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Drywall Tips
October 21, 2004 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Drywalling: putting up gyproc over an insulated interior wall. From cutting to affixing to mudding, what tips and tricks have you learned? Aside from learning to pay someone else to do it, though I suspect that's ultimately the lesson...
posted by five fresh fish to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
 
Cutting:

Measure first, score the outward facing side (using a straightedge) and snap. Run blade up back of fold.

Affixing:

Use drywall screws. Set them about 1/16" into the drywall. Build a T-bar out of 2x4"s to help you jack up against the ceiling, if you're doing any up there.

The lap within corners has to go a certain way due to the way the corners are framed. Some framers will have added an extra jack on both sides of the corner for the drywall to affix to, but some (especially newer construction) will have an extra jack on one side only. You will want the overlap to occur on the side with more framing to screw onto.

Mudding:

Do your best with the knives, especially on the seams. Use mesh, not paper tape. Instead of sanding, use a damp sponge to cut the rough spots down and then finish-sand if you have to.

Quite honestly, the sponge trick is the best one you could learn. It saves a huge amount of mess and makes the mudding look great.

If you're trying to match a texture on existing walls, good luck. It's pretty hard to do that, especially if the texture on existing walls was blown on with a machine. If you are putting on new texture, glopping a bit into your hand and making peaks with your hand will create a very cool texture. Wait until it dries and then cut with the sponge.
posted by tomierna at 8:36 PM on October 21, 2004 [1 favorite]


I did drywall for my father during summers and after school from fifth grade through twelfth. 30 years later, I still consider myself an expert but when I need a major job done, I call someone else.

My advice if you insist on doing it yourself is to invest in the best facemasks you can find for when you start sanding. Those $3 pieces of crap won't cut it.
posted by mischief at 10:10 PM on October 21, 2004


A neat trick for cutting the outlet and light switch holes in exactly the right place is to coat the edges of the electrical boxes with colored chalk. Align the drywall board on the wall, press lightly in the area where the hole will be. Take it down, look at the back side, and you will have a nice chalk outline precisely where you need to cut.
posted by Alylex at 3:27 AM on October 22, 2004


It looks easier to put the drywall up vertically, but it's much easier to go horizontally. Put a few drywall screws in the studs 4 feet from the ceiling so as to act as a ledge and hoist the sheet on top of them then screw it to the wall.
posted by plinth at 3:40 AM on October 22, 2004


Cutting and affixing are pretty easy -- I did them myself when I finished my basement. I hired someone to do the mudding and taping, which I understand is quite a job, and takes someone with experience to do it right.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:52 AM on October 22, 2004


Punched paper-tape will be easier to mud than plastic mesh tape. Regarding the ceiling: most hardware stores will have a drywall lift thingy that you can rent pretty cheaply; it's easier and safer than alternatives. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT DRY SANDING. Bucket, water, sponge. Easier, harder to make a mistake, no mess, no coughing, no dried out skin and hair, no gunky boogers.

Plinth is right about horizontal orientation; it's also harder to see seams that way.

Your hardware store or library should have a book. It's really not that difficult, just futzy with the mudding.
posted by mimi at 6:54 AM on October 22, 2004


When doing the finish coat of mud, shine a painter's light along the wall (at a low angle)---this shows all the surface irregularities very clearly. Significaly reduces the need for sanding in my evperience.
posted by bonehead at 6:57 AM on October 22, 2004


fine homebuidling's website had some decent articles last time I checked.

thin the final coat, 3 cups of water per 5 gallons
posted by probablysteve at 7:14 AM on October 22, 2004


When finished with the drywall work apply one coat of primer and -- yes, believe it -- sand the entire surface. This final touch before your second and thrid coats of paint will make all the difference in the world. How much it willl make up for drywall sins, I can not predict but it has the effect fo giving the entire surface the same texture. It may not seem like much but will be huge in the end.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:57 AM on October 22, 2004 [1 favorite]


What's so special about drywall screws, anyway? Why wouldn't decking screws, interior flooring screws, or gyproc nails work?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2004


Any imperfection you can see while installing (mudding problems, mostly) will still be there when you're finished, and more obvious looking. Sad, but true.

If you're doing walls, install the sheets horizontally starting at the ceiling edge (top down). It's better to get a factory edge at the top of the ceiling rather than at the bottom of the floor, you're going to cover the floor edge up with something.

Box cutters are fine for snapping whole boards. For interior cuts, get yourself a Rotozip if you want to spend $ on tools, or a sheet rock saw (or other low profile/small tooth saw).

Get A Dimpler! (Or any of 1000 similar products). It's easy to drive a sheetrock screw right through the paper which basically ruins that screw. If you're using a drill or driver to screw in, get one from your local hardware store. If it's got moving parts, get 2. You'll bust one.

Re: Sheetrock screws -- the most pertinent thing is that they are curved between the head and the shaft of the screw. They also have fewer threads per inch which means they're a bit easier to drive. Also: Flat heads so that once they're in the dimple you can mud over the top.

You certianly can use other screws, they might not work as well. Sheet rock screws are probably cheaper anyway.

Nails will work too, but nailing's a bit harder. If you're hand-nailing, you'll hit the sheet at some point. Which means more mudding. Plus, you have to swing a hammer (which sounds fun at first, but sucks after an hour or so).

I haven't ever used a nailer for sheet rocking, but if you can find one that gives you dimples it's probably worth it. I understand nails don't hold as well as screws, but I think they probably hold well enough...
posted by daver at 9:14 AM on October 22, 2004


You can buy a neat little driver bit for your drill that will leave just the right depth dimple into the drywall without breaking the paper. Not sure how to describe it but they should be able to point you to it at the store. It has a little sleeve around the screw head that pushes the bit away just as it comes into contact with the wall.
posted by jacobsee at 9:15 AM on October 22, 2004


Drywall nails were used at a time when it was slower to put in a screw than a nail. Now with power drills, drywall screws go in as fast as nails and to a more consistent depth. Screws hold tighter than nails and are less likely to give you nail pops. I also think that a drywall screw setter is a fine investment. They help you drive the screws in to the "ideal" depth, but get two or three since they can get chewed up faster than regular philips bits.
I think it's a good thing to try just about any home repair task if you're confident and after that decide how you feel about hiring a pro. For example, I hate drywall. Hate, hate, hate. I've done 2.5 rooms and will be happy to never do another again. I don't mind painting. My wife and I painted the interior and exterior of our house and garage except for the really scary bits. I like tile work as long as it's on the floor. Can't stand wall work and will fight to not do it again. Don't mind doing floor repair. (shameless self-linking)
posted by plinth at 9:34 AM on October 22, 2004


Fortunately, I'm only doing 11 feet of wall. 2 1/2 sheets.

That said, I buggered it up already. Thank goodness gyproc is relatively cheap. Also, it's for a workshop, so I just might leave them buggered, and get on with other things. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 2:18 PM on October 22, 2004


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