T Nation

Drywall Installation Experience? (Tips and Tricks)


#1

So, post flood, were finally at the stage of hanging sheetrock. My father gave me a hand for the vast majority of the first floor, and I think I understand it well enough to finish it myself. Unfortunately he found himself having to move about 900 miles away on extremely short notice.

However, I’ve never touched sheetrock before, and unfortunately I wont have any physical training on mudding. I’ve watched a laundry list of videos, and I’ve spoken with a few people about it. Hiring someone to do it is absolutely out of the question, I have to save as much money as possible. (I’ll explain later).

To my understanding:

Many light coats is substantially better than a few heavy coats.

Dont over think it.

Dont be a cheap ass and buy the tools to make it easier.

I’m looking at buying:
-6, 8, 10, and 12 inch puddy knives.
-the mud
-mixing tray
-drywall tape
-corner bead
-sanding pole, sanding blocks, and a large gripper hand sander
-a brush of sorts

For joints: slap that shit on the joints, tape, scrape. Repeat for several layers, feathering out. (All beveled, so there shouldn’t be many/any square joints) less is more, dont kill yourself sanding later.

For inside corner: repeat

For outside corner: do I tape that as well, or just mud over the corner bead?

Is this a decent assessment?
What are some tips? (Even commonly known ones. Like I said, never done this)

Regarding the cheapness, were actually renting this house, got flooded, no flood insurance, not in a flood zone, owner cant practically afford the remodel and keep rent the same. Going to buy the house, all the labor is coming off the top, hopefully making mortgage cheaper than rent. All appliances will be new, still not in a flood zone due to a mistake on the city maintenance side leading to the flooding, so the flood insurance wont be ridiculous. Great neighborhood, 1/4m from work, nice house. It’s a dream come true short of Florence being a dick. Thanks for any advice guys!


#2

Usually I would have some handy dandy little tip or trick, but I got nothing on drywall, other than that sanding screens are the way to go. They don’t fill up like paper. One screen lasts like a mofo.


#3

Looks like you have it down for the most part, here’s my input:

  • there is the option of fiber tape which doesn’t require a layer of mud under it. Better? I dunno it worked for us and tyrned out good. I think the fiber is more flexible (?)

  • use a light placed close to the wall to expose the texture

  • I didn’t see anything about a vacuum. Once you start sanding the dust will go everywhere, consider the sanding pads with a vacuum duct on them.


#4

This was going to be my tip, especially if you have to do any cutting. That dust is a nightmare to clean up if you let it build up.


#5

My take: Save your sheckles and pay someone professional to do it. I would rather tile an entire house than hang one sheet of drywall. No matter how long I work on that stuff I can still see the seams. I can’t wait till someone invents something better to make stud coverings out of.


#6

They make drywall guns/drills for hanging drywall where you set the depth of the screw so it just compresses the paper slightly. If you don’t have one these are incredibly helpful. I can’t imagine using a regular drill.

Also the mud seems to contract a bit as it dries, make sure this doesn’t burn you with having indentations show up after you paint. (Maybe use a straight edge across once dry to make sure the joints are actually flat).

Ceilings are brutal, hope you don’t have to do those. If you do, making a t-shaped support out of 2x4’s can help wedge the pieces up if you don’t have many people helping.

The dust is insane, when my dad and I did their basement the Newfoundland kept coming downstairs and laying down, poor guy was all kinds of shades of black/white/grey.


#7

Yeah…I’ll admit that I’m just generally un-handy and barely trust myself to do anything other than cut the lawn and rake leaves, but it seems like you’re going to have to spend enough money buying the supplies that I’m wondering just how much you will actually save by DIY’ing it, and if that’s really worth the risk of mucking it up vs having someone that knows what they’re doing.

I’m certainly not going to tell anyone how to spend their money, but I’m curious - just how much do you expect to save DIY vs. paying a professional after you net out the cost of everything you’ll have to buy?


#8

I appreciate the responses guys, I’m going to answer kind of haphazardly here.

We actually bought some bits that set the screws about 1/16 inch beneath the sheetrock. While they only last about 40 screws before they’re totally stripped (kind of the point, they’re idiot proof) they’re cheap as dirt and came 4 to a package, but they helped tremendously.

As for the mess, the whole bottom floor has been gutted down to the slab, it’s already a disaster. And work gave me some 4mil covers for the upstairs when we get there. Luckily only the exterior walls on the second floor had to come out, so there is much less overall work to be done, hopefully the mess is mitigated. I might get a shop vac who knows.

The lighting, yeah, I was given that tip before, so I’ll definitely be using that.

Thankfully we do not have to do ceilings. The flooding did its damage sure, but the severity of the demo is only due to what we uncovered, being pre existing mold all the way up the exteriors. Which is extra great, because my roommate isnt physically capable, my girlfriend is about as soft as they come, and my shoulders are a wreck, so I’ll count my blessings there.

As for the cost, it kind if comes down to cutting corners wherever we can. The initial quote was around 80k. Which I’m sure they were trying to rob us blind, we kind of figured a more practical estimate of 30-40k. As of now we have:

*Completely gutted the house. Walls, floors, tile, doors, trim, etc. (Free)
*Sprayed for mold, using a handy discount at my job, came out to about ($100)
*Got a wonderful donation of insulation from my last job (I worked on the shower door installation side, not insulation, but left on good terms) and installed myself (Free)
*Estimated 38 12’ sections of drywall, had 22 donated, installed (Free) the rest will be as cost (unsure of pricing)
*Aquired all the tile needed for the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. (Free) but will definitely have to contract the installation.

So in total we’ve spent around… $180 in supplies and 0 on labor up to this point, which has been incredibly fortunate. But we know we have to contract out the roof and tile, which is still a pretty daunting sum of money. Sure, we COULD chip in more for the drywall, but I feel capable of it, and we bought an RV with the insurance money for the time being, so time isnt a huge factor.


#9

I should also specify I am not rolling in dough, I actually am pretty damn broke short of the renters insurance and my girlfriend’s car getting totalled out while retaining the exact same value she bought it for (seriously, Toyota Tacomas are the truth). I also am the farthest thing from handy. Adapt, overcome, and all that.

My biggest bonus here is just networking, I have been unbelievably fortunate with the assistance I’ve received and financial help from the city, my neighborhood, and my job. I’m honestly totally overwhelmed, and having to grow up a little quicker than expected, but nothing gets you motivated like being incredibly uncomfortable.


#10

I am a professional drywaller/taper/mudder. I have done many jobs where the homeowner attempts to do it themselves, finds out its much harder than it looks, and winds up calling us to fix it and spending more money in long run. Im not trying to be a jerk here, but if you can afford a contractor, then do it. Its far more of a pain in the butt than you realize…trust me…i do it every day. I do so much renovation work and repairs and there is a lot more to it, even to just clean up all that fine dust that comes from sanding than most people realize. So my advice would be to find a reputable contractor. They will have the right tools, the right set up, and will more than likely save you money in the long run.


#11

Out of curiosity, it’s something we’ve heard from our neighbors, if we were to throw in the towel and contract it out, people are having a hard time finding people that will mud but not hang. As in… so far no one has been able to find a contractor that’s willing to only do the mudding. Is this common practice?

I also might just start with the dining room. It’s small, it’s the cleanest in terms of cuts and outlets in the whole house, and if I dick it up, it’s just one room.

I kind of need the tools anyways because regardless of how this gets finished, were redoing the garage anyways. It’s my home gym and I have… grandiose plans for it, and I’m not too concerned about less than trade quality work on the sheetrock.


#12

As a professional in the drywall trade, i can tell you that the fiber tape stuff is hit or miss. Some rolls dont stick as well as others and i believe its weaker than paper tape. That being said it works fairly well for patches. There is a different type of fiber tape that came out a couple years ago that you put on with mud. It is stronger when it comes to a flat or a butt seam, but oddly enough too fragile for corners.


#13

I can tell you a lot of tapers will turn down jobs when they find out the home owner has boarded it. There is a lot more to it than you realize…thats why its a trade. You cant just learn how to do it and expect it to be good from info on the internet. I have taped behind a homeowners board job quite a few times, and it always sucks. It is some of the hardest taping you can do. So in a sense it is common practice. As long as you dont have butt seams everywhere and your screwing is not horrible, you should be able to find someone who will tape/mud it out for you.


#14

With the screws we did about every 8 inches along the edges, and 4 down each stud, with minimal shitty screwing. And I’d say about 80% of it is tapered:tapered ends. The only notable annoyances are 2 or 3 spots where I missed an old nail and it popped through. Well, I might be back on here when I tamper with that first room for advice and pictures. Maybe you can give me ideas and give me a defcon 5 red alert if I really fuck it up, and need to throw in the towel. Thanks for the input! (And the clear warning that I’m trying my hardest to ignore)


#15

I like the paper better than the mesh. I hope you went with premixed mud instaed of trying to mix it.
You can do this! You are an artist. It may take you a bit longer but, you can do it!


#16

Don’t do the drywall yourself. Drywalling is an art.

You can do the tile. That shits easy… just don’t get the pre-mixed mortar.


#17

From my experience Hanging the stuff is easy. But damn the mudding is a beast! As pointed out you will do well to hire that out !


#18

If it’s a kids playroom in the basement, I’d suggest you do it yourself.

If it’s the dining room on the main level, maybe pay to have it done.

I’m the DIY type of guy, and when I did our bathroom addition in my 100yr old house (that had many flaws so perfect drywall wasn’t necessary) it looked pretty good, and we (my gf and I) kept saying “it wasn’t that hard” and it was pretty rewarding.

Of course it also comes down to how much money you have and how much you’re willing to spend on a good looking wall.