How to install drywall

How to install drywall: step by step

Drywall installation is a long laborious task that is best hired out to professionals to save time on your project. In this article, we will teach you how to install drywall step by step and help you achieve your goal.

Step 1: Measure and cut the drywall

The most important step in any project is to measure your material before you start to cut. First measure the total square footage of the walls that need to be covered in the room then divide by 32 if you are using 4 x 8 sheets. If you are using 4 x 12 sheets, then divide your number by 48.

While designing your layout, keep in mind drywall should be installed so there are as few seams as possible. Before you start to cut, measure out the light fixtures, outlets, and any other areas that need to be cut out and mark them with a pencil or straight edge. Then, using a utility knife, score the areas that need to be cut then snap the panel and cut the paper. The drywall you cut should be cut so that it is ¼ inch of space between the width of the wall and the panel. Lastly, smooth out the cut edges by running a drywall rasp across the edges.  

Step 2: Hang drywall before driving screws

Before you start screwing in drywall panels you may want to hang drywall in place with nails first. Position the first sheet horizontally against the studs in the topmost corner and tap a few drywall nails into the drywall sheet and studs.

Step 3: Drive screws into drywall panels

Place the drywall sheet against the ceiling or wall framing and start driving 1 and ¼ inch screws in the middle of the panel of drywall. Continue driving screws 16 inches apart into the studs. Make sure you are starting from the centermost stud and moving to the outside edges of the sheet to secure the sheet in place.

Step 4: Leave a gap between the floor and drywall

While you install the sheet of drywall, make sure you are leaving a half-inch gap between the floor and the bottom row of sheets. This is done so that the drywall does not bump up against the floor as the house expands to weather. We will be using a baseboard to cover up this gap after installing the drywall.

You can lift a drywall panel into place using a panel lifter. First slide the lifter under the drywall panel then step on the lifter to hold the drywall panel in place. Once the drywall panel is in place, begin screwing the drywall panel so it does not move.

Step 5: Remove any excess drywall panelling for windows, doors, fixtures and more

Before you start making cuts to areas using a spiral saw or cut-out tool, make sure you have turned off the power in case you cut too far into an electrical box. The markings and measurements you made in the first step are ready to be fully cut. You can make that cut before or after installing the drywall panel. 

When measuring your panels for doorways and windows the measurements depend on where the panel is being installed. For higher panels that are towards the top of the opening, measure from the ceiling to the top of the frame. If you are installing a panel closer to the floor, place the panel on the floor and mark the width where the panel meets the bottom edge of the window or door.

Step 6: How to edge off inside and outside corners

For outside corners, you will want to position the drywall panel so that it is hanging over the edge of the corner from one side. Then hang the perpendicular sheet of drywall so it touches the paper-backed side of the other piece of drywall. Go back to the first sheet and cut away the excess drywall and smooth over any rough edges with a drywall rasp. In order to protect corners from getting damaged it is wise to use metal or vinyl corner beads. 

For inside corners, measure where the inner drywall sheets will meet and remove the overlap. You will want to leave at least ⅛ – inch of space so the panels are not forced into place which will prevent cracking. 

If you are looking for tools to install and tape drywall, save 10% on your order by using the coupon code RENO10*

*Coupon cannot be combined with sale items or other coupons. Limit is one per customer.

Click To Copy RENO10 Copied!

Frequently asked questions about hanging drywall

Below will be the most frequent questions we hear regarding how to install drywall.

Does it matter which way you hang drywall?

Hanging drywall can be done both vertically and horizontally. This entirely depends upon the fire codes and regulations in your location. For instance, many commercial buildings require drywall to be installed vertically. 

According to CertainTeed, there are three benefits to hanging drywall horizontally. These benefits are having fewer seams to tape, hiding uneven studs and making drywall easier to finish for the taper. 

In terms of structural strength, drywall is stronger when installed along the length of the drywall. Installing drywall horizontally also helps the drywall taper by having fewer seams that are in need of taping.  

Do you hang the drywall top or bottom first?

Yes, drywall is typically installed from the top of the wall to the bottom. First, install drywall on the ceiling as it is the most difficult drywall to install and it will dictate how the drywall on the wall will be installed.

Should there be a gap at the bottom of drywall?

Yes, there should be a gap between the floor and the wall. This is for when the house starts to expand with the weather the drywall is not rubbing up against the floor causing damage and cracking. Baseboards will be installed to cover the gap between the drywall and the floor itself.

How far apart should drywall screws be?

In general, drywall screws should be installed between 8 and 16 inches apart on a 4×8-foot sheet of drywall. For sheets that are 4×10 or 4×12-foot then the screws should be placed 10 to 20 inches apart. Of course, if your local building codes have a different standard then follow those.

How many layers of drywall do I need?

You only really need one layer of drywall when installing drywall. However, you can install drywall over drywall in cases where you want to increase fire protection or soundproofing. When installing drywall over drywall, make sure the screws you are using are long enough to drive through the first sheet of drywall and into the studs behind it. 

Is there a wrong side to drywall?

Drywall manufacturers create drywall with two distinct sides. The first side is generally a brown thin paper side of the sheet of drywall. This side is designed to be facing the studs of the frame. Meanwhile, the other side of the drywall is designed to face outwards towards the room itself. 

The reason you will want to have the correct side of drywall facing properly is that it is easier to tape and finish a wall with the correct side of drywall facing outwards. If you end up installing drywall backwards and continue your project, your wall will have a rough texture and will be hard to paint over.

More Posts

The different types of spray foam

The Different Types of Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is one of the most common forms of insulation. Spray foam insulation is a chemical mixture in liquid form. Spray foam makes

Drywall Safety Tips

Drywall Safety Tips

Drywall safety should be taken seriously. Serious injuries and fatalities are always a possibility when safety is not considered while working on a job site.

Subscribe to our Newsletter