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Planning Your Drywall Installation

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Drywall installation is not a difficult task, and with a little practice you should be able to achieve results worthy of a professional. The time-consuming part comes with finishing the joints (also known as "taping and mudding"). Here are some suggestions for keeping the finish work as simple as possible.

  • Keep butt joints to a minimum. The long edge of a drywall sheet is tapered. This provides space for the tape and joint compound that are used to seal the joint. The short edge of a drywall sheet, however, is not tapered. When two of those edges meet, we call it a butt joint. Butt joints are tougher to finish; the tape and compound have no choice but to create a small, visible bump in the wall or ceiling.

    It’s not always possible to avoid butt joints, but you can try to keep them to a minimum. With drywall that is installed horizontally, using longer sheets of drywall is one way to do this. But when you do have to deal with butt joints, stagger them so that they don’t run from the top to the bottom of the wall.

  • Use bigger sheets. Longer sheets of drywall can significantly reduce the number of butt joints on a wall, and the total number of joints. For example, if you were dealing with a wall that was 24-feet long, you would need three sheets of 8-foot drywall or only two sheets of 12-foot drywall. With the latter, you would have only one vertical butt joint, while the former would result in two butt joints. Spread this savings out across an entire room and it can really speed up the job.

    Long sheets of drywall can be tough to handle inside the house, but you won’t face that problem in the garage. If you can’t find long sheets at your home store, look for a building supply store in the area that deals with contractors. You can have them deliver and unload the drywall right into your garage.

  • Install horizontally. As a general rule, it is best to install drywall horizontally; that is, with the long edge perpendicular to the studs. This creates a stronger wall, and it usually results in fewer joints to finish, especially if you use long sheets.

    For walls that are higher than 8 feet, consider using 54-inch wide sheets of drywall to minimize the joints. And on walls that are 4-feet wide or less, hang the drywall vertically to eliminate a joint.

Related Video
How to Fill Drywall Screw Holes
How To Patch Large Holes in Drywall
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