Drywall Tips and Tricks – Fine Homebuilding

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If you’re looking to build seamless drywall interior walls and ceilings but need some advice, look no further. We’ve compiled nearly 3 dozen of the best tips and tricks from the Fine Homebuilding archives to help you get the job done.

  • 1

    How-To

      As a drywall contractor, I often encounter situations where I have to patch walls of different thicknesses, from 1/4-in. to 7/8-in. for old plaster walls. Instead of carrying all…

  • 2

    How-To

    Making a wiggly line with your router is the key to keeping a piece of drywall from slipping before it’s fully cut.

  • 3

    How-To

    Use an inexpensive plastic speed square to quickly and accurately score pieces without a chalkline or straightedge.

  • 4

    How-To

    When it’s impossible to back the end joints of drywall on a ceiling, I use a batten of drywall about 6 in. wide, as shown. I screw through both layers…

  • 5

    Tools & Materials

    My homemade drywall hanger, basically a frame that can be raised up with an automobile jack, takes a lot of the work out of putting drywall on a ceiling. The…

  • 6

    How-To

    When there are hidden pipes or wires you need to avoid hitting, this tip is a simple way to install backing without using screws.

  • 7

    How-To

    Use readily available materials to build a jig for making curved pieces of drywall.

  • 8

    How-To

    The secret lies in the attached metal corner bead.

  • 9

    How-To

    A notched squaring device helps everything line up.

  • 10

    How-To

    Closely spaced studs plus added backing material make it easier to get a tight radius without having to cut or score pieces of drywall.

  • 11

    How-To

    Use this creative custom solution to create a rounded 45° corner.

  • 12

    How-To

    Use this nifty envelope trick to cut down on dust cleanup.

  • 13

    How-To

    Years ago, my method for cutting holes in installed drywall was to use a sharp utility knife and some elbow grease. Now I get out my oscillating multitool and fit…

  • 14

    Tools & Materials

    When it came time to raise high the drywall for my ceiling, I put together a pair of quickie drywall lifts out of some pipe-clamp fixtures and 4-ft. lengths of…

  • 15

    Tools & Materials

    Whenever possible, our crew uses “in-line” framing for walls to save lumber (weight from above bears directly on studs, and plates are joined with steel splices). Because this style of…

  • 16

    How-To

    Cracks often develop at the peak of a cathedral ceiling because the wood framing members move around a little with seasonal changes. The intersecting planes of drywall move along with…

  • 17

    How-To

    In my 20 years as a drywall contractor, I’ve worked on a lot of two- and three-story houses. In just about every one, the finished stairs are in place when…

  • 18

    How-To

    Repair badly cracked plaster ceilings by covering them with a layer of 1⁄2-in. drywall.

  • 19

    Tools & Materials

    The mother of all drywall jobs gave birth to this invention. We needed to cover the ceiling of a warehouse, soon to be a recording studio, with two layers of…

  • 20

    How-To

    My work includes patching holes in drywall from time to time. And if the holes are in textured walls, either orange-peel or knock-down texture, I’ve got to set up my…

  • 21

    How-To

    If you’ve ever had to slug it out with a wall to remove drywall for a remodeling project, you can appreciate how tedious it is. Faced with this problem on…

  • 22

    How-To

    The secret lies in the attached metal corner bead.

  • 23

    How-To

    When 1 have to patch holes in drywall, I first install some 1x backing to support the patch. As shown in the drawing, I place the backing boards behind the…

  • 24

    How-To

    Putting drywall on a ceiling by yourself is never fun, but at least you can minimize the agony by using temporary supports (called deadmen) to steady the panels as you…

  • 25

    How-To

    These simple site-built jigs make hanging 12-foot-long sheets of wallboard easy, even when working alone.

  • 26

    How-To

    I stuck a hunk of adhesive-backed 80-grit sandpaper on the back of my drywall square, as shown in the drawing. The sandpaper keeps the square’s tongue from sliding around when…

  • 27

    How-To

    Because of a crooked chalkline or a bad guess, I sometimes miss the stud or joist as I nail off the drywall. I used to remove these nails by plucking…

  • 28

    How-To

    In kitchen areas, where people like smooth painted walls or wallpaper, I cut the first sheet of drywall in half lengthwise, as shown in the drawing, to keep a seam…

  • 29

    Tools & Materials

    While building a recent addition I used the lift shown in the drawing to help position 4×12 drywall panels on the ceiling. The lift consists of a rectangular frame with…

  • 30

    How-To

    The secret lies in rounding the corners.

  • 31

    How-To

    During my 40 years in the trades, I’ve had a number of high-end drywall jobs that required dead-flat ceilings — no telltale bulges allowed where the ends of the drywall…

  • 32

    How-To

    Here is still another way to install a drywall patch in a spot that doesn’t have any backing. First, cut an oversize patch, and nibble away at it until it…

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