How to Install Sheetrock Walls


Hanging Sheetrock or drywall in your home provides a stable surface that will support a variety of finishing or decorative techniques, including painting, wallpapering or tiling. However, installation requires you to carefully attach the panels of Sheetrock to the studs or joists to ensure that they stay in place. Make proper preparations and hang your Sheetrock carefully to create a stable, reliable surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Measuring tape
  • Drywall screws
  • Drill
  • Utility knife
  • Jointing compound
  • Tape
  • Taping knife
  • Inspect your wall surface for uneven wall studs or protrusions such as pipes. You must fix any of these uneven areas before you can install Sheetrock. For pipes, you may need to install furring strips along the length of the studs to provide a new surface to which you can attach the Sheetrock so that it hangs flat.

  • Mark the edges of all studs and joints on the floor and ceiling surrounding your wall. This will enable you to ensure that you line up the Sheetrock perfectly even after you can no longer see the supports themselves.

  • Hammer nails into each stud about 50 inches below the top of the wall. This will give you a support so that you can lift and rest the top Sheetrock boards into place. If you have someone helping you install the Sheetrock, you will not need these nails.

  • Lift the first piece of drywall up and set it on the screws. Align the first sheet with the top corner where the wall meets the ceiling. Installing the top before the bottom leaves you more room to maneuver.

  • Reference the marks you made on the floor and ceiling to line up your drywall screws so that they penetrate into studs or joists. For ½ inch thick Sheetrock, use 1 ½ inch long screws; for 5/8 inch Sheetrock, use 1 5/8 inch long screws.

  • Install a screw every 7 inches along the side, top and bottom edges of the board. The screws should sit about 3/8 inch from each edge. The heads of the screws should line up with the Sheetrock surface but not break the paper on the Sheetrock.

  • Install screws in each middle stud or joist, spacing the screws every 12 inches along the length of the Sheetrock.

  • Butt the tapered edges of the Sheetrock panels over a stud, so that the edges of each sheet can be screwed into the stud. Continue until you have installed all of the top row of Sheetrock.

  • Cut the Sheetrock as necessary. Measure the space and the Sheetrock and make a mark where you need to cut with a pencil or chalk line. Line up a level or square with the line and cut straight down with a utility knife. Snap the board along the line so that all but the backing is separated. Use the knife to cut through the backing to separate the cut piece.

  • Start the bottom row of Sheetrock with half a sheet, so that the seams of the panels are staggered for greater stability. It's okay if your bottom row does not butt directly against the floor, as you will likely install baseboard molding that will cover any gaps. Install the entire bottom row.

  • Seal seams between the Sheetrock panels with jointing compound and paper or fiberglass tape. Use a 6-inch taping knife to spread joint compound over the seam and then spread paper tape over the compound, so that the compound acts like glue to hold the tape in place. Cover the tape with another thin layer of compound. If you use fiberglass tape, you do not need the first layer of compound. Allow all compound to dry completely before making any further revisions to the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only hang Sheetrock on the walls after the ceiling is complete; working on your ceiling afterward will lead to drips, spills or unevenness on your walls.
  • If you have to hang Sheetrock over obstacles such as outlets, double the space between the screws so that the Sheetrock is only partially attached. This will leave a bump in the Sheetrock where the obstacle sits. Use a drywall saw or rotary saw to cut around the obstacle and then install the rest of the screws.

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