There are a lot of little secrets to succeed in hanging drywall. First is choosing the correct drywall for your project. Standard 1/2″ thick drywall is commonly used on interior walls and ceilings. A green colored drywall is used in the bathroom, or any other area where moisture might be a concern. Other examples would be kitchen, or basement areas.
If you are dry walling a garage that is attached to the house you will be required to use 5/8″ drywall on the connecting walls as it is rated to provide one hour burn through protection. The standard building code insists on a firewall to protect the house in the event of fire.
The second hint would be to use as large a panel as will fit your project, 4×8 is common, but 4×12 will cover more area and reduce the number of joints. Reducing the number of joints will speed up the process and also reduce the possibilities of cracks. If you are new to the world of drywall anything you can do to reduce the taping and dreadful sanding will aid you in succeeding in your project. Renting a drywall jack to install those long panels on the ceiling will be of great help. You can get by with a home made “T” brace if you’ve got plenty of help, but a drywall jack is much better.
I prefer using screws to attach drywall to the studs, but be careful if you are using a regular drill with a Phillips bit, you can easily screw right through the drywall. Try to go in just far enough that all of the head will be just below the surface. Buying a drywall screw gun may be worth the expense if you are doing more then one room.
Be sure to use metal corner reinforcement strips, nothing you could do free hand will look straight and they add strength to the edges as well. As much as possible install it so the factory edge of the drywall meets another factory edge. They are slightly tapered making a nicer seam when you tape and mud the joint.
When taping the joints if you are a beginner I highly recommend using fiberglass mesh tape. It’s self adhesive and much easier to apply then the regular paper tape in mud method. The modest increase in price over paper will be well worth it in time and effort saved.
Now its time to apply joint compound to the joints and screw heads. One of the most important parts of the project. Remember Less is More, again I say Less is More. Using a wide, 12″ knife put a layer of joint compound over the seams, heavier at the actual seam and feather it out to the edges. Never lay out mud thicker then 1/8″ as it will crack and shrink as it dries. Between layers it’s a good idea to go over the joint with a course sanding block to knock down any high points.
Sanding is the most important part. Everyone has seen some home grown auto body job where the bondo hasn’t been sanded and feathered properly. When the new paint goes on every little imperfection sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the same with drywall, if the joint isn’t feathered showing and feeling no edge it will stand out something terrible after the finished paint job is applied. If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether it’s smooth enough roll a quick coat of primer over the joints just to make sure.
Once your satisfied its smooth enough your ready for prime and paint. Take your time, be fussy and you will be pleased with the results.