Video: Drywall Installation Tools and Tips

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Old House Construction, Home Improvement Tips

We’re hanging a lot of “rock” in our old house remodel. The plaster simply can’t be saved so we’re stripping it all, re-framing new stud walls, insulating and, of course, drywalling.

Ceilings can be particularly tricky, so in this video we have a little fun showing a few tricks we use to make it come out right.

Straight Edge. Old house ceiling joists can have major difference in thickness and/or warping–creating some seriously wavy lines in corners, not good if you plan to hang nice straight crown. Anyway, I like to run a straight-edge–the longer the better–across the bottoms of the joists at the perimeter of the room and through the center. For very large rooms, string might be a better choice. If a joist is dropped or raised, you’ll either butt the straight-edge into it or see a sizable gap that’s either to deal with now than later.

Corner Cleat. The secret to hanging ceiling boards by yourself is (1) to be a little looney and (2) to use tools and materials to hold the board while you fasten. Along the wall I screw a few 2-by cleats to hold two edges of the drywall. On the other end I use a Rockwell JawHorse with a site-made standard to catch the other end (also works well for hanging upper cabinets alone.)

Fastening. Over-driving screws is easy to do. All you want to do is dimple the paper, setting the screw head slightly below. Too much and you create a gnarly hole and the screw doesn’t do anything. For finishing screws, I find you only need 2 passes with a 6 inch knife to get them covered. Three for all seams though–minimum in an old house.

Team Work. Working together is one of the best ways to make the onerous work of drywall hanging and finishing easier–and more fun!

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  1. 7 Responses  to “Video: Drywall Installation Tools and Tips”

  2. peter henin
    Aug 29, 2011
    Hi, I have a old house and sleeping porch..and I have plan to remodel it one of my friend made few changes and made exterior paint for his old house..that was awesome and well painted...I told him immediately I also wants to do the same...so he suggest me some tips and a paint shop "epaintstore.com" which one he use to purchase... I am going to work out with that plan...but still I am expecting some other suggestions....at that time I got a chance to read about your blog...your tool is useful to me...
  3. Aug 29, 2011
    Chinese drywall seemed to be the answer to costly building materials. The construction industry could buy them for less than a U.S. grade material and the installation was fast and cheap. but it dissatisfied consumers and hazardous to health. Why compromise?
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    In addition to your basic utility knife, you'll need some special tools for cutting drywall sheets. For making square cuts, use a drywall T-square. Set your sheets of drywall upright with the smooth side out. Set the T-square on the top edge and line it up with your measurement. Run a utility knife along the side of the "T" to score your cut. Snap the sheet back to break the sheet along the cut. Then cut the paper back with a utility knife.
  5. Jonny
    Aug 29, 2011
    I agree Bob, there are some jobs that are best left to someone else. Drywall, insulation, and roofing are the jobs are avoid at all costs!!
  6. Aug 29, 2011
    It amazing how many contractors cut corners just to get the job done and earn a buck. If these guys would just do the job right it would same home owners and themselves heartaches in the long run. I personally never worked with sheetrock but I do know a few people who do. Yes, it's tuff and takes its toll on the body over time. Please use the proper protection.
  7. Ricky
    Aug 29, 2011
    Sheetrock is the worst to work with. I want to wear a space suit when I do or else it turns into a sneeze fest. Whoever draws the small straw for that job I feel bad for - I won't do it after I did it once to my old house.
  8. Bob
    Aug 29, 2011
    Working with sheetrock is the worst possible job in the construction industry, between lifting the heavy boards, inhaling the dust when cutting the stuff, and taping in mudding (which is very hard to do if you want a good looking job. Leave it to the pros......