Answers to Interior Walls Questions #3 Answers to Interior Walls Questions #3

Q. I am in the process of finishing my basement. On a couple of longer walls, the stud spacing gets off center and is not precisely 16 OC. When I vertically hang the drywall, I know there will be some drywall edges without a stud directly behind the seam. Do I need to replace the studs? I read somewhere on the Internet that drywall only needs support within 24 inches of the edge. Is this true?

A. Situations like this is why I don't recommend hanging drywall vertically in residential buildings. Rarely will the studs be exactly on 16" centers and you end up ripping a lot of sheets full length, which in essence gives you an 8' butt joint to finish. Either add a stud where the sheet will land, or at least install a 3"-4" backer board, so you have something to attach the edge of the drywall to.

Q. How do you determine if a wall is load bearing or not?

A. Typically looking at floor joist and ceiling joist/rafters and which way they run are good indications of a load bearing wall or not. Typically, most exterior walls are load bearing. If the house has gable ends, the ends of the house are non-load bearing since the trusses/rafters sit on the outside walls, all the roof load is transferred into the wall they rest on, then down through the foundation.

In hip roof houses, all the exterior walls are load bearing since the roof transfers the load to all the exterior walls.

For interior walls on a small single story house, builders will typically run a wall down the middle of the house to carry the load of the ceiling joists. There are many variations since interior design is so different in each house. Another good way to tell if that interior wall is load bearing, is to look in the basement to see if it rests on top of a beam. If there is a beam below that wall, chances are good it's load bearing.

There are so many different scenarios it's impossible to name every one. Typically if you have no idea and are going to do something anyway, always treat the wall in question as if it were a load-bearing item since you can't go wrong over building, it just costs more money.

Q. My basement is new construction and I am to the point where I am going to drywall. I am only dry walling the walls and using a suspend ceiling. I had an estimate done today for someone to come in, hang, and tape the drywall for me. The guy told me he would use the least amount of screws as possible to hang the drywall, he said he uses glue and then puts in enough screws to hold the sheets in place while the glue dries. I had never heard of using glue before. He told me that the glue will hold forever and there is less mudding to do and no popping screws or nail heads. Sounds like a good idea I guess? If anyone has done this, what type of adhesive should I use if I try this myself?

Another question about this. Currently, I have kraft-face R13 insulation already installed in the studs. The fold-over edges of the kraft-faced insulation is overlapped between adjacent batts and stapled to the studs. He told me I would have to fix this if he uses glue for the drywall so the drywall would be glued directly to the studs. Does this raise the "infamous" question of defeating the purpose of a vapor barrier when there will be gaps between the drywall and insulation after pulling the staples from the overlapped folded edges of the butts from the studs and then tucking the folded edges in between the studs?

He also talked about slight texturing of the walls after the drywall and taping was done. How do I go about doing this myself?


A. Faced batts on the exterior walls are usually stapled to the sides of the studs so that drywall glue can be used. I've gotten into this same discussion many times with general contractors, homeowners, etc. You have to look at it this way: no matter what vapor barrier system you use, be it faced batts, or unfaced with a poly barrier over it, the barrier is going to be punctured by the fasteners. Personally, if I'm specifying on a job, I'll use the faced batts stapled to the studs sides with the glue. You cannot use glue with the poly barrier and I would much rather have the glue there if I'm putting my name on the job.

The glue must be in direct contact with the studs for the glue to be effective; otherwise, the bond is only as good as what the drywall is glued to. It comes in tubes like caulking in the regular size and in a 1/2 gal. tube, which is what pros generally use. You'll find it at most lumberyards or home centers, and it should say drywall adhesive on the tube.

You may have to buy a large caulking gun to use with the 1/2 gal tubes, as many places only stock it in that size, but that's only a few bucks. Even with the glue, I still like to screw every 6" at butt joints; for the rest of the studs, one screw per stud in each recess and one screw in the center of the field per stud. Once the glue dries you can even pull the screws out of the sheet before you mud, and the sheet won't come off the wall except in little pieces.

Q. My laundry room wall backs up to our garage and I would like to move that wall into our garage by about two feet to accommodate cabinets. The garage floor is two feet lower than the laundry room floor. We are in the planning stage, and need some advise on how and were to start, and what I need to be wary of.

A. The first thing I can think of is that the wall in question between the occupied space of the home and the garage is most likely a load-bearing wall. If this is the case, you can't simply tear the wall out and move it without providing temporary support in order to make sure the ceiling, roof, etc. don't sag or worse yet come down during the course of the construction. You need to determine whether this is a load-bearing wall before you proceed any further.

Q. All of a sudden, I just noticed several dents and small cracks scattered about my kitchen and living rooms walls. They just appeared out of nowhere because I know they were not there a few days ago. Does this represent a problem like water damage or something?

A. It could be a lot of things, water or condensation problems, or settling. It's hard to say without knowing more facts about the situation. One thing's for sure, it isn't good.

Q. I received a roto zip for Christmas as I have a large dry walling project I'm just about to start. Per instructions, I see a method is to hang the drywall over a outlet box and then cut out the outlet after the drywall panel is hung. In the past, I always carefully measured and cut out outlet boxes with a saw before hanging the piece. Can anyone with experience with the tool tell me your experiences?

A. All you need to do for your boxes now is get a measurement for the center of the box and mark it with an X or whatever you like. Hang the drywall in place, but DO NOT try to screw tightly around the area where the box is located. There should be pressure from the drywall since it's sitting on the box, and you don't want to screw too close and blow out a section of the drywall.

Once the drywall is tacked into place, take your handy new toy, make sure the bit is set about 1/2-3/4" deeper than the wall board you're cutting, then just simply plunge cut into the mark you made. Cut out the box in a counter-clockwise motion. After you plunge the blade into the outlet box, move it to the right until you hit the inside edge of the outlet box, while keeping slight pressure pushing to the right. Lift the tool out until it jumps over the edge of the box, then push the tool back flush against the drywall and proceed to trace around the outside of the outlet box. Once you finish it will "pop" the cut piece out and you'll now have a tight fit around your box. It'll take a little practice at first since it's new to you, but it's very easy.

WORD OF CAUTION: When cutting light fixtures overhead, wear some sort of safety glasses and a dust mask. These tools leave a lot of drywall dust stuck to the edge of the hole you just cut, and one bump or just a pushing the board into place for screwing will cause all that dust to fall RIGHT INTO YOUR EYES.

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