How to Install Drywall

Sheetrock or Gyproc or drywall are all the same product.

Hanging drywall

Consisting of a central core made primarily of gypsum covered with heavy paper on both sides, drywall is inexpensive and can be nailed, glued or screwed, as well as painted or papered). It can also be a challenge for novices to work with, but with some practice, a handy homeowner can install it.

Finish all the electrical, plumbing and insulation work that is necessary in your walls before you begin to install any drywall.

Mark the location of the wall studs on both the floor and ceiling, so you will be able to find them when you begin installing the sheet rock.

Lay a piece of scrap on the floor to raise the drywall off the floor (about 1/2 inch).

Starting in a corner, place the drywall onto the scrap and butt it into the corner. Ensure the other end of the sheet falls onto the center of a wall stud. (Sheets can be installed either vertically or horizontally. Most pros like to install it horizontally, since this means fewer joints to fill and the main seam is about four feet off the floor - a comfortable height to work at.)

Use drywall nails or your drywall gun and drywall screws to fasten the sheet in a couple of places to hold it. Now go back, and starting in the corner, push the drywall sheet tightly against the wall studs and fasten the sheet to all the studs it is covering. Place screws every 6 to 8 inches.

Continue around the perimeter of the room, butting sheets against each other, ensuring the ends are centered on wall studs, until the lower section is finished.

Measure from the top of the bottom sheet to where the top of the wall will be (this will be the height of the top piece of drywall). If the distance is less than 4 inches, cut the drywall sheet to the proper height and install it with the cut edge at the top.

Continue installing the top row all around the room.

Cutting drywall

Measure and mark where you want to cut the drywall. Use a straight edge or a chalk line to join the marks. Always mark and cut on the front side of the panel.

Using a sharp utility knife, score deeply along the cut line.

Stand the panel on edge and snap the cut section back.

Finish by cutting through the paper on the back with your utility knife.

Cutting around outlets

Measure from the edge of the outlet box to the edge of the panel and mark it. Now measure from the floor to both the top and bottom of the box and mark the panel. You should now have the outline of the box marked on the drywall.

Drill holes at the corners and then, using a drywall saw or a keyhole saw, cut the opening for the box.

Finishing drywall joints

Use a 6 inch taping knife to fill tapered joints (factory edge to factory edge) with a thin layer of joint compound (mud).

Center the drywall tape over the joint and run your knife along the tape, pushing it into the mud.

Cover with a thin layer of mud and let dry.

After the mud has dried (overnight), us a 12-inch taping knife to apply a 10-to-12-inch wide coat of mud, feathering or smoothing out the edges, and allow it to dry.

Apply the final coat of mud by thinning it slightly with some water and spreading a light coat over all the taped sections. Let it dry.

Sand the wall lightly in preparation for painting.

Follow a similar process (but using less mud on the first coat) for joints where cut edges butt against each other.

Finish inside corners by putting mud on both sides of the joint, folding the tape in half and then pressing it into the seam.

Attach metal corner beads to outside corners by nailing through the corner bead into the underlying stud and applying mud over the bead.

Things You Will Need

  • Utility knife, drywall saw or keyhole saw, drill and bit
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Measuring tape, straight edge or chalk line
  • Screw gun or hammer, drywall screws or drywall nails
  • Dust mask
  • Taping knives, 6 inch and 12 inch
  • Sheet rock
  • Drywall tape and joint compound

Tips

  • Drywall comes in large sheets (usually 4 feet by 8 feet but sheets as long as 10 feet or even 12 feet are available) and is available in various thicknesses. The thicker, longer sheets are heavier and more difficult to work with.
  • Offset the vertical seams in the upper and lower sections of the walls to make the walls stronger. Also ensure that there are no seams at the corners of windows or doors.
  • Drywall screws hold better than nails and can be removed if there is a problem. Consider renting a drywall gun to make the job easier. Screw guns have a magnetized tip to hold the screws and can be set to sink the screws to the proper depth.

Warnings

  • Drywall usually comes as two sheets packaged together, doubling the weight. If possible, get help to move it.
  • Always wear a dust mask when sanding the walls. The fine powder can easily get into your lungs.

About the Author

I learned home repair and maintenance hands on. Over the past 30 years I've built sheds, decks, fences and gates and planted numerous trees and shrubs. Inside I've done all the common jobs like repairing and installing toilets, plumbing and light fixtures plus I've transformed three basements from bare concrete floors and walls into warm , bright family rooms. I write on home maintenance and repair for DoItYourself.com and answer maintenance and repair questions online at MyHomeImprovement.com.