Drywall Tip #1
Clear the Room and Cover Doorways & Openings
Hanging, cutting, and sanding drywall is dusty business. And drywall dust is invasive. It can trigger allergies, plug furnace filters, and coat surfaces and furniture. It can also damage electronics.
Clear the room that you are working in of furniture and other objects. Then seal off the room. Tape plastic over openings. Close off heating and cooling ducts. Sweep and vacuum regularly.
And a final note that almost goes without saying – always use a dust mask or a respirator when working with drywall.
Drywall Tip #2
Use Screws not Nails
Drywall nails can be, and often are, used to hang drywall. There are even some professional drywall contractors that insist on using drywall nails.
Drywall screws, however, are not only more secure and less likely to “pop” and create problems down the road, they are also much simpler to use.
To make things even simpler, there are tools available that can make driving screws a breeze. A drywall screwdriver bit attaches to the end of the drill and drives the screw to the correct depth every time, dimpling but not breaking the paper.
This tip rolls into our next one:
Drywall Tip #3
Use the Right Tools
As mentioned in Tip #3, using the right tools can really help to make a drywall job much, much easier. Without the right tools you may find yourself angrily kicking holes in your new drywall before it is even finished.
One such tool is a drywall (or “dimpler”) bit that attaches to your drill and lets you drive drywall screws easily and efficiently.
Another such tool, though much more expensive, is a drywall jack. This is a must when hanging drywall on ceilings, unless you like to manually hold weight up overhead for hours at a time.
You don’t have to purchase a drywall jack. They can be rented for a reasonable price or even homemade. Check out our instructions for constructing your own drywall jack!
Drywall Tip #4
Never Hang a Seam Over a Doorway
When hanging drywall never place a seam over a doorway. When a seam is placed or butted over a doorway the constant shutting and opening of the door will cause the mud to crack over time.
This is the most common drywall crack that appears in homes. Also try to avoid butting seams around windows. Instead hang a full sheet and cut out the doorway. This will prevent the worry of cracks appearing.
Drywall Tip #5
Mix the Drywall Plaster
Unless you have experience mixing your own drywall mud, we usually advocate purchasing the pre-mixed mud.
One mistake that is frequently made with pre-mixed mud is failure to properly mix the compound. Pre-mixed mud is often too thick and heavy, and water can sometimes separate from the plaster (think of a jar of peanut butter).
Always mix a pre-mixed drywall plaster well with an electric mixer. If necessary, small amounts of water can be added to loosen up the mixture, but use caution not to overthin the compound.
Drywall Tip #6
Wash Your Tools
After each and every use wash your tools. Do not let the mud harden (especially on your mudding trowels).
When this occurs you will often have hardened pieces of mud stuck to the knife or breaking off in your mud pan. Hardened mud leaves streaks and flakes when applying mud.
Also – cover your mud bucket to keep dust and debris from falling into the plastering compound.
Drywall Tip #7
Paper or Fiberglass Tape?
This is a common question without a great answer. I personally prefer to use fiberglass (mesh) tape whenever possible, but there are occasions (such as on inside corner seams) when it may be simpler to use paper tape.
In a general sense, fiberglass mesh tape is a superior product and, since it has adhesive on one side, easier to apply and use.
For finished outcome, either product will work.
Drywall Tip #8
Drive All Of Your Screws
We can tell you first hand nothing will drive you crazier then when you are on a plank or stilts mudding a ceiling when you realize a screw is not all the way in or in too deep. This then causes you to have to get down and fix the problem.
To prevent this once you have installed all of your drywall go back with a hand screwdriver and ensure that all of your screws are set to the right depth – dimpling the surface of the paper, but not breaking the surface of the paper. For any screws that have broken through the paper – remove them and reinstall a new screw to the correct depth a few inches away.
Always Leave a Gap at the Bottom, not the Top
When hanging drywall always leave your gap at the bottom, not at the top. This seems as if it would go without saying, but I’ve seen the gap left at the top on many occasions. A large gap at the top seam between sheets of drywall make those joints all but impossible to hide.
A gap at the bottom of a wall is easily covered by trim.