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The Basics of Hanging Drywall on Walls

By HHr Staff ~ Colbyt

If you have not read our articles Tools and Materials for Hanging Drywall, Cutting Holes in Drywall for Outlet Boxes, and The Basics of Hanging a Drywall Ceiling we suggest you review those before reading this article as we will mention the tools discussed in the tool article, your ceiling should be installed before you do the walls, and you certainly will need to know how to cut the holes for the switch and outlet boxes.

Once the ceiling is up you are ready to repeat the process for the walls. The walls should be hung from the top down with the butt joints staggered and the horizontal tapered joints aligned. There are several really good reasons to hang the upper boards first:
You get a tighter fit to the ceiling.
Trimming the bottom of the bottom board is easier and neater.
Drywall lifts (jacks) can be used only on the floor.
Small gaps at the bottom are hidden by the baseboard.

Another consideration for doing the top boards first, the switch boxes usually fall near the bottom of the top panel and are bit easier to do than the lower electrical boxes because they are near a door opening and in most cases easier to measure or see.

Mark all the box locations before you start hanging the bottom panels. Your marks may be on the floor or the top board than has already been hung. If you are going to hand cut your holes, marking both the left and right side of the box will improve your accuracy. If you are going to use the plunge method or a cutout tool you need only mark the approximate center of the box. You can write on the wall board with pencil and the primer paint will conceal it.

Start in the corner that will allow you to hit the "on center" of the remaining studs. I prefer to get all of the top boards done and then fill in the bottom boards. You can do an entire wall and then move on to the next if you like. Just be careful to leave yourself a nailing area for all wallboards.

If your first piece of wallboard needs trimming to hit the center off the last stud, it is always best to put the trimmed, planned edge into the corner. As we stated in the ceiling article your easiest finish job is achieved when you butt factory edges to factory edges and always stagger the butt joints.

I have yet to see drywall hung on a job where at least a few "scabs boards" aren't required. We suggested in the tools and materials article that you make them 46" long because it quite common to need one only for one of the two panels on an 8 foot tall wall. Having those precut makes installing one quite and easy with no trimming needed when you need it. Should you need one for and entire stud run, 2 46" ones fit nicely into the opening created by a standard pre-cut stud.



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