Drywalling a Pole Barn
A pole barn can be finished inside by adding drywall to the interior walls. Depending on the method used to build the pole barn, the drywall may need additional framing beneath it, and a pole barn needs insulation prior to drywall installation so moisture does not rot the drywall. If interior walls have been built to separate areas of the barn, the drywall can be hung from the wall framing just like in a home.
Check the framing of the pole barn to be sure it is adequate and the correct type for adding drywall. Drywall should not be attached directly to the inside of exterior post and beam walls as moisture will wick through the siding and the drywall will become saturated. A vapor barrier and some kind of insulation is needed between exterior walls and drywall, in addition to proper framing that supports the drywall.
Construct 2-by-4 wall framing for the drywall if necessary. If the exterior walls are already framed and insulation or a vapor barrier is in place, the drywall can be installed directly.
Build interior framing by creating a box frame the dimension of the walls with 2-by-4 lumber. Two 2-by-4 boards the length of the wall form the sill (bottom) and top plate of the frame. Add studs to the frame with studs at 16 inches on center or 24 inches on center. Homes use the 16-inch on center dimension, while garages commonly use the 24-inch method. Begin with an 8-foot 2-by-4 stud placed between the top and bottom plates at one end and nail it in place. Nail through the top and bottom boards into the end of the stud. Do this at the other outer end. Now add the inner wall studs in the same manner. Frames can be made in sections, 2-by-4 boards are produced in lengths all the way up to 24-feet, and height is most commonly a standard 8-foot length but can be 10 feet if higher ceilings are needed.
Anchor the frames to the floor or ceiling with L brackets. Connect frames together on long walls with a top sill. Add a second 2-by-4 to the frame on top of the top frame piece and connect the frames by cutting them and making lengths that span the joints.
Install drywall sheets beginning on one corner of the wall, working from the top down. Make sure the drywall is set square onto the framing and tight into the corner. Screw or nail every 8 to 12 inches along the stud lines across the sheet of drywall.
Place the sheets in rows, cutting the last sheet of the first row to the length needed to complete the space. Use a straight edge like a yard stick and score the gypsum board, then snap the excess along the score line. It can also be cut with a saw, but gypsum board creates a large amount of dust and can be done just as easily by hand.
Begin the next row on the end where the first row stopped, so that the vertical seams between the sheets are staggered from row to row.
Leave a 1/2-inch clearance at the bottom of the walls between the drywall and the floor. Drywall over window, door and fixture areas and cut them out later to ensure a good fit.
Spread a thin line of joint compound on all seams with a taping knife. Lay a piece of drywall seam tape into the joint compound on all seams and smooth into place. Allow to dry, then add another layer of joint compound over top of the tape so that it is embedded and no longer visible.
Sand all the drywall seams until they are smooth, so the wall is even and seamless.
Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.
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