When compared to projects like home painting or power washing, drywall hanging is a major undertaking to attempt by yourself. As such, most people leave it to the professionals. However, the most ambitious DIY-ers may feel up to the challenge. Like any other home improvement task, just about anyone can learn how to properly hang drywall, but very few people get it right the first time. To hang drywall properly requires a great deal of precision, patience, and, frankly, experience.
Perhaps you’ve tried your hand at drywall hanging in the past. If so, chances are you didn’t completely nail it at your first go. As you might have figured out, some of the most common mistakes can be quite costly to undo or redo. On the other hand, if you’ve never hung drywall before but you’re thinking about going it alone, it’s helpful to learn about some of these mistakes beforehand so you might avoid them.
Here are some of the most common drywall hanging mishaps.
Choosing the Wrong Sized Panels
In terms of thickness by inch, drywall panels come in four basic sizes: ⅝, ½, ⅜, and ¼. The thickness you choose will depend on the placement and purpose of the drywall. For instance, the thickest option (⅝) is naturally the heaviest and also blocks the most sound, so it’s a good option for ceilings and walls that require some extra density. That said, ½ panels are most often used for standard walls. The smaller sizes, ⅜-in and ¼ panels, are useful for remodeling, as they’re designed to cover older drywall or facilitate curves.
Installing drywall that’s too thick or thin for its proper purpose can lead to several issues. For instance, you don’t want your new ceilings or walls to be too thin, or else they’ll be more susceptible to impact damage and noise leakage. You also don’t want to use the thickest drywall to go over the existing drywall, as this requires inordinate effort and money while taking away some of your interior space.
Not Staggering or Properly Placing Joints
When hanging drywall, some gaps are inevitable. After all, you need multiple panels to cover a given length, width, and height. That said, you want to minimize the size and length of these gaps and strategically place them for sturdier, better results. You can do this by staggering your panels so the vertical joints don’t line up exactly with each other. Also, make sure that any joints or seams above openings such as doorways are in the middle of said opening, not at the edges, Otherwise, the drywall may crack in these spots.
Ultimately, you or your painting services will conceal these seams during the finishing and painting processes.
Making Imprecise Measurements
Measurements matter when it comes to any home improvement task, but especially when it comes to hanging drywall. In fact, you should be absolutely sick of your tape measure, protractor, and ruler by the time you’re finished. Eyeballing, rounding, and best-guessing simply won’t do if you want the best, longest-lasting results. This applies to every aspect of the job, from scoring the drywall sheets to placing nails and screws. Your screws should be spaced 16 inches apart in the center, and 8 inches apart along vertical joints (and at least ⅜ inches from the edges.)
Neglecting to Sand Edges
Leaving the edges of your drywall panels rough will make your job more difficult and negatively affect the final result. Every piece should be smooth for an easy and even fit. So, take the time to sand all edges before putting them in their place.
Forgetting to Cut Out Spaces for Fixtures
Making this mistake can be a real pain. When hanging drywall, account for every single fixture that requires an opening, such as electrical outlets, windows, and doors. This might seem like an obvious statement, but people have accidentally covered up important features before. Remedying this mishap is no easy task, and simply guessing where to cut a hole after the fact can make the problem worse. So, save yourself and your home painters the hassle and prioritize this part of the process.
Failing to Finish Properly
Hanging the drywall is only half the battle, of course. Drywall finishing is another story, riddled with its own challenges and potential for error. For more on this topic, check out our blog on what causes issues with drywall finishing.
DIY or Call the Pros?
Tackling a home project on your own is admirable, exciting, and challenging. And, if you know what you’re doing, it can be cost-effective. But if you’re not super confident and/or lack the necessary experience to hang drywall yourself, the project might end up costing you more than it would to hire a contractor in the first place. So, if you want to avoid costly DIY mistakes, get in touch with All American Painting Plus. Our expertise extends beyond exterior and interior painting. From drywall hanging and finishing to carpentry, cleaning, and more, we can help you achieve the home you’ve always wanted.
To learn more about us and everything we do for our clients in Northern Virginia, give us a call at (703) 620-5563!