How to Install Drywall – Avoid these Common Mistakes

How to Install Drywall - Avoid these Common Mistakes

Although it may seem daunting to the beginner, installing drywall is a relatively straightforward task. To help clarify, we at Carolina Services Inc. have compiled a brief How-To, as well as a list of ways to avoid common mistakes.

How to Install Drywall

Most interior walls will be completed using panels that are a  ½ inch thick, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long. However, you should check your local building code, as some areas require thicker drywall for rooms that are garage-adjacent.

1. Starting in the corner of the room, lay a panel on the floor against the wall. Position the first panel to be nailed in the corner and on top of the panel on the floor.The panel on the floor ensures that the drywall begins a level  1/2 inch off of the floor.  This ½ inch prevents the drywall from wicking moisture from the floor.

2. Use drywall screws to attach the far side of the panel to the center of a stud. Then, go back to the corner and screw the drywall to each stud it passes over. Use several screws, placed approximately 8 inches apart, on each stud.

3. Attach the next panel beside the first in the same manner. Complete the bottom row of paneling before moving to a higher row. Match factory cut edges together and self cut edges together.

4. After all the drywall is hung, apply a layer of joint compound (or “mud”) to the seams. Center  drywall tape over the seams and press it into the mud using a taping knife. Cover the tape with mud and allow to dry over night.

5. Apply a third coat of mud over the seams and surrounding areas, feathering the mud at the edges. Allow the third coat to dry before lightly sanding.

6. Nail corner bead to exterior corners. Apply mud over the corner bead.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

1. When estimating how much drywall your project requires be sure to leave a margin for waste and error. It is recommended that you purchase 10% more drywall than the area calls for.

2. Lay the panels horizontally with the vertical seams offset. This will increase the stability of the wall and create fewer seams that need to be filled.

3. Avoid damaging electrical work by placing steel plates over the area of a stud behind which a cable passes. This will prevent you from accidentally piercing the wires with a screw.

4. To create the smoothest cuts in drywall, mark and score the front side of the panel, then break the panel in one swift motion. Use a utility knife to cut through the paper backing. Using a saw to cut drywall is more time-consuming and less clean of a division.

5. Avoid having seams at the corners of windows or doors. These areas will be under strain as a building settles and seams will weaken the area further.

6. Be careful not to have the factory cut ends meet at exterior corners. The factory cut ends are slightly tapered. The corner bead will not fit properly over tapered edges.

7. Many novices cut the drywall panels to fit tightly together and spend much time using a rasp to shave away the panels. It isn’t necessary for the pieces to be perfectly flush. Small spaces between seams will be filled by the joint compound.

Still have questions? Contact us today to learn more about drywall installation and the installation services we offer!

Photo courtesy of: Giles Douglas