Wall framing, including wall studs, supports drywall panels. If the wall studs are uneven, the finished wall can look wavy unless you take action during the drywall panels' installation to minimize the problem. Using drywall shims is the standard remedy, but contractors also change the amount of screws and the amount of glue they use on individual wall studs to make drywall panels even.
Things You'll Need
Applying Drywall Shims
Hold a chalk line from the farthest stud on one side of the wall to the farthest stud on the opposite side of the wall. If the chalk line touches the surface of all the studs, their alignment is even and no measures to assure the drywall's evenness are necessary. If the chalk line touches only a couple of studs and completely misses others, then installing drywall shims will help to even the studs.
Staple drywall shims directly over each wall stud that recesses. Attach a drywall shim, staple it every 12 inches to the stud and then add additional shims, one at a time, if necessary.
Check the studs' evenness again with the chalk line. When all of the studs touch the line, you’ve added enough shims to start hanging drywall.
Hang the uppermost drywall wall panels first, positioning them horizontally and butting them tightly together. Insert drywall screws 6 to 8 inches apart on the edges of the panels and every 8 to 10 inches apart in the center of the panels. Every screw must hit a wall stud.
Applying Drywall Glue
Apply a 1/4-inch bead of drywall glue to the studs where the edges of drywall panels will meet. The glue acts as a gentle shim to hold the panels out slightly from the studs.
Apply a 1/2-inch bead of drywall glue on studs that will be beneath the center of each drywall panel that recedes.
Position a drywall panel on the wall, and insert drywall screws along the edge studs at least 16 inches apart. Insert two drywall screws over each stud in the center of the panel. Use the same procedure for each drywall panel.
Tips & Warnings
- Drywall shims work well for studs that vary in unevenness from 1/4 to 3/8 inch. If the variation between studs is 1/4 inch or less, using extra drywall glue to level the field is usually enough. Use one or the other method, but don’t use both shims and glue on the same wall stud.
- Every screw you insert pulls a drywall panel against the studs. By reducing the amount of screws and increasing the amount of glue you use, you can level slight unevenness without using shims.
- Drywall shims are available in various lengths. They are 1 1/2 inches wide and very thin, about 0.06 inch thick.
- If a wall stud bows more than 3/8 inch, the best course of action is to remove it and replace it with a straight stud.
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