Drywall Installation Planning

Drywall installation in a home that is in the beginning stages of construction is sometimes easier to accomplish than in an existing home where the drywall is in need of repair or replacement. Walls, particularly in older homes, may not be exactly square due to settling or natural disasters such as flooding. This makes drywall installation more difficult due to additional cutting and fitting.

Drywall Installation due to Holes or other Small Damage

  • In some cases, small holes can be repaired by using putty. In addition, a small hole can be taped and floated. Use drywall tape and apply with a drywall compound referred to as “mud.” When dry, sand it smooth and paint to match the rest of the wall.
  • A small hole in drywall can be repaired by cutting out the area around the hole, back to a point where you can nail braces between two wall studs to provide something to nail a piece of drywall to. Tape and float the spaces between the new and old drywall, sand, and paint.

Drywall Installation after a Flood or Major Water Leak

  • After a flood or major water leak (such as a broken water pipe), drywall that gets wet needs to be removed. Even with only 3 inches of water, it is best to remove the drywall 4 feet up from the floor. Drywall tends to soak up water. By removing this much, you will be sure to get all of the wet pieces. Since most electrical outlets are within this 4 feet range, removing 4 feet of drywall will allow for any needed repairs or replacement of the electrical wiring.
  • Tear out the insulation and reinstall. Insulation soaks up water and it is best to replace all of it to avoid mold and mildew.
  • Tape and float by filling in nail holes with mud. Tape and mud spaces between sheets of drywall. This is made easier by butting each sheet up with the next as close as possible. When dry, sand smooth.

Drywall Installation for a Room Addition or New Home

  • Build a "T" by putting a 2-inch x 4-inch cross piece on top of a 2-inch x 4-inch piece of lumber so that the “cross” is slightly taller than the ceiling. Install drywall on the ceiling first. The drywall on the wall will then support the drywall on the ceiling. Usually, ¼-inch drywall is sufficient for any ceiling. It is less heavy and cumbersome. Use the "T" to help support each sheet while nailing.
  • Install drywall on the walls horizontally, butting the first row up with the drywall on the ceiling.

Nails vs. Screws

  • If you are comfortable using a screw-gun, drywall tends to hold better with screws. However,  a special drywall hammer can help set nails so that they don’t go in too far and crack the surface of the drywall.
  • Another important tool to use when installing drywall is a square. Use it to mark holes for electrical switch plates and for cut lines.