How to Hang and Finish Drywall Yourself

The “ART” of hanging drywall and finishing is not as daunting of a task as one may think. It is a project that with the right tips can save a person a lot of money by eliminating the labor costs.

The first thing that one needs to do is to calculate all of the materials needed. These are always available at the local hardware stores so they can be purchased over a period of time. You need to figure out the amount of drywall needed. It is in the best of interests to use the standard twelve foot sheets as it is sometimes cheaper to buy this way and you have fewer sheets to contend with. Thickness of the drywall is also needed to be determined. Usually in a residential area you are going to use standard �½ inch drywall. If ceiling trusses are centered on 24 inches 5/8 thick sheets need to be used as 1/2 inch sheets will sag over time. If you are using it in an area that it needs to bend for a curve it is best to use �¼ thickness. Commercial jobs usually use 5/8 inch for the durability. Any area exposed to moisture (such as a bathroom) needs to have what is known as green board and durarock. The green board is used in a place which is exposed to a lot of moisture. Green board is moisture resistant, not moisture proof! The durarock will be used in the tub area (in the places that will get wet).

You also need to calculate in the amount of drywall screws, one box of screws will cover a little over 150 sheets of drywall. When purchasing the screws let the employee know what thickness the board is and what type of studs are being used. Metal studs require a “grabber” screw and thicker drywall needs the longer screw. The drywall tape comes in 250ft and 500 ft rolls and a bucket of mud is needed for every 10 sheets of drywall. Whether you buy the materials all at once or over a period of time, there are some tips and tricks that are a must know about hanging and finishing drywall. Drywall is designed to create an optical illusion.
The first thing you will hang in the room will be the ceiling.Draw lines on your board for the ceiling at twelve, twenty four and thirty six inches as these will be where the screws fall on the ceiling. You need to mark where any boxes or lighting is to go at to cut them out. Once you have chosen the area to start you need to measure the length of the ceiling. If it is not twelve foot in the center of the ceiling truss, you need to take the measurement back one truss to the dead center it. You will use more screws in the ceilings than you do in the walls. When you are hanging the sheet rock put the screws all around the edges to secure it (except for the cut end that another sheet of drywall is to go against it. . (Start with the edges, put one in each of the factory edges, then one in the center and then one in between each center and factory edge for the total of five). Repeat this for the next board but once it is up you will split the screws equally and on the seam that the two edges are joined you are going to place 7 screws equally apart. When the ceiling is completely hung, you can begin the wall hanging the drywall on the wall.

The first thing you need to do is to mark the studs with some chalk on the floor and mark where any boxes will be. You will start left and move right and move from top to bottom. Before you place ANY screws were a box is the area needs to have the drywall cut out of it so it does not break the board. If there is already electrical hooked up in the structure you need to make sure that the power is shut completely off.

A router is the best tool to use and make the job a lot easier and go buy quickly. If you do not know how to use one, take a piece of “scrap” drywall and hold it against a box that is to be cut out and practice. Once you get the feel for it the router will guide itself around the box being cut out. A trick to remember is if you are cutting the area with the router on the outside it is going to run counter clockwise. If you are cutting from the inside of the box you are going to run the router clockwise.

The procedure for hanging drywall on the walls is pretty much the same as the ceiling there are some tips and tricks however that a person needs to know before taking on this task. The screw pattern on the wall will fall at sixteen and thirty two inches plus the screws on the perimeter of the board. Placing lines at these measurements make it a lot easier when placing the screws in the boards.

A board can easily be cut and moved by one person. With a 5’2″, 130lb frame I could easily cut and move the board myself. It is a matter of not fighting with the board. Make sure that when you are hanging against another board that there are no gaps. (You can shave down the edges to make it even). Never place a screw right next to a box that is in the wall or ceiling it will break the drywall. Place the screw and inch or two away from the box. Never put a screw in a corner (there is usually nothing there or it is higher than the rest and will pull the corner crooked or you will just put a hole in it). One of the most important things that you can know is to go back through on a board and check all of your screws. They need to be counter sunk and if there is any sticking out tighten them in. One screw sticking out can ruin any finishing tools you may have. You can usually do this with the screw gun but if it is in an awkward angle use a screw driver but make sure there are none sticking out.

The finishing is a lot messier than the hanging. Make sure you tape all of the flats (joints) and corners. Just wipe mud over any of the nails that are not in these areas. You will repeat this process two or three times over a period of days. Allow the mud to dry completely before you add another coat. You can check the flats to see if they are even by holding the edge of the drywall knife against the joint. This way you can tell if more mud is needed or it needs to be sanded down. The best thing to remember about finishing the drywall is the less mud the better.

Drywall hanging and finishing can be a hard job but with the right knowledge it can save you a lot of money and be very rewarding for a job that you completed yourself.

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