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Great Tips on Installing Drywall that can "Make" or "Break" Your Remodeling Project!

The following tips on installing drywall are focused mainly on butt joints. The short ends of a new drywall sheet are not preformed; therefore there is no recess. When they are “butted” together, they form what is referred to as a butt joint. Surprisingly, these edges are not as rigid and strong as the preformed, recessed edges.


Butt Joint


Recessed Joint

If you don’t build drywall butt joints correctly then all the mud and tape in the world won’t save you! Whether you’re hanging panels on a wall, or a ceiling, carefully consider “where” you will place the butt joints. You should consider this before you decide which size panels to buy (they're available in different lengths).

Tips on Installing Drywall #1:These 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. Can you avoid butt joints all-together by choosing longer panels? If not, what is the best location for the butt joints?

Using your 4-ft level or a tight string or chalk line, identify the framework that’s out of alignment and clearly mark it! Avoid placing the butt joint on the defective stud or area- or correct the misalignment if possible.

Tips on Installing Drywall #2: This could involve moving the stud, replacing the stud, or even using a power “stud planer”. This makes the taping/finishing SO much easier. Planning ahead is better than doing the sheetrock installation first, and then checking the framework afterwards.


Also, avoid placing butt joints on stairwell walls by choosing longer sheets whenever possible.


Tips on Installing Drywall #3: The next time you have trouble fastening a drywall butt joint (due to poor alignment of the butt-edge with the stud), try placing the screw directly into the center-line of the joint. Don’t over-tighten. This works well if your edges aren’t butchered and the gap of the joint is minimal.

To use this method, BOTH PANELS MUST REST ON THE STUD. In other words, never try to build a butt joint where one side is unsupported and "floating in space". In the example shown above, the panels are bonded and fastened over a plaster wall.

Keep those butt joints fastened “tightly” to the stud! The fasteners shouldn’t be any further apart than the buttons on your shirt! If you want to eliminate movement on a butt joint, you have to do it with FASTENERS.

It takes more than just joint compound and tape to build STRONG butt joints that never show.

5-inch maximum spacing between the fasteners.

Always remove any screws or nails that
miss the framing.

Tips on Installing Drywall #4: Do-it-yourselfers usually find that it’s easier to use an ordinary cordless screw gun for installing the screws to the inside corners and the drywall butt joints. This is because the corded drywall screw guns are hard to control when you’re installing the screws at a slight angle, or in tight spots.

Related Articles:

Tips on Hanging Drywall - Links
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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.

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