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Drywall is known by several names — sheetrock, rock, or wallboard and it forms an important aspect of your home. It comprises a material called gypsum board — a soft mineral used in plaster. The material is then flattened to take the form of sheets, which are then covered in heavy housing paper. Before the invention of drywall, homeowners used to spend several hours and dollars in building a foundation over which one could paint and paste wallpapers. However, with the introduction of this material, you can carry out your own DIY drywall installation project after following these simple steps.

Select what kind of drywall is ideal for your home

Drywall usually arrives in 4’x8′ and 4’x12′ sheets. However, we would recommend going with smaller dimensions if you are opting for a DIY project. You will also get drywall in all ranges of thickness — starting from 1/4″ – 5/8″. However, if you are installing it for the first time in a new building, purchase the one with a thickness of 1/2″ per sheet.

drywall installation costPhoto by Riverview Homes Inc from Wikimedia commons is licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

The next step is to check the composition. If you are working in a moisture-prone area such as the bathroom or garage, select the moisture-resistant variants such as green rock. Another option is glass-reinforced cement board. Choose a material that’s best-suited for a particular environment.

Prepare your installation site

Thoroughly inspect your installation site. Look for any remnants of old drywall, screws, damages, or nails and remove/repair them. Once the surface is smooth, only then the sheets will stay flat on the studs. Any gaps or cracks can be sealed with the help of permanent, strong, and waterproof foam.

Measure and cut your drywall

Run a masking tape along the floor and mark the center line of each stud with a marker. Now set the panel against the wall and check if its end piece will fit in the center of a stud. If required, you might need to cut off some portions of your drywall. Now, begin cutting it in a straight line — using a T-square and razor knife. Pour a thin line of glue on each strapping or joist over which you will install your drywall.

Finally, begin the drywall installation on your walls and ceilings

Cover the ceiling

Take the first panel and lift it up, putting it against one corner of the ceiling. Check that the edges are perpendicular to strapping or joists and one end is tight against the wall.

Drill five screws at equal distances in a straight line along the width of the panel and into the joist which is nearest to the panel’s center. Take help of the marks along the top plate to properly align the screws. Repeat this process for each piece of strapping.

Continue with the same steps until you reach the other wall. Begin with the next row of panels, while ensuring that all the end joints offset the panels in the first row by at least 4 feet.

Cover the wall

Once the ceiling is covered, mark the stud locations on the ceiling panels at the edges and along the sides of the wall. Now, hold the panel against the studs so that one edge lies against the ceiling panel and the other rests on the wall.

Follow the stud marks on the ceiling and grill five screws through the drywall, into every stud. Continue hanging the panels — while covering any window or door openings. You can trim these excess parts later.

Repeat the process for the next row of panels. After all the installation is complete, look for any protruding screw heads. If there are any such stray screws, drive them gently into the piece of drywall. Now, clean off your floor and you are ready to add the drywall finishing touches.

drywall installation processPhoto by Bone Daddy.P7 on Flickr is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Next up, how much does it cost to install drywall?

The total cost of drywall installation depends on material costs, transportation and equipment costs, site preparation and cleanup cost, and labor costs. Usually, the installation costs (inclusive of materials and labor) can range anywhere between $40 to $60 per panel. Now, if your room requires 10 drywall panels, the total cost will range from $400 to $600.

The above steps were for a DIY drywall installation project. However, if you wish to go for a truly professional look, consider hiring a seasoned contractor in your locality. Even if the costs would be a bit higher, your job will be much according to your satisfaction.

Drywall Installation: A Step-by-step Manual was last modified: April 29th, 2019 by Anisha Dutta
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