How to Hang Drywall: A Step-by-Step Guide

Man hanging drywall

Written by My Home Handyman

January 27, 2022

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Drywall is one of the most commonly used materials in construction and home renovation. The great thing about it is that it is simple to install even if you don’t have much in the way of construction or even DIY experience.

The process is straightforward for hanging drywall. Hang the first sheet horizontally, placing a screw in the center. Make sure that it hits a stud. After that, measure out every 16 inches to the left and right, screwing into studs at each interval. For additional sheets horizontally, follow the same steps to accurately hang the drywall. Where needed, place screws at the corners of any required cutouts. Finish by cutting from the center and working out to the edges.

1. Measure the wall

The old saying goes “measure twice, cut once.” The same should be true when you measure out your drywall. Start with your measuring tape, using it to determine the width of the wall. Make sure to cut the sheet so that it is right around ¼” shorter than the measurement.

It always helps to have someone to help you. Propping up the drywall so that you can measure it can be difficult without some experience. There are some drywall calculators online but this is the quickest and easiest method for determining the width of your drywall.

2. Inserting screws

When you are ready to hang the drywall, start by using drywall screws and driving them right into the middle of the sheets. Do so at a height that is convenient to you. Putting them dead center will allow you to put screws into the exterior edges without much issue.

When the first couple of screws are in place, start by working from the center panel towards the edges. Just make sure that you are driving them in at 16-inch intervals and ensure that they are catching studs. You can take the time to measure out your studs if you don’t feel comfortable; you just need a stud finder and a pencil to mark them off.

3. Adding more sheets

When you have the first sheet out of the way, you simply add as many as you need until the entire opening is covered. Make sure that you hang your drywall horizontally. Doing so can not only place the seam a height that is convenient for you, but lessen the taper involved.

Some walls are short enough that one sheet can cover it. For longer walls, use a drywall lift to hang each additional sheet horizontally. Tack each piece in place and then follow the same screwing method to anchor them to the studs.

4. Don’t forget outlets, doors, windows, and other fixtures

Hanging drywall where no additional cutting is required is relatively straightforward. But when it comes to adding windows, doors, electrical outlets, and any other fixture, you need to plan ahead to accommodate for those.

5. For windows that haven’t been installed

In the instance that you need a window cutout but the window hasn’t been installed, there are a few simple steps to follow. Start by covering the window using a drywall panel. Insert a few of the screws in order to mark where the future window will go.

You can generally use a handsaw to make the cutout, but a drywall router is preferred. Plunge directly into the center and cut all four ways until you hit the edges. Just make sure that you use patience and caution if you are new to using a drywall router.

6. For windows that are in place

Should the window already be in place, then take off the trim and cut out the opening in your sheet before you hang it. Position the sheet on the floor and start by marking where the bottom edge of the window meets the drywall.

7. Cutting outlets and wall fixtures

For this, you will need a spiral saw. Take note of the height of the fixture or outlet box, drawing marks on the floor to show where to find it. Take out any wires, screwing the drywall into place. Cover the panel or box and use just enough screws to keep the drywall in place.

With the drywall in place, find the inside edge of the fixture, starting at the center of the cutout and working to the edges in a counterclockwise direction.

8. Cutting around a door

Much the same as cutting for windows that are in place, you want to lay the door cut the same way. Take the trim off the door, leaning the drywall against the opening. Mark off the location of your studs and draw a line to mark the top of the door opening.

Carefully use your drywall saw or router to make cuts for windows and doors. Screw the panels in place using the same drywall screws that you would for the other panels.

9. Installing the last sheet

When you get down to the final panel, cut the drywall about ¼” short so that it will fit between the last panel and the corner. When you get to the part where the panels meet, you will need to cut a V-groove. You can use a utility knife to do this on the short, non-tapered ends. This is to make it easier to hide the joint when you get down to taping.

10. Reaching the floor and any frame outside corners

The last thing you need to do is frame the outside corners and reach the floor. For the latter, all you have to do is use a shorter piece of drywall so that the seam won’t be right above the seam for the bottom row. It can be tricky but make sure that you place the bottom row properly.

Using a drywall lift is your best friend as it makes things way easier. For the outside corners, cut a piece that is long enough that it hangs over the corner. Use the spiral saw to trim it out and hang an abutting panel, making it a little long before trimming it to make a tight corner. Before long, you will have a fully drywalled room that you can be proud of.

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