Installing Drywall, or hanging drywall as professionals usually refer to task, can be done by homeowner. However, it is usually best done with two or more people as it requires significant lifting of heavy material. Mudding and Taping can also be performed by homeowner, however these tasks require some practice and artistry.
Measuring and Ordering Drywall
Prior to actually hanging drywall, material first needs to be ordered and delivered. To determine how much material to order, measure all of surface area, starting with ceilings and then walls. Calculate total square feet and divide by 32. The result should give you number of 4’x 8’ sheets of drywall required for job. I would also recommend adding another 5-10% to this figure to account for inefficiencies. Drywall does come in larger sheets, such as 4’x12’, however for a Do-it-Yourself homeowner these larger sheets can become unwieldy and maybe even impossible to bring into existing home.
For bathrooms or other moist areas Greenboard should probably be used as this material is moisture resistance.
For bathroom areas where ceramic tile is to be applied, e.g. Shower/Bathtub areas, Concrete board should be used. The concrete board is also referred to as Wonderboard or Durock.
Joint Compound and Fiberglass tape will also be required for Taping and Mudding. Joint Compound typically comes ready-mixed in 5 gallon containers. I would suggest 1-2 containers per 500 square feet of drywall. Fiberglass tape is quite inexpensive so I would suggest picking up 2 to 3 roles for most Do-it-Yourself drywall projects.
Drywall screws or ringed nails will also be required. Typically I use 1.25” length screws or nails. Also, strips of corner bead will be required. Drywall Tools
Prior to starting drywall installation, you need to obtain proper tools. A Drywall Lift really comes in handy when hanging sheetrock/drywall on ceilings. You can rent Drywall Lifts at hardware or home improvement stores. If your budget does not allow for this cost, Jacks (or Ts) can be made out of 2”x 4”s. The Jacks (or Ts) should be of a length such that they are just an inch or two taller than height of ceiling and have a cross beam that is approximately 3’ in width. Usually there are a couple of 45o angle braces connecting crossbar to main stem of Jack. The Jack can then be used to hold up drywall to ceiling while it is screwed/nailed into place. In addition to Lift or Jacks, a drywall screw gun, hammer, T-square, carpenters knife, drywall saw and a keyhole saw are required. The keyhole saw is used for cutting around electrical boxes.
If mudding and taping are to be performed then Taping knifes, a Corner knife, sand paper, a pole sander and a Mud easel or pan will be necessary. For taping knifes you will need a 6” wide blade and a 12” wide blade.
Preparing site for Drywall
Prior to hanging drywall, make sure building inspector has first approved Framing, Plumbing, Electrical and Insulation jobs. Secondly, a vapor barrier should be applied over insulation on outside walls if un-faced insulation was installed. Frequently sheets of plastic are used for creating vapor barrier. The plastic is simply stapled to framing, covering insulation. Finally, inspect all of framing carefully. Ensure that nailers (e.g. 2” x 4”s) are existent at each corner and header, that framing is straight, and that framed walls create smooth planes. In addition, ceiling should have strapping applied (1” x 3” cross boards). Also, make sure metal protection plates have been installed to studding where sheetrock screws or nails could inadvertently penetrate plumbing pipes or electrical wire.
Drywall installation is dirty, heavy work. The Gypsum in drywall can be irritating to eyes, lungs and sinuses so wear safety goggles and masks to avoid breathing in material. Gloves are also recommended to protect against sharp blades.
Start with ceiling as this will allow sheets on walls to help hold sheets on ceiling. Use Drywall lift or Jacks to hold sheets in place while screwing or nailing them to ceiling. The screws or nails should be installed such that they are slightly recessed and create a small dimple without breaking paper. Screws or nails should be applied every 8 to 12 inches on each stud. Screws are typically stronger and can be placed further apart, e.g. 12 inches. It is best to fasten screws/nails to edges of drywall first and then fill in field afterwards.
Rows of drywall should be applied in a staggered pattern. This will create an interlocked pattern that creates a tighter and stronger ceiling/wall. After ceiling has been completed it its time to move on to walls. Drywall should be applied from top down, with sheets hung perpendicular to floor joists or studs. Again rows should be staggered. The bottom piece should sit about ½ inches from sub-floor.
For purposes of efficiency and strength it is best to apply large sheets of drywall over doors and window openings and cut out excess later. This will create stronger/cleaner looking walls and save significant time.
Installing Corner bead
Once drywall has been installed, corner bead should be applied to all outside edges. Corner bead should be nailed every 6-8 inches and penetrate framing.