Hanging Drywall Full Instructions

DIY Hanging Drywall just got a whole lot easier!

The installation of Drywall, or sometimes hanging drywall as the professionals usually refer to the installation, can be done by the homeowner. Having said that, it is usually best carried out with two or more people as it takes a large amount of lifting of heavy material. Mudding and Taping can also be performed by the homeowner, even so these tasks require some practice and artistry.

Measuring and Ordering Drywall

Before you actually hang the drywall, you will need to measure all walls, order the drywall material and have it all delivered. To figure out how much material you need to order you will need to measure all surfaces where you will be installing the drywall. Start with the ceilings first and then the walls. if you calculate the total square footage and then divide this number by 32 you will come up with the number of 4x8 sheets you will need. Most professionals also add 10% to this number to account for some waste that you will have with every job. It is always easier to throw a few scraps away and not have to pay for another delivery. You can purchase drywall in larger sheets but I would not recommend it for a do-it-yourself project. Larger sheets are much heavier and their added lenghth makes them much more difficult to get into your basement. Sometimes the larger sheets will not make it inside your front door and very rarely will the make it down the stairs to your basement project.

For installation in bathrooms, around tubs, showers or other wet areas a special type of board called cement board or greenboard must be used to combat moisture problems. Standard drywall will soak up water and mold very easily so it should never be used in wet areas. The cement board used around tubs and showers could also be called Wonderboard or Durock. These are brand names but many professional contractors will call these materials by their brand.

You will also need fiberglass tape and joint compound for taping and mudding. Joint Compound can be picked up in ready-mixed containers at most home improvement stores or you can get a dry mix and add water to mix your own. I would suggest ready-mix for your first project. You will need approx 5 gallons for every 500 square ft. of drywall but you could use more or less depending on your seams and how you apply the compound. Paper and or fiberglass tape can be used for joints. Paper is smoother and easier to cover but the fiberglass tape holds the joint compound together and produces a stronger seam. You can pick up a few rolls of each and decide which is easier for you to install.

Drywall screws are typically used to attach drywall to framing. You will need a good cordless drill to install the screws. Nails can also be used but are not recommended. Be sure you get drywall screws. They usually come in 5lb boxes. 1.25 or 1.5 inch screws can be used.

Drywall Tools

You will need several tools before starting your drywall installation. Some you will need to purchase but there are a few tools you should rent because you will only be using them 1 time. A drywall jack or sometimes called a drywall lift or deadman is one of the tools you will want to rent. The drywall jack will make it much easier to hold the drywall up as you attach panels to the ceiling. This tool comes in very handy and you can rent them at most retail hardware stores. You will also want to make yourself a couple of T's made out of 2"x 4"s. These T's will make it easier to hold drywall in place after raising it with the drywall jack. The T's can be made at home and should be just long enough so they are an inch or two taller than the height of the ceiling and be built with a cross beam approx, 3' across. Raise the drywall into place, adjust as needed and then wedge the T's you made into place so they hold the drywall snug to the ceiling. You can then install a few screws to hold the drywall before removing the lift and installing the rest of the screws needed to securly hold drywall to ceiling

Other tools you may need include a cordless drill, drywall screw gun, or an electric drill with a bit designed for installing drywall screws. This bit can also sometimes be called a drywall dimpler. You will also need a hammer, T-square, carpenters knife, drywall saw and a keyhole saw used for cutting around small corners or around electrical boxes. Pictures of the tools you may need for hanging drywall are included below. If you are doing your own taping, you will also need taping knives with 6" and 12" blades, a pan to put mud in, a pole sander, sandpaper or sanding sheets as well as a utility knife.

Preparing the area for Drywall

Before you start hanging drywall if you are city requires inspections, you will need to be sure all rough-in inspections have been done and the building inspector has approved the Framing, Plumbing, Electrical and Insulation jobs. You should also staple a vapor barrier made of plastic to all insulated walls.

Before you start be sure to inspect all of the framing carefully. Be sure that 2" x 4"s are in place in all corners and headers so that you will have something to attach drywall to and all framing is straight. You should also check for any pipes or electric cords that are within 1.5 inches of the surface. Metal plates are available to protect plumbing and electrical wiring before drywall is installed.


Hanging Drywall is dirty, heavy work. The drywall dust will go everywhere and you should wear a dust mask and goggles to keep the dust out of your eyes, nose and mouth. Work gloves may also be needed to protect against sharp blades.

Installing Drywall

When hanging drywall, Start with the ceiling and the sheets you install on walls later will help to hold up the corners of ceiling. Use the drywall jack to hold the sheets in place while screwing them to the ceiling. The screws should be installed so that they are slightly recessed and create a small dimple without breaking the paper. Screws should be applied every 10-12 inches on each stud. Start the screws with jack in place and then move the jack after drywall is secure so you can add more screws.

Whenever possible drywall should be installed in a staggered pattern. This creates an interlocked pattern that will help create a tighter and stronger installation. After completing the ceiling you are ready to start on the walls. Drywall should be installed from the ceiling down, with the sheets hung perpendicular to the floor joists or studs. Again the rows should be staggered whenever possible. The bottom piece should sit about one half inches above the floor. A small crowbar or scrap pieces of wood will help you to maintain this gap. It is usually easier to install a full piece over openings for doors and windows and use your drywall saw to cut out the opening after the piece has been installed. This will save you time and is much easier than measuring and calculating to cut out a door opening. It will also avoid joints around the opening which will make your taping job easier.

Installing Corner bead

After the drywall has been installed it is time to install corner bead on all outside edges. There are many varieties of corner bead and many ways to attach them. They could be made from metal or plastic and could require spray on adhesive and or screws. Be sure to secure all corner bead every 6-8 inches.

Taping and Mudding

Once gain start with the ceiling. Apply a light coat of joint compound over the surface of a seam using a taping knife. If the seam is wide, apply a liberal amount of joint compound to fill it. While the Joint compound is still wet, stick the paper tape over the skim coat of Joint Compound and use your knife to lightly press it into the seam. This will take several tries and some practice before you get it right. After the tape has been installed, apply additional Joint Compound over the tape, again using the wide taping knife. Continue this for all drywall seams. You may still see the tape but don't worry. You will cover with additional coats to hide it later.

The inside corners are next. Drywall corners are usually the most tricky and they will require practice. Pick up a corner knife at your local hardware store. Note it will be located near the joint compound and other taping tools. After the seams are done, use your drywall knife to fill in all dimples and screwholes. With practice you will be able to fill in each dimple with 1 smooth motion. Note: When applying the joint compound over the tape and screw dimples, make sure all excess material and uneven patches are smoothed down with the blade. This will make it easier to sand later.

Once you finish the ceiling, you can move on to the walls. Repeat the same process, however when covering the outside corners apply a liberal coat of joint compound to the valley that is formed by the corner bead. This valley typically represents the first 3 or 4 inches from the edge of the corner.

Once the first coat has been applied let it sit overnight or until it is dry, before you start the second application of Joint compound. Make sure to completely clean off the taping knife, and any other containers or tools that have mud on them prior to finishing up for the day.

Applying the Second Coat of Mud

After the first coat has completely dried, it is now time to apply the second coat of mud. It is this coat that should hide the tape. Once again, start with the ceiling. Using the wider taping knife apply a generous amount of joint compound over the taped seams as you want to build up the area over the tape. Use large strokes to smooth the joint compound over the tape applying more pressure to the side of the taping knife further away from the tape. This will help to leave more mud over the tape. When complete, the mud should cover an area that extends beyond the width of the tape by 2 or 3 inches.

After all seams have all been completed, apply a second coat of mud over the screw dimples. With this second coat, flare out the mud over the dimples so that the mudded area is about 3-4 inches in diameter.

For the inside corners a Corner knife may come in handy. Corners involve a little practice so again take your time. Apply a generous amount of joint compound and then run the Corner knife down the corner starting from the top. Take long, even strokes. A 6" taping knife may also be helpful to smooth out any imperfections.

For the outside corners, use the taping knife to apply a generous amount of joint compound and flare out the mud so that it extends out 6 inches or so from the corner. Again, apply more pressure to the blade side that is further away from the corner so that you leave more mud applied to the outside corner.

Once the second coat has been applied let it sit overnight, before starting the final application of Joint compound. Make sure to completely clean off your tools again so you can start with clean tools tomorrow.

Applying the Final Coat of Mud

After the first coat has completely dried, it is time to apply the final coat of mud. It is this coat that requires the most patience and the least amount of joint compound. Here you are simply applying a final skim coat to the already mudded areas. Prior to applying the skim coat it is best to take your wide taping blade and lightly scrape over the dried surfaces. This will remove any bumps or ridges.

Again start with the ceiling seams and apply a small amount of joint compound using the broad taping knife. Continue to flare out the seam by extending the mudded area such that about 6 inches resides on each side of the now invisible tape. Remember this is a skim coat so little mud is required. The purpose of this coat is to effectively fill in any lines or recessed areas.

After the seams have all been completed, apply a final coat of mud over the screw/nail dimples. With this second coat, flare out the mud over the dimples such that the diameter of the mudded area is about 6-8 inches in diameter. For the corners use the broad taping knife and add just enough mud such that you can flare out the mudded surface area to about 8-12 inches, taking care to fill in any lines or dimples. After the final coat has been applied let it dry overnight.


Sanding is a very dusty and dirty mess so please uses goggles and a mask. I find it best to use a pole sander with an open screened sand paper material specifically designed for sanding drywall. Lightly sand all of the taped areas, however concentrate sanding on the outer edges of the finished areas so that all seams and ridges are eliminated and blend into the main surface areas. Once sanding is complete, vacuum up the dust and you are ready to paint walls and ceiling.

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