Installing drywall on the ceiling or the wall can be done by most do-it-yourselfers using ½" or 5/8" drywall panels. It requires minimum tools. For installing panels on the ceiling, it is easier with two people with bracing made from two crossed studs. However, it is possible for one person to do it by renting a drywall jack.
Before proceeding with the installation of the drywall panels, be sure to provide wiring for electrical outlets and switches and make sure all plumbing fixtures are in place.
The wall is framed with 2" thick (and either 4" or 6" deep) wood studs placed every 16" or 24" centre to centre.
For best results use screws, not nails. Use coarse-thread screws for wooden studs and fine-thread screws for steel studs.
A dimpling attachment for the drill will prevent screws from going to deep.
If you decide to go with nails, use a specially designed hammer. It's fitted with a slightly curved and textured head which doesn't damage the panel and it leaves a slight embossing that promotes the adherence of joint compound.
If hanging panel on concrete, such as the basement, you need to add strapping or furring to the wall to fasten the panel. Make sure to use proper insulation and a construction-grade vapour seal before closing the wall.
Make T-Supports to hold sheets on the ceiling. These are 8' pieces of wood with cross pieces nailed at the top (like a telephone pole) to hold up ceiling panels for fastening. A drywall jack can also be rented.
Wear tight-fitting gloves to protect your hands when cutting and to grip the sheets.
Choose the panel size that is the easiest to install depending on the dimensions of the room. When installing drywall sheets, it is important to avoid aligning the joints. This way, you will not have a joint running top to bottom, which could be difficult to hide.
1.1. Measure both laterally and vertically each wall and ceiling area to cover.
1.2. Calculate the total area to cover, that is, the wall area plus the ceiling area.
1.3. Divide this number by the area of the drywall panel sizes that you selected (32 sq. ft. for a 4' x 8' panel and 48 sq. ft. for a 4' x 12' panel) and add 5% loss ratio. The result is the number of sheets required to cover the area.
1.4. Count 5 ¼ lb of 1 5/8" drywall nails or 1,100 of 1 ¼" drywall screws for every 1,000 sp. ft. For ½" drywall use 1-5/8" screws; for 5/8" drywall use 2" screws.
2.1. Cut the drywall sheet to fit by scoring the paper with the gypsum knife along a straight edge. A T-square is advised as it will be easier to follow than two marked points on the sheet.
2.2. Place the scored line over a 2" X 4" and snap down on the sheet to break it.
2.3. Run the knife underneath the fold to cut the lower paper sheet.
2.4. Lightly sand down the edge to flatten any irregularities.
As studs expand and contract with temperature variation, nails can work and get out so screws are preferable to nails. Use a drywall insert bit to screw. For ½" drywall use 1-5/8" screws; for 5/8" drywall use 2" screws. For attaching drywall to wood, always use a special drywall screw with a coarse thread. With walls that have steel studs, a fine thread is preferable.
3.1. Place drywall sheet on the wall and mark the sheet with a pencil to indicate the position of the studs.
3.2. Hang drywall panels every 16" on walls and every 12" on center on ceilings.
3.3. Insert screws or nails through the drywall to a depth below the surface of the sheet being careful not to break the paper. If using nails, fasten board into place being careful not to pound the nail to deep or break the paper. Never nail in an area of the sheet that the tape will not cover as this will leave a hole that has to be fixed later.
4.1. Build a 2" x 4” T-brace or rent a drywall jack to lift the drywall boards and hold them in place.
4.2. Verify if the joists are straight and level. If so, add construction adhesive on the joists above the first panel.
4.3. If the joists are not level, install furring perpendicularly on the beams at intervals of 16" from the center and shim where needed.
4.4. Measure the ceiling and determine where the drywall will meet the joists. The sheet should be about ¼" from the corner wall studs.
4.5. Put the longest panel and, beginning at the center of the panel, screw in place at 12" intervals or 7" if using nails.
4.6. Make sure to insert screw into the drywall board at 3/8" to ½" from the edge.
4.7. Keep the drywall sheets tightly set against the ceiling structure to make sure that there is no give, which could create “nail pops”.
5.1. Dust the ceiling lights box fixture with chalk line powder or lipstick.
5.2. Fit the gypsum board against the fixture. The dust will leave marks where the hole must be cut.
5.3. Measure for any outlets or other fixtures and poke a hole with the keyhole saw to get it started. Cut along the line with the keyhole saw, a circle cutter or a hole saw bit and an electrical drill and place board up again to make sure the opening is correct. Usually the lip of the outlet is above the surface of the drywall so cut it large enough for the sheet to fit over it.
5.4. Fit the board and screw into place as with the other panels.
6.1. Mark the position of the studs directly on the floor. These marks will help you fasten the panels as you hang them on the wall.
6.2. Measure the wall and determine where the drywall will meet the studs. The sheet should be about ¼" from the corner and should overlap the stud by about ¾" or half the studs’ width. If needed, add another 2" x 4" alongside the existing framing to ensure the is sufficient backing.
6.3. Position panels with the longest edge parallel to the floor as it reduces the number of seams to fill and makes it easier as it is at height level.
6.4. Hang the first panel close to the ceiling.
6.5. For the following panels, avoid aligning the joints. For example, with a 12' long wall, if you are using 4' × 8' sheet install the first one on the top part of the wall and add next to it a 4' × 4’ piece. For the lower part of the wall, install the
4' × 4' sheet directly under the 4' × 8' sheet. This way, you will not have a joint running top to bottom, which could be difficult to hide.
6.6. Position the lower panel as to leave a gap of ½" between the panel and the floor.
6.7. Cut the piece for the outside corners longer so that it protrudes over the corner. This can be trimmed it down later.
7.1. Dust outlets with chalk line powder or lipstick and fit the panels against the obstacles. The dust will leave marks where the holes must be cut. Use a measuring tape to verify the indications are perfect.
7.2. Layout along the lines and only cut through three sides with the keyhole saw.
7.3. Score the fourth side with a utility knife and push open the flap. Cut off the flap with the knife.
7.4. Place board up again to make sure the opening is correct. Usually the lip of the outlet is above the surface of the drywall so cut it large enough for the sheet to fit over it.
7.5. Trim excess drywall with the utility knife.
7.6. Screw the panel in place.
8.1. Remove window or door casing being careful not to damage the pieces.
8.2. Clean the studs of any nails or debris.
8.3. Measure the panels so that there will not be any seams near the window or door
8.4. Place panel on the wall and screw in place.
8.5. Cut the drywall along the rough stud opening once fasten to the studs.
8.6. Fasten along the side panels at 3/8" to ½" from the edge.
9.1. Measure the height of the wall and, if needed, cut the corner piece with aviator snips to fit.
9.2. Trim off any excess drywall protruding over the edges of the corner.
9.3. Press the corner piece into place over the two edges of drywall and tack nail it to hold it. Take care to keeping it straight.
9.4. Place a level against it to make sure it is level. Adjust accordingly and nail or screw into place.
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