Proper edge support
Framing at inside corners is often inadequate or
lacking altogether, making it impossible to fasten
the edge of the drywall.
The solution is to inspect the framing before you
start hanging drywall. Make sure there's at least 1 in. of
exposed framing at corners. If not, add another 2x4
alongside the existing framing (photo).
Especially check along the top of walls that run parallel
to the ceiling framing. Normally blocking is nailed to
the top plate of the wall during the framing phase, but
it's often missing. If you have to add blocking and don't
have room to swing a hammer, drive screws into the
blocking at an angle from below.
Mark framing locations
If you forget to mark the location
of framing members
before you cover them with
drywall, you'll have a hard time
placing the screws accurately
(wrong way). For foolproof screw
placement, make these marks and
use them as a guide to draw a light
pencil line across the sheet (right way).
Then you'll be able to place
screws quickly and accurately. And
you won't have to waste time removing
screws that miss the framing.
Mark the location of ceiling joists
on the top plate of the wall framing.
Then mark the center of each stud
on the floor. Make note of unusual
framing so you'll know where to
place screws after it's covered with
drywall. After the ceiling drywall is
hung, mark the stud locations on
the ceiling with a pencil before you
start to hang drywall on the walls.
Avoid tapered edges on outside corners
If you hang a sheet of drywall with the tapered
edge along an outside corner, it will be hard to
install the corner bead accurately. The corner of
the bead will lie too low, making it difficult to cover
with joint compound. The solution is to place cut
edges along an outside corner (right way).
Check the fit before fastening
Even with careful measuring, you'll often run into an outlet
hole that doesn't quite fit. The common mistake is to screw
the drywall to the framing before trimming the opening.
Then the drywall will break around the electrical box (wrong way),
requiring extra time to patch. The key to solve this problem is to
check the fit before you press the drywall tight to the wall.
After carefully measuring and cutting out the openings in your
sheet of drywall, hold the drywall in place. If the fit is close, fasten the
sheet with a few screws along the top edge or well away from the outlet
openings. Trim excess drywall away along tight box edges with a
utility knife (Right Way 1) until the drywall slides easily over the outlet
boxes (Right Way 2). Then finish fastening the drywall.
Leave an 1/8-in. gap
There's no reason to measure and cut drywall for an exact fit. It'll
usually just cause trouble. Jamming in a piece that's too tight will
crumble the edge or break out a corner. And removing
a piece to shave a too-tight edge is messy and time consuming. A loose
fit avoids this problem. Cut it to leave about a 1/8-in. gap at edges. In fact,
when you're hanging the ceiling, keep in mind that 1/2 in. along the
perimeter will be covered by drywall on the walls. And the same is true of
inside wall corners. So you can safely cut these pieces 1/4 in. less than the
actual measurement and leave a gap in the corner if necessary. Even a
piece whose edges aren't covered should be cut a little short. It's easier to
fill a 1/8-in. gap with setting-type compound than to cut and repair a broken
edge or corner.
Taping drywall is time consuming and tedious
enough without adding extra joints, especially
those hard-to-tape butt joints (wrong way). So plan your job to use the longest and largest
sheets possible. And don't scrimp on materials.
Drywall is cheap.
If the walls you're planning to drywall are between
8 ft. 1 in. and 9 ft. 1 in. tall, consider ordering special
54-in.-wide sheets of drywall to avoid an extra horizontal
joint. You'll find 54-in.-wide drywall at drywall
suppliers, or you can special-order it from most home
centers and lumberyards. You'll also speed up your
job by using 12-ft.-long sheets of drywall rather than
standard 8-footers (right way). However, hauling
12-ft. sheets is difficult and getting them into the
house can be challenging. For large jobs, have the drywall
delivered. Many drywall suppliers will even stack
the drywall in the house for an extra fee.
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Avoid future cracks
Avoid lining up a sheet of drywall with the
edge of a door or window opening (wrong way). Your home tends to shift and settle
slightly, and that movement shows up at the corners
of windows and doors. A joint at this location, even if
it's well taped, is weaker than solid drywall. Chances
are it'll crack in the future.
It's better to notch drywall around openings rather
than to make a joint. For interior walls, simply continue
over the opening with a full sheet and cut out the
opening after you fasten the sheet (right way).
Windows on exterior walls are a little trickier. Measure
and notch the sheet before hanging it. Get help when
hanging notched sheets because the skinny section
above the opening is often fragile. It's OK to join
sheets over an opening (and often easier if you're
working alone) as long as the joint isn't in line with