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Drywall an Existing Wall

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Step 2: Cutting Drywall

Building Smarts

A jigsaw is great for cutting inside corners. A hand wood saw does a fine job of cutting drywall, if you use enough support to avoid breakage.

A rasp (rough-cutting file) smoothes cuts in drywall. If pieces are too tight, rasping the edges may save recutting.

Building Smarts

A drywall screw gun is ideal for hanging rock. These guns can be set to drive screws at any depth you want. A variable speed drill will work, but it's harder to control depth. For a big job, consider renting a screw gun.

When screwing a corner, take account of the drywall on the adjacent wall. To hit the stud, this screw must be 114" from the corner.

With the prep work done, the pace should start to pick up. Hang panels horizontally or vertically, following these guidelines:

  • Minimize the number of joints.

  • Place vertical joints at the center of studs.

  • Avoid joints at the top corners of windows or doors. Try to place a sheet surrounding the opening, in the form of an upside-down U.

Tip: A sharp utility knife can cut one side of the drywall. (It's easiest to use a couple of strokes.) Fold the piece away from you and cut the far side. Use a handy guide called a drywall square.

Step 3: Hanging Rock (Fastening Drywall)

Once you have a few pieces cut, you'll start hanging rock—as drywallers call the fastening stage. Most people use screws, but traditionalists can still find phosphate-coated, rust-resistant drywall nails. Make a small dimple with the last hammer stroke, pushing the nail head below the surface.

Tack the corner bead in place. When the bead is straight and slightly above the adjacent surfaces, pound the nails home.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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