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How to Inspect a Hanging Job - and Other Tips On Hanging Drywall

The following tips on hanging drywall will show you exactly what to look for (or what to ask for) in a hanging job. Over the years I‘ve come across some simple techniques that have helped me to “bid” the jobs, and also to prepare them for taping. I like to call them the “Rattle Test”, and the “Click Test”.

First, make sure that any areas around
a tub/shower unit are hung with a water–resistant material.
Usually, water-resistant drywall is a noticeably different color (Green or purple in most cases). Next, try the following simple tests:

Rattle Test

The first thing I like to test for is drywall glue. Since I don’t have x-ray vision I use an easy, fool-proof method: Make a firm fist and bump the drywall (in a pounding motion) at the location of the studs.

Wherever you see fasteners, there’s a stud.

“Listen” while you pound.

What to listen for: Excessive rattling and “board-slap”. “Board slap” is the sound emitted when the drywall slaps against the studs when you bump it. This is proof that there is a gap between the drywall panels and the wall studs (on the back-side.) When the drywall panels are glued on, it always sounds solid.

The first time that you hear (and feel) the difference between a glued-wall vs. a non-glued wall, you will be foolproof! Bad hanging jobs “rattle” and “slap”. On the other hand, if enough fasteners are used BEFORE THE TAPING STARTS, then your drywall job will turn out fine either way.

Tips on hanging drywall#1: Notice the area where the walls meet the floor. If the drywall is actually “resting” on the floor, there’s an increased chance that the panels are not completely “against” the wall studs (bad news!) For basement additions, the panels should be about ½-inch away from the floor.

Tips on hanging drywall#2: I don’t recommend pounding on someone else’s finished walls: if the drywall panels aren’t tight, you’ll pop their nails and damage their joints and they might hit back!

If your drywall panels were not glued, the link called “Sheetrock Nail Spacing” (found at the bottom of this page) will show you how to effectively deal with it. Even if your walls are glued, you’ll still need to pay close attention to the fastener spacing on the inside corners and the butt joints.

Click test

The next quick test requires a small joint knife (preferably a 6-inch). Hold the blade at a 45-degree angle to the wall and apply enough pressure to cause the blade to slightly bend. Next, drag it over all of the fasteners quickly (pull on the blade handle – don’t push). Any fastener heads that are protruding beyond the wall surface will cause a noticeable “Click”. Pay close attention to the inside corners and the butt joints where these “clickers” are most commonly found.

"Tips on hanging drywall#3: If you’re finding quite a few clickers on every wall that you check, then chances are that the drywall hangers are not “professional” drywall hangers. This is exactly why it’s so important to request that drywall adhesive is used for hanging the drywall panels (onto wooden wall studs). You can see what a “clicker” looks like when it’s coated in the following photos.


Tips on hanging drywall #4: Carry a Phillips screwdriver for tightening screws. Never use a hammer to “sink” a screw, even if you’re in a hurry. Doing so will only break the screw-head off and damage the surrounding drywall.

The Edge Inspection

The last part of the inspection involves paying close attention to the edges of the hung pieces. NOTE: The condition of the edges will directly affect the quality of the joints! This is commonly overlooked. Always take the time to trim the edges that are frayed with a super-sharp utility knife. Once you have clean-cut solid edges, you can build strong, invisible joints.

(A butchered butt joint!)

Tips on hanging drywall #5: NO LOOSE PAPER ALLOWED! Get your utility knife and look for raised paper edges, especially on the butt joints, trim them off. Any fractures or broken areas should be checked for loose paper trim it off. Remember, loose paper is a blister waiting to happen.


(Ready for mud and tape)




Tips on hanging drywall#6: Don’t be afraid to cut the paper and remove the areas where the core material of the drywall is broken. Filling these areas in with fresh compound will yield higher-strength joints and a more solid wall.

Tips On Hanging Drywall - Which Category Does Your Hanging Job Fit Into?

# 1: GOOD (Needs very little preparation for taping)

  Drywall panels are not “loose” to the stud,
(preferably they’re glued).

  Keep in mind that very few fasteners are needed in the field area of each panel when drywall construction adhesive is used. However it's usually not a good idea to limit the number of fasteners used on insulated exterior walls.

  Fewest possible butt joints: (Sometimes you have no other option but to use 8-ft sheets, so you just can’t limit the number of butt joints)

  The “field” area of each drywall piece is “screwed”, NOT NAILED

  Fastener heads are properly tightened or “set”

  Clean-cut, Solid edges

  Little or no gaps.


 # 2: POOR (Needs MAJOR preparation for taping)

  Drywall panels are loose (fastened loosely to the studs) - no glue / not enough fasteners

  Too many butt joints

  Field areas are “nailed” – (harder to finish with compound)

  Protruding fastener heads / over-tightened fasteners w/broken face-paper

  Butchered edges / loose paper / smashed edges

  Large gaps


 # 3: UN-FIT

  Wrong material on walls or ceiling (too thin)

  Wrong spacing on framework (too much span)

  Loose Framing / Excessive Movement

Related Articles:

Tips on Hanging Drywall - Links
Do you want to know the REAL cause of most nail pops and tub/shower units that keep cracking at the wall? These important tips on hanging drywall will put an END to these problems.

Tips on Installing Drywall - Walls
Tips on installing drywall that reveal how to build walls that will remain 99%free of nail pops! Learn the fool-proof way to drywall outside corners.

How to Hang Wallboard - Ceilings
Learn how to hang wallboard ceilings that NEVER SAG! Now you can install ceiling sheetrock the EASY way!

Tips on Installing Drywall - Butt Joints
Great tips on installing drywall can "make" or "break" your remodeling project! If you don't build the joints correctly, then all the mud and tape in the world won't save you!

Tips On Hanging Drywall - Inspection
How to inspect a hanging job and other tips on hanging drywall. Can you tell the difference between a good hanging job and a BAD one? Do you know what to look for, or what to ask for in a hanging job?

Bathroom Walls Sheetrock
Install a new tub/shower unit that NEVER CRACKS at the wall! Bathroom walls sheetrock tips for permanently fixing a tub/shower that just keeps cracking!

Sheetrock Nail Spacing
Proper sheetrock nail spacing is the key to preventing loose drywall panels, weak joints, multiple nail pops, and other on-going problems.

Tips on Installing Drywall - Definitions
The following definitions and tips on installing drywall will help to speed your learning.

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