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Easy Steps to Install Drywall Panels

Preparation of Drywall Panels

There are 3 types of drywall panels (based on thickness).

1. 1/2 to 16 inches or less – For framing

This type of drywall is appropriately used for walls. But if you are plastering an old wall the right thickness that you should use is the 3/8 inches.

2. 5/8 to 24 inches – For ceilings

The ceiling panels should always be thicker than the drywall panels used in your wall.

3. 1/2 inch water resistant – for humid areas like bathrooms (while mold resistant drywall contractors in Gorham, Maine panels are used in basements).

In areas where there is a direct and indirect contact with water, you need to use a water resistant panel. Also keep this in mind with the areas where molds are present; you need to use the mold resistant drywall panel.

Drywall panels are available in different sizes and dimensions. Some are 4×8 or 4×12 and if you are closer to main manufacturer, you can find bigger sheets for ceiling like 14ft-54ft lengths and 9ft widths. The 4×8 panels weigh 55 lbs while the 4×12 panels weighs 82 lbs.

Tools to Prepare

  • 4-ft. T-square
  • Drywall screw gun
  • Keyhole drywall saw
  • Surform tool
  • Flat bar
  • Utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • Trim hammer (16 or 20 oz.)
  • Drywall saw
  • Drywall hammer
  • Foot lift
  • Drywall lift
  • Spiral cutout saw
  • Putty knife
  • Flusher
  • Applicator

Installation Steps

1. Make sure that there is proper wood backing in the areas where drywall panels do not have support. Check every corner and ceiling or wall joints.

2. Measure the right length of the needed panels using the T-square. From the whole panel, cut the needed length using a utility knife and cut the panel at the backside. Make sure the edges are properly cut and smooth using a surform tool. Gaps between panels should be less than 1/4 inches.

Note: 4×8 panels can cover 32 sq.ft while the 4×12 panel can cover 48 sq.ft. Order enough of drywall panels to do the whole project if you can. It’s okay if you are short a few panels, it is better to make a quick run to add few more panels than stock extra panels you’ll never use.

3. First install the drywall panels in your ceiling before proceeding to the walls. You need an assistant to attach the drywall panels to your walls and ceiling. Use a lift to install 12 ft or bigger panels to your ceiling. Hold the panel to the right position and pre-nail the panels. Once the panels are in place, fasten the panels using the drywall screws. Do this process to the entire ceiling.

Attaching panels in the ceiling is easier because they are a flat surface and they don’t have many holes to cut out (except for a few light bulb patterns) unlike the walls where you need to cut out patterns for the windows, doors, electrical outlets and others.

In cutting patterns for light bulbs in the ceiling, outlets, doors, windows and little openings you can use the spiral cut-out saw.

4. Once you are done with the ceiling, start cutting the panels for walls, windows and doors using the drywall saw or keyhole saw for small cuts. Use the T-square for straight pattern and cut the drywall panel using the utility knife. Keyhole saws are also used to cut the patterns for electrical outlets and other small cuts.

5. In installing drywall panels to your wall, make sure to push the panel tightly towards the edge of the ceiling before fastening it. Avoid breaking joints at the window and door edges because they will end up cracking which can also be a problem when you start taping.

6. Use drywall screws to fasten the panels to your walls. Longer nails and screws are not advisable because they are more prone to popping. Nails are only for support or secondary hold, so the screws are the major fasteners. That is why putting the drywall screws in place is the last step you need to do after putting all the drywall panels in their positions.

7. Check the protruding screws and nails using a putty knife over each screw and nail head. If you hear a click, then your nail or screw needs to be pushed in further – but do not overdo it as it will damage the drywall panel.

After the long process of installing the drywall panels, the next step you need to do is taping. The reason why you need to properly tack the nails is that they will show and become a huge distraction when you start taping.

For a quick job in taping, especially in the corners, you will be using drywall flusher. It is preferable to use drywall flusher in the corners because they have smooth flat blades to evenly distribute the mud to the corners. An applicator on the other hand, although they can be used in corners, should be used for even mud distribution in flat surfaces, edges and curved areas.

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