How to Install Sheetrock Under Stair Ceiling

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The space beneath the stairs usually is hidden behind Sheetrock (drywall) and forgotten, but creative builders and savvy homeowners recognize the potential of this hidden space: It can be used as a reading nook, for storage or as a home for your flatscreen. Finishing the space requires hanging and finishing drywall, placing electrical outlets and switches, and painting. Let a licensed electrician handle the wires and switches but save a few bucks by hanging and painting the drywall yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer or power drill
  • Drywall nails or screws

Go beneath the staircase and look up toward the stairs: The three boards (one against the wall, one at the outer edge of the stairs and the other equidistant between the two) on which the stair treads (flat boards that you step on) sit are the stringers to which you will attach the drywall.

Measure the length and width of the staircase; measure from beneath since that's where you'll be working. You'll use this measurement later to measure and cut your drywall.

Cut a piece of drywall to fit beneath the staircase. For example, for a 42" staircase, hook the end of tape on the long edge of the drywall and hold it there with one hand, pull the tape 42" with your other hand, push the button to lock it at 42" and, while holding the tape dispenser and your utility knife in the same hand, drag the tape and knife along the length of the drywall to cut it.

Measure the distance from the wall to the middle stringer. Mark that distance on the drywall and draw a line down the center. This is the center of your drywall and will align with the middle stringer.

Hold the board against the stringers and drive several nails or screws down the center line to hold the board in place. Release the board once it is secure and drive nails or screws (at 7-inch intervals) along the two outer legs.

Hang wallboard along the walls, finish and paint, if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear eye protection and a dust mask when working with wallboard.

References

  • "The Complete Guide to Home Carpentry"; Black and Decker; 2000
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