How to Install Gypsum Wallboard

This articles takes the DIY enthusiast through the process of installing gypsum wallboard. It describes the tools that are needed, and it also details some considerations that are needed when working with this material.

Step 1 — Plan Layout
Plan the location of each wallboard panel so that no joints will be at the corners of windows or doors. Joints at corners can easily crack, bulge, and interfere with later door and window installation.

Step 2 — Attach First Panel on Upper Wall
Use your wallboard lift to hoist the first wallboard panel in place. Make sure it fits snugly against the ceiling and the side edge is centered on a framing stud. Trim any excess wallboard if needed. If possible, have a helper press the wallboard panel tight against the framing while you secure the first wallboard screw at the top corner. Always wear protective eye goggles and a dust mask while using a power drill with gypsum wallboard.

Step 3 — Add Remaining Upper Panels
Using your first panel as a guide, measure and cut the rest of the needed wallboard panels so that each can be fastened to a framing stud. Use your utility knife to bevel the edges, and leave a 1/8 inch gap at each panel joint to allow for normal expansion.

Step 4 — Install Bottom Panels
Measure and cut your bottom wallboard panels to fit tightly against the top row. Use your wallboard lifter to leave a 1/2 inch expansion gap between the bottom edge and the floor. Secure the wallboard at the top edge first, double-checking that it is flush with the bottom of the upper panels.
If you need to install your wallboard panels vertically due to the layout of the framing, leave a similar 1/2 expansion gap between the top edge and the ceiling. Ceiling base molding will cover this gap later.

Step 5 — Add Remaining Upper Panels
Using your first panel as a guide, measure and cut the rest of the needed wallboard panels so that each can be fastened to a framing stud. Use your utility knife to bevel the edges, and leave a 1/8 inch gap at each panel joint to allow for normal expansion.

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