Day 175: Drywall, pt. 2

2014-03-07 11.40.10Hanging drywall is kind of a long, tedious process in the cold.  At the end of the day, we put up roughly 50 sheets of 8’x4′ half inch drywall.  Hanging is a lot of back and forth.  You measure your space and cut down a piece to fit it.  Then hold that piece in place while you sink some screws.  Measure, walk to the other room, cut, walk to the other room, hang, measure, etc etc etc.  The process is called scribing.  Since drywall is just plaster between to pieces of paper, cutting it is pretty easy.  You measure your length and score a line with a razorblades.  You then snap the piece along the line and cut the back paper.  The whole schabang takes about a minute.  But you have to do it again and again and again.  After you’ve got your pieces cut, you’ll have to make openings for each of your electrical boxes (switches, outlets, and lights).  The best way to go about this is by using a spiral saw (like a Drummel tool).  You can plunge into the drywall sheet and then easily cut in any direction.  Ideally, you know right where to cut.  Either you’ve measured it out, or even easier, you hang the sheet and partially screw it in, then can cut through from the back side of your wall.  In any case, your electrical holes should be as tight as possible.  The perfect cut will fit exactly with no extra space around the box.  If you cut too large of a hole, you’ll have to go back in and fill the gap later as your switch plate won’t cover it.

2014-03-10 12.13.01Your natural impulse is probably to hang a rectangular sheet tall-ways on a wall.  Though it’s awkward and heavy, it’s actually better to hang sheets horizontally.  There’s two reasons for this.  First, the long sides of a sheet of drywall are tapered.  When you put two side by side, it forms a little gully.  This gully is incredibly easy to mud and sand flat.  You want to maximize these gullies.  The second reason is you want to avoid as much mudding as possible.  Each seam has to be taped and sealed.  By hanging your drywall horizontally, you can reduce your taped edges by up to 25%.  This saves a ton of time and materials.  It does involve hoisting up the drywall, but it’s worth the trade off.  And speaking of hoisting, the second tip is that you should always hang from the top down.  Start by hanging your ceilings, then move to the walls.  Start your walls by shoving the panels up to the ceiling and build down, leaving a small gap at the floor.  You can nail or screw drywall, though my personal preference is to screw it in.  You should sink your screws until they’re just below the surface of the drywall.  The ideal sink is such that it doesn’t rip the paper, but puts a small divit in the surface.  That way you can come back and add a little mud to hide the screw head, while still getting a nice tight fix.  Some people advocate using adhesive on the studs, but I think this is overkill for drywall.  Cement board is another story though.

Once you’ve hung all the drywall, it’s time to put up your corner bead and tape.  Corner bead is a plastic or metal bracket that you nail to exposed exterior corners or funny transitions, like where your drywall meets a different kind of wall (brick for example).  You could just tape your exterior corner, but it’s really worth the extra cost and effort to use a corner bead.  It provides for a much stronger corner that will stand up to being bumped or knocked around.  It also holds your sheets of drywall tight to each other, so you won’t get splits in your exterior corners.  Don’t forget that even though it’s heavy and hard, drywall is really very fragile stuff.  It’s not meant to support weight or do much more than be a wall covering.  Inside corner bead does exist, but I’ve never used it.  I don’t see the point as inside corners aren’t really in danger of being knocked around and if you’re framing is correct, the   wood should be holding your drywall sheets against each other.2014-03-17 10.02.02

At each of your seams and corners that you’re going to be mudding in the next step, you need to add tape.  Drywall tape comes in two varieties with some extra flavors: traditional paper and nylon mesh.  The traditional method for taping is to lay down a bit of jointing compound, and then push your paper tape into the seam using a drywall knife.  I prefer to use nylon mesh with an adhesive backing.  This functions a lot more like tape you’re familiar with.  You cut the lengths you need and just stick it on.  It saves a step of mudding and the related wait time for drying.


About Nathan

Originally from central Florida (near Orlando), I've lived in the Cleveland area since 2008. When I'm not caught up in the life project de jure, I paint, sculpt, play games (mostly board games and video games), and run a small hobby import/export business.


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