Drywall (also termed Sheetrock and wallboard) installation method is important for a clean, efficient tape and finish, to best conceal seams. Below are basic do's and dont's of sheetrock installation, which can help you save time and money, reduce dust and debris, and improve the long term quality and resale value of your finished product.
Use graphite pencil to mark the face of board surface. Do not use a felt-tip marker. Felt-tip markers bleed through primer and can bleed through paint. If you have already written with a felt-tip marker, prime the area with a stain blocking primer.
Install in Correct Order
Ceilings first. Place end seams as shown, fasten with the number of screws shown
Next install the top row of the wall. Keep sheets tight to the ceiling as shown. Fasten as shown, from the center out to the edges.
Last, install the bottom row, keeping them tight to the row above, raised up off of the floor.
The bottom row should not make contact with the floor. Use a "kicker" to raise the sheet off of the floor and tight to the secured row above it.
Fasten as shown, from the center of the sheet to the outsides.
Placement of End Seams (butt seams)
The classic "railroad" end seam - this placement offers the least sheer strength possible, making it likely to crack later on.
Seams made this way are difficult to hide.
Correct placement of seams staggers joints to different studs:
Staggered two or three studs apart if possible
Horizontal Wall Seam Placement (for ceiling heights 9 feet or more)
Save money and effort by following this rule
For walls with 9 foot ceilings where 54" wide board is not used, placement of the second horizontal seam becomes important when it's ready to tape and finish. Ask your taper which would be easiest to tape, a seam 1' off the floor, a seam 1' from the ceiling, or two seams 1' apart at a comfortable chest height.
This is referred to as a "belly band" or "belly seam". Two rolled edges come together while for the other seam one rolled edge and one cut edge come together. To tape this seam, use a sharp utility knife to trim the cut edge back at an angle, then level it with quick-set mud before taping.
5/8" walls with 1/2" rip in between
Door and Window End Seams
Cutting a drywall panel to fit over a door or window as shown is the most intuitive approach, however this method encourages cracks. As the house shifts doors and window frames adjust out of square. Providing no sheer strength, seams placed this way will fail immediately, when a seam placed over center will hold.
Below is an image of a butt seam placed correctly over a door by installing a full sheet over the door, then cutting out the door section after the sheet is in place.
Door, Window and Skylight Returns
When doors, windows and skylights are returned with drywall in leu of wood trim, follow these rules.
Outside corners install the same as other outside corners.
Allow 1/8 inch gap between window and drywall, as condensation may transfer with contact.
When no "L" or "J" metal or plastic zip-strip is used to finish the window edgte, precisely cut non-recessed edges or factory edges will finish more easily than recessed edges placed against the window.
Drywall does not make contact with window
Stay 6" from corners of doors and windows
For corner bead to attach straight and secure, proper drywall installation is necessary. One edge must not overlap the other. Allow 3/8 inch distance from outer edge, and not more than what the corner bead will cover.
Round corner bead requires that drywall edges are flush with stud.
Counter Sinking Screws and Nails
Screws and nails should be counter sunk 1/16 inch.
Counter sinking more than 1/16th of an inch risks damaging the drywall and compromises its strength.
Counter sinking less than 1/16th of an inch requires extra labor when finishing. If the screw or nail is not counter sunk 1/16th of an inch, it's surface shows through the finish, and is susceptible to corrosion.
If you miss a stud or the screw hits a knot and won't counter-sink, back them out rather than leaving them in the wall.
Screw broke through surface paper
Missing the stud;
not counter-sinking a screw
Optimally a sheet should be tacked in place, marked where the boxes are. Once the sheet is tacked the boxes can be cut with a keyhole saw or rotozip to within 1/8 inch around the outside of the box.
Box opening was cut from measurements, prior to tacking the sheet in place
The hole was cut too small and forced over the box causing a blow-out.
Using a rotozip to cut outlets requires skill and practice, but with a little more time the same result can be achieved with a keyhole saw.
Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures
Water pipes condensate so it's important to avoid contact between drywall and pipes. 1/4 inch clearance is acceptable.
If the plumber did not install plates over spaces where pipes pass through studs, do so now. They will prevent screws from puncturing pipes. Plates are important for protecting electrical lines as well.
Though not required, it can be a good idea to scribble with pencil where pipes are located in the wall. By the time primer coats are applied these kinds of marks will be gone, but for the job duration they can help eliminate guess work should a problem arise.
(Check your local ordinances) Gypsum is a harmless, naturally occurring and also manufactured material. Either way, it can be safe to responsibly dispose of drywall on a site. For example, one or two or three layers may be used under sod or other ground cover, surrounding trees or shrubs as an effective weed retardent. It may be used for fill. Do not use for food gardens.
Common sense and intuition have their roles in responsibly disposing of drywall on site. Drywall is treated with preservatives.