Is It Better To Rent or Buy Drywall Hanging Tools/Equipment?, by James Dulley

Dear James, a lot of the drywall in my house is uneven and needs to be replaced. I plan to hang the drywall myself. Are there any tools or devices that make it easier for beginners? – Noah L.

Dear Noah: Hanging drywall isn’t as difficult as most people think. Apparently, the original installer of your existing drywall didn’t do a good job. It is difficult to repair drywall that has not been properly installed. Hence, your decision to just replace them is the right one.

Even if you are inexperienced, some minor flaws won’t be extremely obvious. Most of the walls are painted with flat wall paint, which makes it difficult to see imperfections, especially around the joints. If you plan to paint some walls with semi-gloss paint, install drywall on those walls last so you are further on the learning curve.

One fact that is beneficial to the typical home improvement is that drywall is usually painted with flat wall paint. If the finish on the wall is really matte and devoid of sheen, the waviness is usually not that obvious. Finishing the wall with wallpaper can further hide imperfections.

It would also be advisable to use overhead lighting, preferably from a medium ceiling light. The light rays hit the wall at a steep angle so that waves do not create shadows or light and dark areas. Avoid placing a table lamp near the wall. This can lead to obvious shadows if the drywall is wavy.

Now that some of the fear is gone, it’s time to choose your drywall tools. There are three basic steps to installing drywall and there are tools specifically designed for each step. The first step is to cut the piece of drywall to the right size. The second step is to hang the drywall from the wall studs or ceiling joists. The third step is to complete the drywall board joints and all corner edges.

To keep your tooling costs down, you should be able to get by with a utility knife, 7-inch utility saw, 3-foot ruler, and 25-foot tape measure. You haven’t seen drywall to be cut. You score it along a straight edge with a utility knife, then break it along the line. The utility saw is used to drill specific holes or notches in a piece.

If you’re doing the typical amount of drywall on projects on occasion, just a few friends are the best drywall hanger tool (to hold it in place for nailing or screwing). Large tools are available for lifting and holding the drywall, but they are quite expensive. If you really need one for these projects, it is better to rent just one.

Once the drywall is cut to size and leaned against the wall, it can be nailed or screwed into place with a drywall hammer. The best method is to use a screw gun as the screws won’t pop out and this tool will drive them to the correct depth every time. When hanging drywall, the head of the screw or nail should not tear completely through the paper skin.

After the piece of drywall is attached, it’s time to finish the joints. To do this, buy a stainless steel composite pan, a 6-inch articulated knife, an 8-inch tape knife, a die grinder, and sanding blocks of various grits.

If you plan to do a lot of drywall, a banjo with drywall tape can reduce the time it takes to apply the grout to the tape. It also sets it more evenly for a nicer job with less sanding.

Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244, or visit To learn more about James Dulley and read about the features of other creators and cartoonists at Creators Syndicate, visit Creators Syndicate’s website at

Photo credit: picjumbo_com at Pixabay

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