How to Install Your Own Drywall

Do it yourself drywall installation is one of the more practical jobs you can tackle as a homeowner.. Whether you’ve got a ceiling that’s been damaged by a leaking roof or air conditioner pan, or some new walls that are part of a remodeling project, at some point, you’ll need Sacramento Drywall repair work on your home. The great thing is; with the right knowledge, the proper tools, and some practice; just about anyone can do it. The basic thing you need to know include:

Materials-This may seem pretty obvious, but there are a few different options.

  • Thickness-Drywall or sheetrock comes in 1/4″, 1/2″, and 5/8″ thicknesses. The most common in residential is 1/2″. 5/8″ is more commonly used in commercial work and is a requirement of building codes in many areas due to it’s higher fire resistant rating. 1/4″ is mostly used over other materials such as paneling or plaster when a different type of wall surface is desired. If you’re doing a patch or repair; check the thickness of the existing drywall before buying your new material to insure that it matches.
  • Application-Most walls and ceilings will have standard gray sheetrock. However, in high moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens; use the more water resistant green rock. There is also, now, a drywall that contains the same type of cement fiber materials used in tile backer boards for use on walls that will finish with tile.
  • Joint Compound-Also called sheetrock mud, this is the key element to a successful do it yourself drywall installation. This will come in pre-mixed paste like form in boxes or buckets or powdered, in bags, that must be mixed with water. There are also fast drying kwikset materials that can be used for patches and repairs.
  • Joint Tape-This can be purchased in the traditional paper form, which must be applied with joint compound or in fiber tape, which is commonly used in repairs because it eliminates one step of the process.
  • Nails or Screws-Traditionally, nails have been used in residential work and screws in commercial (due to the use of metal studs. However, screws have become more in residential due to the speed of screw guns.

Tools-Just a few basic tools will take care of most any type of of do it yourself drywall installation.

  • Drywall Knives-These types of knives are not used for cutting, but for spreading the mud, taping the seams, and floating and skimming; and, actually resemble a spatula more than a knife. They come in a variety of widths from about 3″ (used for taping seams) up to 12″ (for floating and skimming). You will, most likely, need at least 3 sizes for any job, as each skim coat gets a little wider.
  • Mud Pan-These long rectangular pans come in metal or plastic and are used for holding the joint compound. They’re narrow enough to hold with one hand, while using the knife with the other.
  • Utility Knife/Sheetrock Saw-Most of the cutting of sheetrock is now done with utility knives with interchangeable blades. Change them as often as needed for a clean easy cut. Sheetrock saws are long (about 10″) triangular saws with small handles and are used mostly for cutting holes for plumbing and electrical.
  • High Powered Drill & Paddle Bit-If you’re doing a small repair; you can mix the mud by hand with a drywall knife. But for larger do it yourself drywall installation projects, it’s essential that you have a strong enough drill to mix the mud with a paddle for the proper consistency and to eliminate lumps.

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