How to Install Drywall Screws

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Set screws no more than 1/8 inch below the surface of drywall.
Set screws no more than 1/8 inch below the surface of drywall. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Drywall provides an excellent wall surface with its smooth, flat exterior and its pressed gypsum core that increases a room’s insulation factor while reducing noise transference. Drywall installation benefits from the use of drywall screws that feature larger threads and trumpet-shaped heads, which increases their ability to grip the interior of the drywall panel. By using these screws instead of nails, your panels will adhere better to the dimensional lumber beneath and you’ll avoid nail pops.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand drill
  • Drywall bit for hand drill

Position a drywall panel with the edge on the middle of a dimensional stud. If you’re using whole panels and your framing is on standard 16-inch centers, the panels will fit uniformly. If you’re hanging smaller sections of panels, measure before cutting to ensure that the edges reach from stud to stud.

Insert a drywall bit into a regular hand drill.

Place the tip of a drywall screw about 1/2 inch from the edge of the drywall panel and drill it straight through the panel and into the stud beneath.

Sink the screw head about 1/8 inch below the surface of the drywall. You must countersink drywall screws in order to tape and finish the wall later.

Insert drywall screws 8 inches apart along the rest of the edge. Install additional screws into the rest of the studs behind the drywall panel in the same way.

Butt the next drywall panel tightly against the first panel and attach it to the wall with additional drywall screws. Keep the screws side by side; do not stagger them, for easier taping later.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hang the drywall panels with the correct size screws. Your drywall screws should be 1 inch longer than the thickness of your drywall panels. For example, if you're hanging 1/2-inch-thick drywall, use 1-1/2-inch drywall screws. If you're hanging 5/8-inch-thick drywall, you'll need 1-5/8-inch drywall screws.
  • Use drywall panel adhesive to help hold the sheets of drywall in place on the wall. While this isn't essential, it increases the stability of the panels.
  • Do not insert the drywall screws more than 1/8 inch below the surface of the drywall, so as to not tear the protective paper.

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