Do it yourself!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

How To Hang Drywall

After your house or room addition is framed,insulated,the electrical and mechanical trades have done their rough-in,and the local inspector has approved everything, you are ready to cover your framing. Usually this is done with sheet rock,(or drywall). Drywall is used probably 98% of the time for this. Sometimes paneling, brick or stucco, stone or something similar is used.

Drywall is probably the most underpaid trade of all. It is critical that it is done well or no matter how well you have done everything else, it will make the entire job look bad. It’s impossible for your painted walls to look good if the drywall isn’t finished right.It is a dirty, nasty job with a lot of heavy lifting. If you are building your own house and trying to do a lot of the work yourself this would be a good thing to go ahead and subcontract. For what you have to pay to get it done, it’s well worth it. By the time you buy or rent all the tools needed and break your back for a month or so,(depending how big your job is of course), you could have hired it done in a week and you could have already moved on to something else where your time is much more valuable.

But if you insist here are a few guidelines and tips. First you must decide how much and what size you need. If you’re doing an entire house, usually the lumber yard where your buying most of your supplies, will figure how much you need from the plans you supplied them. Sometimes the contractor you hire will do it.If you’re doing it you need to figure the square footage of all the wall and ceilings and divide it buy the footage in each sheet you’re using. It’s always best to use the largest rock you can handle to eliminate joints. Usually 12’ is used. Allow about 10% waste, for there will be a lot of waste.  You don’t want to use very small pieces to save money because it will just cause you more time and work later on. Where I live 1/2” is used almost everywhere. Some areas use 5/8” on ceilings and 1/2” on the walls.  Be sure to check the code for your area.Some locals require the use of green rock in wet areas. It is specially made to repel moisture. If you are just doing a repair just match what is already there. So your sheet rock is in 2 stacks about 5’ high in the living room and you’re ready to go. Tools you will need are: measuring tape, drywall screws, sawhorses, walkboards, ladder, screw gun or drill, sheet rock hammer, pouch, sheet rock knife, circle cutter, drywall saw, drywall router and toe kicker. Of course, if you’re just doing one room or a small repair you can get by without the router and probably even the screw gun. You can just use a drill with a dimpler bit, or even just use nails, and the saw to cut around the window and door openings. Hang the ceiling first. It’s almost impossible to hang the ceilings by yourself. But, it is possible with the help of a cradle lift. It’s best to have two people. It’s ok to use sawhorses but use a professional walkboard and not 2"x 12"s. Lean some of the board up against a wall. Use the t-square and knife to crosscut pieces so that they break on the ceiling joist, running the sheets across the joist and not with them.  Stagger the rows so that joints don’t end up in the same place. If you are using a router, hang over the light box and then cut it out. But,if not, measure from the side and end to the center of the box and use the circle cutter.  Next do the walls. Start at the ceiling breaking the sheets on the studs to be sure you have something to screw to. Mark all of the studs on the floor so you’ll know where to screw. Again stagger the joints.  Use the toe kicker to raise the bottom sheet up against the top one.  With a router you can hang over all of the openings and electrical boxes and go back and cut them out. Just don’t forget any! Screw off all of the sheets, placing the screws about every 6”. The screw hole should be tight and slightly depress without breaking the paper. This gives you a depression to fill with sheet rock mud while retaining the strength of the screw.  When cutting with the knife just cut through the paper and into the gypsum and then bend the sheet back until it breaks. It will break smoothly and evenly.

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