Drywall Dilemmas: Ten Do’s and Don’ts to make your Job Easier
If you’re new to drywalling, then there are some basic tools and methods that you need to familiarize yourself with. Here are the ten top things you should know to make your next drywalling project as easy as can be.
- Do the proper preparation
Before beginning any new project, you should have an inspection done to make sure that your work will comply with local building codes. You also want to measure your space carefully so you buy the right amount of drywall.
- Maintain a consistent climate
You may be surprised to hear it, but the climate of your space can have an impact on your drywalling job. Both temperature and humidity can affect joint treatment. You want to make sure that the area you are working in is at 55 degrees for two days before you start the project and two days after it is completed.
- Wear protective gear
The dust that comes off of drywall (gypsum dust) can cause a great deal of irritation to your eyes and lungs. You want to make sure that you wear goggles and a mask to protect yourself from any health issues. The air you are working in should also be well ventilated.
- Know Your Tools
The first thing you’ll need is a basic utility knife to cut the drywall. A T-square will also be useful when making square cuts and a drywall saw will come in handy when you have to make cuts around obstacles in the room. A keyhole saw will help make cuts for smaller obstacles (like electrical boxes).
You might find that getting drywall up on the ceiling is challenging. If so, then you might look into renting a drywall lift. This tool is used by professionals to hold drywall in place while it is nail or screwed to the joists.
To put those nails and screws in place, there are two tools you can use. First, there is a drywall hammer. This hammer is made so that it makes a dimple around the nail without actually breaking the surface of the paper. Second, you can use a drywall screw gun. This tool (like the drywall hammer) allows you to sink in the screw without damaging the surface of the paper.
There are also specific tools for finishing. Taping knives of different sizes will help you get a smooth joint. With each layer, you’ll want to use a taping knife that is one or two inches longer than the previous one you used.
- Know Your Fasteners
You can’t use just any old screws or nails you have lying around to install drywall. There are nails and screws specifically made for drywall that you will need to purchase at your local hardware or home improvement store. You should be using ring shank nails, which will hold the drywall in place and will prevent the nails from popping out later. There are also different size drywall screws depending on the thickness of your drywall.
- Cutting and FramingYou want to make sure that all of your studs are securely in place and that they are spaced out evenly. No edge should be unsupported by a distance of more than two feet and all corners should be nailed.
Whenever possible use a full sheet of drywall. When you need to make a cut, start by scoring the drywall with your utility knife. You should then be able to snap the drywall back and have it break away at the cut.
- Ensure proper insulation
Before sealing up your walls, you want to make sure that you have inserted the proper insulation. Moisture or vapor barriers are also important to consider.
- Know Your Compounds
Once your drywall is in place, you’ll want to move on to taping and finishing. Joint compounds come in powder form or they come in a pre-mixed state. If you are using a powder compound, there are two different textures. The first kind is a taping compound, which is used when at the taping stage. It is stronger and courser than topping compound, which is used for the finishing, coats. There is also all-purpose compound, which is halfway between a taping and topping compound.
- Finish the Joints
Before you start taping ensure that all fasteners are sunk down below the surface. You also want to make sure that corner beads are installed on all of your outside corners.
The taping process is actually a four step process that should take you about four days. You start with the tape coat, which is when you apply compound to the seams and insert paper joint tape. That first tape coat should level off everything. Your next two layers should smooth the surfaces and you should be using a slightly wider taping knife for each application. Your final coat is a finishing one.
- Sand, Prime and Paint
Now that your drywall is up, you can sand the room and then prime and paint. People are often quick to skip over the sanding process, but to ensure smooth walls; you’ll want to devote as much attention to this stage as any of the other.
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