How far apart should you place drywall screws?

Drywall, also known as Sheetrock and wallboard, is made by pressing a natural material called gypsum between two layers of thick sheets of paper. It's predominately used for interior walls and ceilings; although it's not as strong as a regular plastered wall, it's quicker to use, and you don't have to be a skilled laborer to put it up. However, when you install drywall to metal or wood studs, you need special screws with deeper threads that prevent them from popping out or cracking the drywall.

Drywall can be fastened with nails, screws or adhesive tape. Drywall nails have a barbed shank with a large head, helping it to pierce the paper. To prevent the nails from automatically popping back out, strengthen the attachment by placing a second nail 2 inches (5 centimeters) from the first. You should space each pair of nails 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 centimeters) apart. Screws, on the other hand, are more secure and won't come out as easily. When installing drywall to metal, you must use drywall screws along with a specially designed drywall screw gun. Since drywall screws attach more securely, you can use fewer screws and space them farther apart -- 12 to 16 inches (30.5 to 40.6 centimeters) is sufficient. Adhesive tape bonds new drywall to old drywall; however, it should be reinforced using nails or screws, as well.


When hanging a heavy object on drywall, you should use drywall screws along with plastic anchors that help distribute the weight of the object over a larger surface area. The size of the anchor should match the screw so the screw doesn't stick out of the wall. Drill a hole as deep as the anchor into the wall. Then place a plastic anchor into that hole and tap it until the anchor is flush with the wall. Finally, insert the drywall screw into the anchor and screw it in place.