in position with the aid of a drywall lift.
- Keep your back straight and the sheets close to your body as you carry them.
- Sheets can easily get trapped and ruined when being dragged around corners or through entrances.
Properly Hanging Drywall
The drywall must be hung correctly to ensure a polished appearance. Some advice is as follows:
- Put up the right kind of drywall for the task at hand. Determine the intended use before deciding on drywall thickness and kind.
- Before hanging, make sure the drywall sheets are properly measured and trimmed to size.
- Vertically mount the drywall with the tapered edges touching. Thus, fewer seams will need to be patched and completed.
- Use screws or nails to fasten the drywall sheets to the studs. Make sure the fasteners are evenly spaced and sunk into the drywall at a shallow depth.
- Don’t force the screws or nails in too far, since that could crack the drywall.
How to Avoid Common Mistakes
When working with drywall, it’s important to avoid the following mistakes:
- Poor wall or ceiling preparation prior to installation.
- One common cause of crooked drywall is the lack of a level during installation.
- Applying an excessive amount of joint compound, which can lead to a lumpy or uneven surface.
- Refusing to wait for the joint compound to cure before sanding it.
- Poor choice of drywall for the task at hand.
- The drywall paper might be exposed if the joint compound is sanded down too much.
5. Cutting and Fitting Drywall
Drywall cutting and installation may seem like a daunting undertaking, but with the correct equipment and know-how, you can get the job done in no time. Some helpful hints for working with drywall saws and mud:
Tools for Cutting Drywall
- To cut drywall, you will need the following tools:
- Utility knife: While working with drywall, a sharp utility knife is the tool of choice. While cutting drywall, always use a new blade.
- Drywall saw: Curves and other non-rectangular shapes in drywall are easily cut using a drywall saw.
- Keyhole saw: Little cutouts, such as those seen in electrical boxes, can be made with a keyhole saw.
- Drywall rasp: A drywall rasp is used to finish off cut drywall with a clean finish.
Measuring and Marking Drywall
Accurate marking and measuring of drywall is crucial for a perfect fit. Some advice is as follows:
- Cut the drywall to the correct size by measuring the wall or ceiling’s height and width. Keep in mind that walls need room to grow, so make sure to leave a crack or two at the top and bottom.
- Mark the drywall where it has to be cut using a T-square or straight edge.
- To make the cut lines more clearly visible, use a pencil instead of a pen or marker.
- Make drywall installation easier by clearly marking each sheet with the room’s name, location, and orientation.
Drywall Installation Around Outlets and Other Obstructions
It can be difficult to cut drywall to fit around fixtures like outlets. Some advice is as follows:
- Use a drywall or keyhole saw to remove the wallboard around the outlet or impediment. The opening should be slightly smaller than the impediment to providing a secure fit.
- If there are any jagged edges or corners, a drywall rasp will do the trick.
- If the outlet box is not flush with the drywall, use an electrical box extender to bring it there.
- Use a ceiling fan brace to distribute the load of a light fixture.
6. Finishing touches
The installation of the drywall will be complete once the final touches have been applied, making it ready for painting or texturing. Some suggestions for polishing off the project:
Taping and Mudding
Joint tape and joint compound are used to cover the seams between the drywall sheets and the screws. Some advice is as follows:
- A joint compound should be used to apply joint tape to the joints. Putty knives and drywall knives can be used to remove excess compounds and level out the tape.
- A joint compound should be used once the tape has dried fully. It will take multiple passes to completely cover the tape and provide a smooth finish.
- If there are any humps or ridges on the surface, sand them down before applying the final coat of joint compound.
Sanding and Smoothing
In order to obtain a uniform and smooth finish, sanding and smoothing are crucial phases in the finishing process. Some advice is as follows:
- Between layers of joint compound, lightly smooth the surface with a sanding sponge or sandpaper. Make sure there are no humps or ridges by smoothing them off.
- When you’ve finished applying all of the joint compounds, use fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth up the surface. Sanding too harshly could scratch the surface, so take care.
- Before painting or texturing, remove any loose dirt and dust with a damp sponge or cloth.
Painting and Texturing
The finishing procedure is not complete until the surface has been painted and textured to seem polished. Some advice is as follows:
- Prime the surface before painting to prevent paint from peeling and to prevent any joint compound or drywall paper from showing through.
- Use a roller or brush to apply the paint in even, thin coats. Drying and re-coating times should be adhered to as specified by the manufacturer.
- Use a texture sprayer or a drywall knife to add a pattern to the surface. If you want the expected result, you should try it out on a tiny section first.
7. Clean-up and Safety
Any drywall installation process requires careful attention to clean-up and safety measures. If you want to finish the job in a responsible and secure manner, consider these suggestions.
Proper Disposal of Waste
For the sake of public health and ecology, the proper garbage disposal is crucial. Some advice is as follows:
- Put the trash in a designated can or receptacle, and dispose of it in an authorized manner. There are specific protocols for getting rid of potentially dangerous substances.
- If you have any leftover drywall or packaging, please recycle it.
- Joint compounds and other materials should be removed from the installation site after use.
Safe Handling of Tools and Materials
It’s crucial to avoid mishaps and injuries by properly using and storing equipment. Some advice is as follows:
- When working with drywall, it is imperative that you use appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask. Wearing protective clothing like long pants and sleeves is a good idea.
- Follow all directions and safety precautions included with any tools or equipment you use.
- Always check your tools and equipment for signs of damage or wear to ensure they are in top shape.
Advice for Maintaining Personal Safety During Setup
There are some extra precautions that need to be taken during the installation process. Some advice is as follows:
- To reach upper levels, a robust ladder or scaffold should be used. Avoid balancing on chairs or other precarious objects.
- Maintain a clutter-free workspace to reduce the risk of injury.
- Don’t strain to grab something out of reach. Adjust the height of the ladder or scaffold so that you can work safely and comfortably.
- To avoid strain or exhaustion, take frequent breaks to rest and stretch.
Frequently Ask Questions
While hanging drywall, you’ll need a utility knife, drywall saw, tape measure, T-square, drill/driver, drywall screws, joint compound, and a putty knife at the very least. Besides the drywall lift, sandpaper, and vacuum or dustpan, these other items will also come in handy.
Mark your cutting lines for the drywall using a T-square after measuring the area. You can use a utility knife or drywall saw to cut the drywall into sheets, and then you can snap them in half along the score line. Mark the cutting line with a compass or flexible drywall ruler, and then make the cut using a drywall saw to create a smooth curve.
Hang drywall from the top down. While screwing the sheets into the studs, use a drywall lift. Start with the perimeter edges and screw every 16 inches in the sheet field. Provide space between sheets for expansion and contraction.
Apply the joint compound with a putty knife over self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape or paper tape. For a smooth finish, apply a thin coat and sand between coats. Apply a final application of joint compound and sand it smooth before painting or texturing.
Before installation, prepare the walls and ceilings, including any repairs, to avoid typical blunders. Before screwing the drywall, measure and trim it carefully. Overdriving screws can damage the paper, so use enough to attach the drywall. Tape and mud slowly for a nice finish.
Drywall installation times range from several hours to several days, depending on the project scope and labor force. Drywall installation and finishing might take several days up to a week or more on average.