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!
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:
T-square or straight edge
Utility knife and extra blades
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
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.
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.
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.
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!