Hang Drywall on the Ceiling the Right Way

On site at a Habitat for humanity Drywall expert Myron Ferguson shares his tips for correctly and efficiently hanging drywall on ceilings.

In this room, I hung the drywall on the ceilings before we insulated the walls – before I even put the drywall in for the rest of the work – because I insulated the ceiling. W.When I started hanging this blanket, I started on the longest wall and the straightest wall. But because no wall is ever perfectly straight, I actually measured 48-1 / 4 inches from the wall at each end and tore the line. And when I hung that first run, I actually put the drywall on that line. That way, every time I moved along that ceiling, every successive row of drywall stayed straight. If the first row had started crooked, it would have been exacerbated by the time we got to the other end of the room. Starting straight is really important.

The first piece is 12 feet and we finished it off with an 11 foot. Piece. For the second run, I started with an 8 foot room as this room is roughly 24 feet long. Sheet and filled it with a 12-foot. Sheet and then done. So the first run has one butt joint and the second has two, but I did this to avoid my butt joints lining up.

This next room has a fairly large ceiling and customer expectations have been very high. That’s why we wanted to do everything we can to make it a perfect blanket. The biggest problem we had was hiding the seams on this blanket. The more difficult to cover seams are butt seams. To deal with this, I swam every butt joint – so there are two ceiling joists and the seam is between those two joists. Above that I have what is known as a backblocker, which consists of a piece of MDF board that was specially developed for backblocking. When I attach the drywall to it, it actually pulls it up slightly. Instead of having a butt seam that is a bump that I’m trying to hide, it’s actually recessed, much like a beveled-edged seam on a ceiling.

I rarely hang up a blanket that I don’t use Drywall lift. Often times, when hanging a piece of drywall without an elevator, you stand on a bench and balance on that bench, aAnd you hope you get the drywall in just the right place. However, if you’re using a drywall elevator, crank it up to the ceiling and you can sit back and look at it and make small adjustments. Most of them only have a hand winch and are portable so you can move them from side to side.

Once the drywall is raised, especially if I use an elevator, it can only really be attached along the perimeter. As soon as the elevator is no longer in the way, I attach the middle. I put four screws in the face of this particular blanket. Usually 12 inches in the middle is enough, but since I’m putting on about 15-16 inches of cellulose in this attic, I put an extra screw in it just for my own protection.

When securing the drywall, be careful not to put a fastener too close to a control box as you will have to cut it out – and because it will stick down flush with the ceiling and putting it too close faster is too much pressure against it. Then when you slide it out, it breaks out. The most important thing for me are precise cuts on all of these switch boxes. Every time I cut one wrongly it takes me five to ten minutes to fix as it takes three coats for each repair. The first time I got a router, I made a lot of mistakes trying to get things done asap. But there is no need to hurry. The most important thing is to do a good job. Take your time – when using the router, go counterclockwise around the outside of the box.

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