Building contractors and do it yourself type homeowners both use dry-wall to cover exposed wood studs, insulation, plumbing pipes and electrical cable and wires to give a room a smooth finished look. Drywall goes by many different names including wallboard, gypsum board or sheetrock. Sheetrock is a brand name type of dry-wall. Drywall consists of a chalky, hardened substance, known as gypsum that has a thick paper covering. Drywall also covers exposed studs, plumbing, wiring and insulation in ceilings.
Dry wall comes in 4 by 8 foot panels that are anywhere from ¼ inch to 5/8 inch thick, but most homes have ½ inch thick wallboard as a covering. Some homeowners and builders choose to use specialty dry-wall, which is either water resistant or fire resistant depending on where they are hanging it. A typical basement or laundry room would be better served with a water resistant dry-wall whereas the area around a fireplace would be better served with fire resistant dry-wall. Wallboard manufacturers add a penetrating chemical to the panels to make them water or fire resistant. Specialized wallboard is generally more expensive than its standard counterpart. The installation process is the same for any gypsum core panel or sheet.
Ask someone to help you install the dry-wall. It is a very difficult project to finish alone.
Grab one end of a dry-wall sheet while a helper grabs the opposite end or place the panel on a dry-wall jack. Drywall jacks are hand controlled metal lifter that you pump a handle and it lifts the wallboard up, much like a car jack.
Place the dry-wall sheet at the top corner of the room, lining it up to the corner or the room and the line of the ceiling. If there are any obstacles or cutouts such as around electrical outle
ts or windows, use a pencil to draw the exact size of the obstacle on the dry-wall. Lower the sheet to the ground and cut the obstacle out of the panel with a dry-wall saw.
Lift the panel back up to the ceiling, aligned with the corner of the room.
Place a dry-wall screw on the wallboard, lining it up to the wall stud under the panel. Drive the screw through the wallboard into the wood stud behind it with a power screwdriver or drill equipped with a screwdriver bit. Drive the next screw through the wallboard into the adjacent stud, typically 16 inches away from the first stud. Continue to drive screws through the sheet into the studs along the entire top of the dry-wall panel. Then drive screws through the dry-wall every 6 to 8 inches in a straight line down from the top screw. You will end up will lines of screws coming down the wallboard every 6 to 8 inches.
Only start screwing the dry-wall no closer than ½ inch from the edge of the drywall. If you are closer to the edge than ½ inch there will not be enough wallboard at the edge to have good holding power.
When sinking the screws into the drywall sink them in just far enough so the paper covering is dimpled. Do not drive them in until the paper rips. If the paper rips you will weaken the holding power of the screw and the area will become a problem later. Practice setting screws into scraps of drywall until you get the hang of how far to drive them in.
Take a second drywall panel and fit it as tightly as possible to the first panel. Use a pencil to mark any areas that need to be cut out to fit around an obstacle. Lower the drywall and ma
ke your necessary cuts with the drywall saw.
Put the second sheet back in place and fit it as tight as possible to the first sheet. Drive screws along the top of the panel through the drywall into the wood studs and spaced every 6 to 8 inches down the face of the panel just as you did when you hung the first sheet. Continue to tightly fit the drywall panels, mark the obstacles, cut out obstacles with the drywall saw, lift the sheet back in place and screw it in tightly to the underlying wall stud until sheetrock covers the whole room.
Pour powdered drywall joint compound also known as drywall mud or just mud into a large bucket or trough. Add water to the powdered mud according to the joint compound manufacturer’s instructions. Insert a paddle mixer into a power drill and blend the powder and water until it becomes a thick, yet pliable paste.
Scoop up some of the drywall mud with a drywall knife. Hold the knife at a low angle to the wall and drag it across while pressing the mud into the seams between the drywall panels.
Line up a piece of self sticking fiberglass mesh drywall tape to the top of the gap at the ceiling and pull the tape down toward the floor. Use a clean drywall knife to press the tape into the wet mud. Repeat for each seam between each panel. The fiberglass mesh tape will run both horizontally and vertically in the room.
Scoop up more mud and pull it down the length and across the width of the tape to embed the tape in the joint compound. As you move the drywall knife away from the tape make the layer of mud thinner and thinner, a process called feathering.
Dip a narrow drywall knife into the joint compound, scoop up some mud. Hold the knife at a low angle to the wall next to the screw heads. Pull the knife across the screw heads while distributing mud into the heads and across them to hide the screws.
Let the mud dry for an hour or two on the walls. Keep the mud in the bucket or trough t
ightly covered so it does not dry out. Once it dries out it will be useless.
Wrap 220-grit sandpaper around a sanding block and sand the surface of the mud so it becomes smooth and flush with the wall panel.
Look at the mud and run your hand across it to feel for and look for depressions and divots in the mud. If you find any, fill them in with more mud.
Wipe the walls down with a tack rag to remove dust before priming the walls.
One of the biggest benefits of drywall is you can repair damage such as holes and cracks easily.
Consider adding dimension and depth to the walls in your room with wall texture.