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!