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The Ram's Drywall Hanging Guide

May 17, 2013 |

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posted by The Ram

Hey guys, it's me Jacob (AKA the Ram as she calls me).

After hanging a few hundred sheets of drywall, there's a few tips and tricks I wanted to share with you about hanging drywall. It's really not that tough, and it's fun because you see a lot of work get done really fast, but if you don't do things right, you will create a nightmare for the mudder (probably you if you are reading this).

So hopefully these tips help and if you have any questions, I will be reading and responding to your comments.

Have a great weekend!

Jacob

The Ram's Drywall Hanging Guide

1. Gather Tools

You won't need a lot of fancy tools to do drywall. In fact, when I hang drywall, a few hand tools are all I really need. Here's the must have list:

Tape measure
Pencil
T-square or straight edge
Utility knife and extra blades
Drywall Rasp
Roller Lift (small inexpensive foot tool for lifting drywall off the floor)
Keyhole Saw for cutting out boxes
Rotozip if you have one for cutting out utiltity boxes and openings
Drywall screws
Screw gun with drywall setting bit
Safety equipment (glasses and respirator)

If you are hanging drywall on the ceiling, you'll definitely want to rent a drywall lift to help you raise the drywall and hold into position while you screw it off.

The Ram's Drywall Hanging Guide

2. Figuring Materials

When you hang drywall, you'll want to do two things: minimize wasted drywall and minimize butt joints (where two ends of drywall meet up). The longer edge of drywall is actually called the tapered edge because it is tapered inward to allow for mud placement. This is not the case for the ends (called the butt ends), so you will want to figure your materials to minimize butt joints whenever possible.

Some people choose to run their drywall vertically, but I like to run mine horizontally because it's stronger to have the drywall joints offset, it's easier to mud a single tapered seam right in the middle of the wall all the way around, and because sometimes wall studs can be off and it's easier to cut a butt end to fit a stud than cutting an 8 foot tapered edge. Also by running the drywall horizontally, I minimize joints over doorways (known problem areas for cracking seams).

Think of it this way - if you have a 11 x 11 bedroom, and you order 12' long sheets of drywall, the only seam you will have to mud is that center tapered seam, easy to reach right in the middle. This can really minimize work for the mudder (which is probably you if you are reading this).

So figure how much drywall you need, using 8, 10 and 12 foot standard lengths to minimize butt seams. You always drywall right over windows and doorways, so don't subtract materials if you have openings in the room. For walls that are more than 8 feet tall, call your local drywall company - drywall does come in 54" widths for 9' ceilings. That's what we did in the Momplex basement.

Fire code usually requires 5/8" thick Type X drywall for the ceilings. 1/2" is standard for the walls, and green board is used in bathrooms or other high moisture areas.

Once you have your drywall, it is very heavy and cumbersome to move. So strategically place the drywall in your rooms to minimize moving or having to rotate or turn it.

The Ram's Drywall Hanging Guide

3. Hanging the Ceiling Drywall

Always start by hanging the ceilings first. If you can, rent a drywall lift to raise the drywall and hold it into position while you screw the drywall off. 

Again, try to minimize butt joints in the ceiling by using longer sheets of drywall whenever possible. If you have butt joints, stagger them so the butt joints are never in the same position.

Notice in the above picture the butt joints are offset?

Cut your drywall to length using a T-Square and a utility knife.  Use a drywall rasp to smooth the cut edge.  Also take note of the studs in the ceiling and mark on your drywall first - trust me, it's much easier to mark studs on the ground than it is on a ladder over your head with a 100 pound sheet of drywall hanging over you.

Screws usually are placed every 7-8" on the ceiling.  Make sure your drywall screw bit is set right, so your screw head sits just below the surface of the drywall but does not break the paper.  

Mark the location of all boxes on the ceiling and cut out with either a keyhole saw, or use a rotozip.

I'm  a big fan of the rotozip, because you just have to mark the center of each box, and then with your rotozip bit set so it only cuts the thickness of your drywall with the remaining protruding part used only as a guide, you can go from the center to the outside of the box, then cut out around the outside of the box.  This tool makes cutting boxes out a 30 second job.

Since the boxes protrude out 5/8" on ceilings (1/2" on walls), if you are cutting out in place, don't fully screw the sheet off first - you'll punch those boxes right through the drywall.  Instead, just attach with a few screws to keep in place, then cut out your boxes, and then finish screwing the sheet off.

Wear a respirator, hearing and eye protection because it does get pretty messy though.

The Ram's Drywall Hanging Guide

4. Hanging Walls 

The walls are much easier than the ceiling, but you'll have more openings and boxes to deal with. Start by marking all stud and box locations on the floors. I also like to mark any no nail zones - like large ducting or venting pipes - on the floor just to be extra safe. 

Start by hanging the upper portion of the wall. If your ceiling is uneven, you can snap a line 48" down from the ceiling, and then follow that line with the bottom edge of your drywall.

I mark stud locations after hanging the sheet because I can just line the T-Square up with a stud, and mark, and then screw off. 

Screws should be placed every 12" for walls, and again, screws need to be just below the drywall surface not breaking the paper. 

Drywall right over doors and openings, and then go back and cut the opening out with a rotozip or keyhole saw. You want to minimize joints over doorways, as this is a high stress area, and the seam may crack from the doors being opened and closed. 

Hang the lower portion next, using the roller lift tools to lift the drywall up so it meets the upper sheet. If you have to trim drywall widths because your walls are not quite 8 feet, cut so the cut edge is at the floor.

For electrical boxes, do as you did the ceiling - mark placement of the boxes and then cut out with either a keyhole saw or rotozip. If using the rotozip, again, just put a few loose screws in, rotozip out your boxes, and then finish screwing off the full sheet of drywall. 

For the lower portion, keep the bottom row of screws on the bottom plate to minimize mudding later on. This all gets covered by your baseboard.

For corners, if you are bullnosing, cut the corners to the ends of the studs, not overlapping the drywall, so the outside edges of the drywall do not meet. 

 The bullnose trim will not fit otherwise.

You can do this - just keep at it and do a good job, and you'll be amazed at how much work gets done pretty easily!

Great drywall tips!

You make it look easy with the right tools. I have never used a drywall lift, can they be used to position sheets for the walls too? The biggest issue I have dealing with drywall is the weight of the sheets. We were on the fence about drywalling our small project and decided to hire someone since we have texture we would like to match and did not feel we could do that. My back heaved a sigh of relief when we did that!! But I still would like to learn some basics for patching so thanks for the post!

Cathryn

posted by cathryn | on Fri, 2013-05-17 17:14

Easy to Follow Tips

Very nice and helpful tips for hanging dry walls. Easy to follow steps and won't cause much of your time. With these tips, we don't need to hire for experts to the job. Thanks for the post, I really learned something good from it. - YOR Health

posted by JJ12 | on Sun, 2013-05-19 07:51
clips
birdsandsoap's picture

What a nice collection of

What a nice collection of tools you have amassed with this project- I can only dream!

posted by birdsandsoap | on Sun, 2013-05-19 11:19
clips
JuneBug's picture

What about walls that aren't square?

Is it better to try to make the corner gap smaller with a little larger space between the two horizontal pieces of drywall? We are working on a house built in the 1950s and it isn't square.

Also, that cutting outlet boxes with the RotoZip isn't so easy. Do you start in the center then "skip over" the box to the outside and then follow the perimeter of the box? Or do you try to find the perimeter of the box on the outside and follow it around?

posted by JuneBug | on Sun, 2013-05-19 13:59
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The Ram's picture

Good question you asked.

Good question you asked. Depending on how square your room is. The best way to hang drywall in your situation would be to first make a new square line. This can be accomplished by where every you start first be it a ceiling or a wall. Measure down the width of the sheet plus a 1/4 inch. End wall to end wall. Then snap a chalk line between the two marks. Now you have a square line to work with. Hang first sheets on that line.

There may be a gap at the top of the sheet but this will be filled with hot mud later. The first and last sheet may have to be angle cut depending on how square the end walls are. If its just a little bit then it can be filled with hot mud later.

Roto zipping I start in the middle of the box and jump over then i run it counterclockwise. Bit depth is critical in controlling the rotozip I like 1/4" passed the depth of my Sheetrock. It took me a little bit when I first started rotozipping. Have fun building.

The Ram

posted by The Ram | on Tue, 2013-05-21 12:26
clips

Perfectly screwed?

Can you show a picture of the perfectly set drywall screw?

And you say "Make sure your drywall screw bit is set right," ... how do you set it? A picture of the bit and how you change settings would be helpful.

Great tips about the horizontal sheets and picking the best lengths and even special widths to minimize seams and cutitng.

posted by Tsu Dho Nimh | on Wed, 2013-05-22 07:26
clips
The Ram's picture

This is a properly set screw.

This is a properly set screw. Just below the surface but not breaking the paper.

This is one that went to deep. Breaking the paper.

This is a Sheetrock screw bit. Hope this helps

posted by The Ram | on Thu, 2013-05-23 00:51

How to account for wonky stud wall?

I would like to finish a room in the basement. I put a straightedge against the wall and noticed that it is bowed. How do I fix this so the wall will be flat when I drywall.

Thanks
Kelli in Peters Creek AK

posted by KelliSean | on Tue, 2013-06-04 13:27

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