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How to Hang New Drywall

Hanging drywall may sound complicated, but it is actually pretty straightforward given the proper instructions.

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Step 1: Mark Stud Locations

Mark the locations of all wall studs by placing a piece of tape on the floor at the base of each one. This will make it easier to find the studs after the drywall goes up. If there is wiring or plumbing to avoid, mark those locations as well.

Tip: When hanging drywall in a basement, it is important to install plastic vapor barrier to prevent mold from forming on or beneath the surface.

Step 2: Cut Drywall

Transfer the measurement needed to the drywall sheet and mark it with a pencil. Place a T-square on the mark with the short arm resting on the top edge of the drywall. Using the T-square as a cutting guide, run a utility knife along the edge to score the drywall. Bend the drywall back until the sheet snaps. Cut through the back paper with a utility knife to separate the pieces.

Tip: For cutting openings for electrical outlets, use a key hole or drywall saw to plunge through the drywall.

Step 3: Hang Drywall

Start in a corner and work your way out. Install the drywall vertically to avoid butt joints that are difficult to finish. Make sure the first panel is plum and falls on the center of a stud. Lift the panel tight against the ceiling with a drywall lifter before securing it to the wall studs with drywall screws.

Step 4: Attach Corners

To create strong and sharp outside corners, attach metal corner beading. Measure and cut a single piece of beading to span the entire length of the corner. Attach it with nails or screws spaced every 8".

Step 5: Spackle Seams

Use a hawk and 6" putty knife to work joint compound into the seams where drywall sheets meet. Immediately press joint tape into the compound, being careful to keep the tape centered on the joint. Run a putty knife over the tape to smooth the joint and wipe away any excess compound. Continue until all seams are done.

Step 6: Spackle Inside Corners

Apply a thin layer of joint compound to each side of the inside corner using a 4" putty knife, making sure to fill the seam. Fold a strip of joint tape in half and press it into the wet compound using the knife. Run the knife along the tape to smooth it out.

Step 7: Spackle Outside Corners

Apply a thin layer of joint compound to each side of the corner bead using a 4" putty knife. Run the knife along each side to smooth them out.

Step 8: Spackle Screw Heads

Apply one or two light coats of joint compound over each screw head using a 4" putty knife. Use just enough compound to cover the screw head without overdoing it.

Step 9: Apply Subsequent Coats

After the compound has had a chance to dry overnight, sand seams, corners and screw heads using a pole sander or sanding block. Sand only enough to smooth out the rough patches. Apply a second coat of compound to all the joints using a 10" drywall knife. Allow this second coat to dry before sanding and repeating the process.

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