Do you have a home improvement project to work on? Does watching home improvement on TV make you want to tackle a project in your own home? I have this habit of regularly watching HGTV and the DIY network. If you’re like me, you enjoy watching people build new houses and see the creativity that they show in their designs. You may also like to watch people remodel, reconfigure, and restore old houses.
As a drywall contractor, it gives me a lot of ideas to implement, and ways to improve my techniques. But I also notice that there are many examples of what not to do. There is an improper use of tools, strange orders of completing tasks, and just an overall sense of people just not knowing what to do. Sometimes it is kind of entertaining, but sometimes it’s frustrating. When tackling these projects, I get the idea that a lot of people just don’t realize what they don’t know.
So I wanted to take a few minutes to just clarify some things about drywall hanging that can make it easier for those who don’t do it for a living. I’ve read many articles of people taking on home projects that they really aren’t prepared for. They aren’t sure of what to do, what tools to use, or the easiest ways to install a sheet of drywall.
So here is a short list of basic tools you’ll need to get started. There are obviously multiple ways to do things; I’m just listing the methods I feel work the best for me. And I feel that these methods will work well for those with little or no experience. Depending on the size of your project could also determine some of the tools that you will use. This article is most useful for hanging drywall on a side wall of a room. Moving on.
Tools You’ll Need
Some of the tools you’ll need to make this job easier:
- Tape measure
- Utility knife (Fresh blade)
- Screw gun
- Drywall adhesive/Glue gun- This adhesive ensures the drywall is secured to your wall.
- Keyhole saw
- Electric or cordless cutout tool (Router)
- Philips Screwdriver
Okay, now you have your tools ready…let’s get started. Too many people try to cut corners and don’t use the proper tools for their tasks; please don’t be one of those people.
The first to do is measure the wall or patch where you’ll be hanging your drywall. Measure twice, so you can cut once. Mark any electrical boxes, wires, etc, that will need to be cut out or poked through the drywall. Write the measurements down. Make sure to cut the holes for wires before hanging the sheet.
The next thing you’ll need is your utility knife. Be sure to use a fresh blade, as that makes cutting drywall much easier, and makes the cuts much cleaner. You’ll know when it’s time to change your blade because the cuts will become harder and start grabbing more of the paper on the drywall.
The easiest and quickest way to cut is using a T-square. Measure the top of the sheet, make a mark, and line the T-square up with the right side of the square on your mark. Next, you want to score the drywall with your utility knife down along the square, scoring the entire width of the sheet. Step around behind the sheet at your score mark, and push your knee into the sheet at the score mark, and the sheet should break. Then you can use your knife to cut the back side of the drywall paper to finish the cut. Now you’ll have two pieces of drywall. You can see an example of how to measure and cut a sheet using a T-square here.
The next thing you’ll need is your screw gun. Personally, I use a cordless Makita screw gun, but most tool manufacturers offer some type of corded and cordless screw gun; DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Ryobi are a few of the main ones. You can find some of these choices here.
Hanging the sheet
Now you can hang the sheet, right? Almost there.
First, use your glue gun, and put some drywall adhesive on the studs of the wall you’re covering.
Now you’re ready to hang your sheet. If you’re hanging the sheet alone, be careful. Drywall is heavy and awkward.
To make it easier, tap two nails into the top of the sheet to secure it initially. Like this:
Now lift it into place, and drive the nails into the studs or top wall plate.
After the sheet is secure, use your screw gun to put screws into the sheet. One screw in every stud along the bottom of the sheet, four screws up the sides, and screws every 12-16 inches across the top. You can see an example here.
If there are electrical boxes to cut out, be sure to cut them out before you put a bunch of screws in the sheet. If you put too many screws in the sheet and haven’t cut out the electrical box, it will blow out the sheet around the box. That just creates more work in the finishing process. Remember, more work when finishing means more time when finishing.
By taking your time, and outlining your steps, you can be sure to have what you need and will succeed in hanging your drywall yourself.
These are just the basic steps of hanging drywall. It is not an exhaustive list. We all know there are many variables in the houses, rooms, or garages where you may be installing drywall. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I would be glad to help. Contact Me