How to Step up Your Drywalling Technique

While other home renovation jobs may require precision work, hanging drywall is not necessarily an exact process. There are, however, some facets of drywall hanging that you can finesse. Even though drywall compound and a few coats of fresh paint can cover many surface imperfections created during the installation process, your best bet is to hang in the drywall correctly so that there’s no need to hide flaws. The following tips will help to make your job of installing drywall much easier and the results more professional-looking.

Mark the Vertical Studs

Use a pencil to indicate the center point of each of the vertical studs. Place the marks on the floor and at the ceiling. If marking the surface with a pencil is not possible, place a small piece of painter’s tape to indicate the position of the stud. Once the drywall sheet has been hung, you will need to secure it to a stud to keep it in place.

Indicate the Stud Centers

Someone marking a stud on a wall with a pencil and stud finder.

When you've finished hanging your first sheet, use your pencil to mark the center of each stud. This will help in knowing where to secure the screws. You can use a chalk line or a laser level to draw in the lines.

Remove Protrusions

Use the hammer head to pound any protruding nails that might interfere with the way the drywall hangs. You will want your drywall to lay flat, but protruding nails can lead to bumps in your wall.

Use Proper Drywall Screws

A stack of drywall screws against a white background.

It’s important to use drywall screws with the correct thread and length. Screws with coarse threads are best for securing drywall sheets into wooden studs because they drive into wood more easily. You’ll need 1-1/4 inch screws for ½ inch drywall sheets. Shorter screws will not secure the panels properly and longer screws are difficult to get to the proper depth.

Position Your Work Lighting Properly

Place your work lighting to the side or bottom of your work space in order to be able to see any screw dimples. In order to secure your panel tightly, you’ll need to drive your screws the correct depth into the drywall. By placing your lighting properly you will be better able to see the position of the screw head. A screw that is sunk incorrectly will create problems during the mudding process so it’s important to secure them accurately.

Selecting Drywall

A man measuring a stack of drywall in a home improvement store.

There are three basic drywall thickness options. The ½ inch panels are used for framing maximum lengths of 16 inches. The 5/8 inch boards are used for ceilings and areas up to 24 inches. This type of board is fire-resistant. The ½ inch panels are water-resistant and best for humid spaces.

Get Mechanical Help

If you plan on doing some or all of the drywall work without any help from friends or family, consider renting a drywall lift to lessen the load. Visit your local rental shop and speak with a professional to learn more about using one. These devices will help you hoist the panels into the proper position. While we're on the topic, never try to install ceiling drywall on your own. You risk injuring yourself or damaging the drywall panel.

Cutting Your Wallboard

A man scoring a piece of drywall.

In order to cut your wallboard lengthwise it’s best to score along one side of the panel first. Once you have scored a line where you want to separate the board, go to the back side and snap it over your knee. Use a utility knife to cut through the backing paper. This will enable you to quickly and easily separate the board into the size you need for your wall.

Finish Properly

Whenever possible, use full sheets of drywall to cover your walls. Putting together leftover pieces may seem cost-effective, but the end result will be less than visually appealing. Be sure to join your boards so that the cut edges meet. Do not use cut edges for outside areas. Finally, run your putty knife over all the screws and make sure they are properly set.