How to Attach Aluminum Sheets to Drywall

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Aluminum wall sheets, also called metal laminate, are similar to other wall panels but work especially well in garages, kitchens and bathrooms. They are resistant to scratches and water damage, and maintain their look much longer than painted walls. Installing aluminum sheets on a drywall surface requires that you use a strong adhesive to make sure the weight of the metal does not tear the underlying drywall, causing the metal sheet to fall off.

Things You'll Need

  • Joint compound
  • Putty knife
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Contact cement
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail gun (optional)
  • Rivets (optional)
  • Laminate roller
  • Rag
  • Paint thinner
  • Examine the drywall to see if it is finished or whether the seams are still visible. If the seams are still visible, open a tub of joint compound and apply it to the length of all the drywall seams, using a putty knife. Smooth out the compound with the putty knife to remove the excess, and then allow it to dry completely.

  • Sand the joint compound with 200-grit sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch and blends into the surrounding drywall.

  • Place a stud finder up against the wall and turn it on. Move it over the drywall until you find the location of a stud. The device lights up when a stud is located. Mark the location with a pencil, and continue to find additional studs around the perimeter of the drywall.

  • Open a can of contact cement and pour some into a paint tray. Insert a paint roller into the cement until it is saturated. Roll a thin, even coat of contact cement onto the drywall and allow it to dry.

  • Apply a second coat of contact cement to the drywall in the same manner and let it dry.

  • Apply a third coat of contact cement to the drywall and to the back of the aluminum sheet. Raise the aluminum sheet into position, aligning the edge with one of the studs. Hold it onto the drywall for at least one to two minutes until it is secure.

  • Insert thin finishing nails into the sides of the aluminum sheets every 6 inches, using a hammer to secure the nails to the wall stud. If the aluminum panel is thick, use a nail gun and rivets to attach it to the stud.

  • Install each remaining aluminum sheet in the same manner until all of the drywall is covered.

  • Roll the top of the aluminum panels with a laminate roller, using firm pressure to remove any underlying air gaps in the cement.

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