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Definitions and Tips on Installing Drywall

Tips on installing drywall #1: Butt joints are more difficult to finish with joint compound than recessed joints. Consider whether or not you can limit the number of butt joints by choosing longer drywall panels.

DRYWALL BUTT JOINTS: The short ends of a new drywall sheet are not preformed (as shown above), therefore there is no recess. When they are "butted" together, they form what are referred to as drywall butt joints. Surprisingly, these edges are not as strong and/or sag-resistant as the pre-formed, recessed edges.

Tips on installing drywall #2: Drywall butt joints should always be formed parallel-to (and directly on) a framing member. Keep in mind that butt joints are more difficult to finish with joint compound than recessed joints.

FACTORY JOINT (RECESSED JOINT): A recessed joint is formed when the long, un-cut edges of 2 drywall sheets are placed together (as shown above). These long edges are pre-formed at the factory to a "lesser thickness" than the rest of the sheet. For example, if you were to measure the factory edge of a piece of 1/2 inch drywall, it would only measure a little over 3/8 inch thick.

Tips on installing drywall #3: The "recess" that is formed provides a higher-strength joint for spanning the distance between framing members, and also allows for easier taping and finishing.

LAMINATE/LAMINATION: Drywall laminating means applying new drywall directly over an existing wall surface (drywall or plaster), as opposed to applying it directly to the original framing members.

FIELD: The "edge area" of each panel is a 6-inch margin around each panel that gets covered with compound during the taping and coating. The "field" area of a drywall panel is the entire remaining area.

JOINT GAP: There’s some controversy on this topic. You may read occasionally that "some" gap is required on drywall butt joints, however this is not a concern as long as the recommended fastener spacing is followed, and the butt joints are formed parallel-to and "directly on top of" the stud.

Tips on installing drywall #4: A joint-gap of zero is very common. Gaps that do occur are not a problem as long as they’re filled with compound in the taping stage. Avoid creating gaps that are over 1/4- inch wide on recessed joints and butt joints because it can affect the strength of the joint.

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