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Drywall Basics: Measuring, Prep and the Different Types (page 2 of 3)

Learn about they different types of drywall, how to determine how much you'll need and the best ways to prepare for the job.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Preparing to Use Drywall

Drywall developed as an alternative to plastering walls. Some say the name drywall is characteristic description of the material. Unlike the plaster-and-lath wall surface that is completely moist and must be left to dry, drywall only has its joints that are moist from joint compound and they dry much more quickly than plaster.

Even with the benefits of drywall installation and repair over plastering, you still may decide to take on plaster repairs if you live in an older home or if you are restoring a home to its original materials.

Before you even begin to drywall or plaster your walls, make sure you have a flat working surface. When taking on the task of drywalling your home, the most important objective is to achieve a smooth finish. Each step in the multi-step drywalling process is designed to help you achieve this. The first part is making sure your stud walls are framed correctly. If the walls are not flat, the drywall panels will show the imperfections. It will be very difficult to overcome this type of imperfection through finishing techniques. It must be fixed prior to drywalling.

Drywall Materials

Drywall is available in 4' and 4-1/2' widths, and ranges in length from 8' to 16'. Due to the rectangular shape of the pieces, it is recommended that you hang the sheets parallel to the floor to reduce the amount of finishing work required. You will save time and money on the tape and joint compound needed to finish a larger number of vertical seams. If you are able to transport the larger-sized sheets, buy sheets that are the width of the wall, if possible. This will further reduce the amount of taping required.

Measuring for Drywall

When planning to use drywall materials, first determine the total square footage of the walls and ceiling that you are aiming to cover. Include the window and door openings, and always estimate high. Never buy exactly what you think you may need to just finish the project. This will save you time spent traveling back and forth to the home center during the project.

If you are using the standard 4' x 8' sheets of drywall, divide the square footage number by 32 (4 x 8 = 32). This will provide an estimate of the number of sheets you will require. You will also need about 400 feet of tape for every 1,000 sq ft of drywall. And you will need about 150 lb of joint compound. Make sure you estimate for the fasteners you plan to use, and rent any equipment and scaffolding that is needed to finish ceilings.

For ceilings and walls with 16" on-center framing use standard 1/2" drywall. For 24" on-center framing, use 5/8" drywall.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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