Homemade Drywall Lift

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Hanging drywall on a ceiling by yourself isn't possible without the help of some kind of drywall ``lift'' to hold the weight of the drywall while you screw it in place. You can rent drywall lifts that do all the heavy lifting for you, and that's a good idea if you're drywalling a lot of ceiling space alone. But if you're only raising one or two sheets of drywall, a simple brace of 2x4s is enough.

Building the Lift

  • Measure the distance from the floor to the underside of ceiling joist (or to the ceiling, if you're drywalling over an existing ceiling). Cut two 2x4s at that length and screw them together with the wide sides flat against each other. Screw a 4-foot 2x4 across the top edge of the two boards to make a ``T,'' with the wide side facing up. The thickness of the top 2x4 will make the lift slightly taller than the ceiling, which is what you want.

Positioning the Lift

  • Stand the piece of drywall vertically on end under the part of ceiling where you want it to go, so you're looking at the side of the piece that will face downward. Lean the top board of the lift against the drywall piece, so the 4-foot span of the lift spans the 4-foot width of the drywall.

Raising the Drywall

  • Stand in front of the drywall, grabbing it on both sides with your arms below the top span of the lift. Raise the drywall slowly over your head, letting the vertical boards of the lift rest on your shoulder so it doesn't slip down off the drywall as you raise it. Push the drywall toward the ceiling, then grab the lift and push it toward a straight position, jamming it tightly under the drywall. Adjust the position of the drywall as needed, making sure the lift remains jammed under it, then screw the drywall to the ceiling.

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