How to Hang Drywall

Whether you’re remodeling a basement, adding
a divider wall, or building an addition, save some cash by installing your own drywall. We’ll show you basic steps for hanging drywall
on wall studs. When it comes to sizes, 5/8-inch is heaviest and most sound proof; ½-inch
is the most common type used for walls and ceilings; 3/8-inch is best to cover existing
walls for a remodel; and ¼-inch is the choice for curves. Before hanging, cover electrical and plumbing
lines with nail protector plates. When installing, you want the least number
of seams as possible, usually that means hanging the panels horizontally. Use the largest pieces
you can handle, and stagger any vertical joints. Don’t place any seams at corners of doorways
or windows—they’ll crack. Place them near the middle of the opening.
Also, leave a ½-inch gap at the floor. Starting with the top row, apply adhesive
to the studs. Adhesive prevents popped nail heads. Hold the first sheet horizontal against
the ceiling and corner, and drive a few nails in just to hold it. The vertical edges need
to attach to studs. Measure and mark the next piece. Make it about
¼-inch short—you don’t want to force it into place. Score the front side, snap
it, and cut the paper backing. Smooth the rough edges with a rasp. Position the piece
and tack a few ring nails in to hold it. You’ll cover them later with joint compound. Mark the studs and drive screws. The screw
heads should be just below the paper. Drywall drills make this happen every time.
Space the screws about 16 inches apart in the middle, and 8 inches apart along the vertical
joints. Keep them at least 3/8-inch from the edge. For the bottom row, hold the panel in place
using a foot lift to keep it a ½-inch off the floor, and tack some nails in to hold
it. Hang the next panel and drive in all the screws. When you run into electrical boxes, measure
from the top panels, transfer the measurements to the new piece, and cut with a drywall saw. To cut out windows and doors, hang the top
row of drywall and cut the excess with a saw. Then hang the bottom panels and cut the remaining
excess. For inside corners, don’t force the pieces
tight together. For outside corners, let the panel overhang
the corner on one side. Hang the adjacent panel against the backside, now cut the excess. Finishing the seams is next. Have patience
with this step–it can take practice. Cover all of the vertical joints first, then the
factory tapered seams, then the corners. Apply mesh tape to the flat seams. With a
6-inch drywall knife, spread pre-mixed compound over the center of the vertical seams. Remove
any excess by feathering the edges–press the outside edge of the knife against the
wallboard, letting the joint side rest on the tape, and remove the compound. Do the horizontal seams next. Now the inside corners. Apply joint compound
on each side, crease paper tape along the centerline, and press it into place with your
fingers. Run your knife carefully down one side, then the other. Don’t cut the tape. Now the outside corners. Cut paper-faced bead
to fit. Apply a layer of compound to the corner, press the bead into place with your fingers,
then run your drywall knife over the bead ensuring a tight fit, and removing excess
compound. Finish the first coat by covering the fasteners. The first coat doesn’t have to be perfect,
just don’t leave any excess. Let it dry for about 24 hours. For the fill coat, use a 6-inch knife to
cover the tape with joint compound about 3/16-inch thick on the vertical seams. Use a 10-inch
knife to feather the edges, then lightly run the knife over the middle. The vertical seams
aren’t tapered, so you’ll need to feather the compound about 14-16 inches wide to make
it blend into the wall. Now cover the horizontal seams. The feathered
compound should be about 10-12 inches wide. Next are the inside corners. Feather the compound
along one side with a 6-inch knife. You’ll do the other side on the third coat. For outside corners, use the corner of the
bead as a guide, and apply the compound to both sides with a 10-inch knife, feathering
out past the previous coat. Then cover the fasteners again. Let the fill coat dry for 24 hours. Before applying the finish coat, lightly sand
the joints with 120-grit sandpaper, if necessary. Wet sponges or vacuum sanders reduce the amount
of dust. The finish coat means no tool marks. Check the vertical seams with the flat edge
of the trowel to see how far you need to feather out the joints. Apply joint compound to all
the seams and feather the edges again. This coat should be about 16-18 inches wide. On the inside corners, apply compound to the
side that you didn’t coat yet. The outside corners might not need another
coat, but check with your knife. And cover the fasteners if needed. Let it dry for 24 hours and lightly sand. For a pro finish, apply a skim coat. Roll
on a thinned-down finish compound over a 4-foot section, then use a 12-inch knife to remove
the compound. Let it dry and lightly sand. Now just apply a special drywall primer-sealer,
and finish with paint. Installing your own drywall can help you save
a lot of money, and with a little patience, you can get great results. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to or just click to subscribe. Next, check out how to repair drywall.

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