Save Money by Hanging Your Own Sheetrock

Hanging sheetrock is hard work, but with time, patience and practice you can do it yourself. Of course, I can’t give you every solution for every problem you might encounter; but I can give you the basics. The rest will be trial and error; but you will do fine with the basics under your belt. Hanging your own sheetrock can save you a lot of money in the end.

There are several tools you will need to make the job easier. So before you start, get the following tools: A utility knife (with several sharp blades), tape measure, pencil, square ( a T-square can also be helpful), a sheetrock jack(or toe-kick jack for lifting the lower section of rock up to snug up against the top section), a key-hole saw, screw-gun, and lastly an extra person or sheetrock lift (you can rent one by the day from Lowe’s or Home Depot or similar hardware store). Sheetrock is heavy so it’s not really a one person job. I suggest that helpful best friend or brother-in-law be employed to help.

If your house was framed correctly; your wall studs should be on 16″ centers. This means there is a stud in the corners of the room and there should be another stud every 16″ from there. But don’t count on this! Your sheets of rock should fit so that each end can be screwed to a stud. If the end fails to land on a stud you will need to put in “dead wood” for it to screw to. This is simply a piece of wood that can be added to the stud so that the rock end lands on it. It’s very important that your sheetrock ends are screwed to a stud or a piece of deadwood; otherwise the end would be more apt to be busted in when to much pressure is applied.

If you have ceiling and walls to hang; the order to hang will be ceiling; upper walls; then lower walls. If you have just walls to hang then hang the upper sections first then the lower. After you have hung all of the upper sections of the walls, use your pencil to mark the location of the studs on the upper pieces of rock. This will keep you from having to hunt for them once the lower sections are covered with sheetrock. You will screw (or nail) the sheetrock with at least 4 screws on each end (running down the rock) and 2 – 3 more “runs” of screws (running along the studs that you marked). This will make your sheetrock secure to the wall. Make sure you “set” the screws; meaning that the screw head is just below the surface of the rock, but don’t get carried away and break all the way through the sheetrock.

When it comes time for you to cut a length to finish a run; simply measure the length you need and transfer this measurement to the rock. The T-square is helpful here because it will sit on top of the sheetrock and you will have a straight edge that runs the full 4′ width of the rock. With the sheetrock standing up; make 2 cuts along this line using the utility knife. Bend the shorter end back and cut the back of the sheetrock (the paper side). You now have the length you need to fit that odd size space.

Most of the “holes” you will need to cut will be on the bottom section of wall. This is due to the fact that most receptacles and light switches are generally set on the lower section. For these you will need 5 measurements. I recommend that you take a measurement then transfer it to the sheetrock 1 at a time. Simply think BOX. The first measurement will be where the end of the sheetrock will be. Then measure from the edge of the sheetrock to the right side of the box, then the left side, then the top, then the bottom. Use your square to mark your box and cut it out with the key-hole saw. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get this just right because it can be filled in with a bit of sheetrock mud later if need be. Your finisher will love you though if you don’t make this a habit .

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