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How to Install Drywall

Use T-braces to install drywall on a new ceiling.  See more home consruction pictures.

Installing drywall can be easy, but taping the joints between panels requires some practice. Some do-it-yourselfers install the drywall themselves, then call an experienced drywall taper to finish the job.

Although it's easy to figure how much drywall to buy (just compute the square footage of the walls and ceiling), it takes some planning to end up with as few joints as possible. The standard-size sheets for walls measure 4 X 8 feet. They are usually installed with the long side running from floor to ceiling, but if you can eliminate a joint by placing them horizontally, do so. All drywall sheets are 4 feet wide, but many building-material outlets offer 10-foot and even 12-foot lengths. The most popular thicknesses of drywall are 1/2 inch (walls) and 5/8 inch (ceilings), but check your local building code for requirements. Consult a dealer to learn how many nails, rolls

of tape, and how much joint compound you will need. As a general rule, 1,000 square feet of drywall requires about seven pounds of coated drywall nails, a five-gallon pail of joint compound in mixed form, and a 500-foot roll of tape.

Each outside corner requires one metal cornerbead. Drywall tape is used for inside corners. Note: Many drywallers now use drywall screws instead of nails; buy the same quantity of screws as you would nails, and consult your dealer on the length of screws necessary; it varies with the thickness of drywall. These are installed with a drill, preferably one with a drywall setting, which allows the drill to "ratchet" or slip when it senses the screw is fully seated. This prevents "popped" screw heads. Ask your dealer to show you such a drill if you don't already have one.

Take a look at the next page to find step-by-step instructions on hanging drywall.

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