DRYWALLING TECHNIQUES FOR
SHEETROCKING
OR BOARDING CEILINGS



Sheetrocking or boarding ceilings involves the use of sheets of drywall or sheetrock board as it's sometimes called to cover your ceilings.


Furthermore sheetrock (drywall) board is the most commonly used building product due to its ease of use and finished look.

Sheetrocking how to advice for boarding your ceilings follows below where you will find instructions for the drywalling ceilings process.

For those attaching drywall to their walls you might want to use this boarding walls page. Once your sheetrocking or boarding ceilings is completed head on over to the finishing drywall section , to learn more about mudding, taping and floating those tapered seams and screw or nail holes.



TOOLS FOR SHEETROCKING OR BOARDING CEILINGS

Here's a list of tools you might need when sheetrocking or boarding ceilings. You'll need to choose that work best for your particular project.
  • Ladders
  • Board lift
  • Drywall cutters (electric and non electric saws, router etc)
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal Drywall T square
  • 2 Flat bars
  • Variable Speed Electric Drills (cordless, with extra battery's)
  • Dimpler ( special driver for drywall screws)
  • Hammer
  • Sheetrock nails
  • Screwdriver (drywall screw size)
  • Pencil
  • Heavy duty utility knife
  • Scaffolding
  • Stud Finder




MATERIALS
Either drywall screws or nails can be used to board sheetrock. Sheetrock also varies in type (e.g. aquaboard), length, width and thickness. Talk to your local home improvement sales representative or drywall supplier for assistance regarding the tools and materials you'll need for your specific sheetrocking or boarding ceilings job.


OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Most ceilings need to be insulated so be sure you have the recommended vapor barriers and insulation installed prior to begin a drywalling project. Your local home improvement center will assist you with the proper ceiling insulation procedures.


BOARDING CEILINGS
Depending on what part of the world you live in most drywall board or sheetrock comes in different lengths. The most common being 8' 10' and 12' x 4' sheets. Check with local building suppliers regarding the type and size of board sold in your area.

When buying drywall board for sheetrocking or boarding ceilings keep in mind that longer boards can be cut to fit the length or width of a room. Doing so will cut down on the amount of mudding you'll have to do. Even so, drywalling techniques that involve longer boards require a little more skill when handling and of course longer sheetrock tends to break easier. Be sure to use the type of drywall board that you feel most comfortable hanging.

A board lift (or jack) is a great tool to have on hand when boarding ceilings (especially when dealing with angles). Board lifts can be rented from your local home improvement center or equipment rental store.

You don't always need a jack or lift, just cut some 2x4s at a length that's the same distance from your floor to ceiling less a half inch . With the long boards ready, cut two more 2x4s, two feet long.

Lay the boards flat with the widest parts or the 2x4s touching each other and screw the two foot long boards to both ends of the longer 2x4. Doing so will create a stand in the shape of the letter I . Use wood screws that are long enough to almost go through the thickness of two 2x4s (about 2 3/4" in length). With the first 2x4 stand done proceed to building another one.

The newly built stands can then be used to hold your drywall in place while the sheetrocking or boarding ceilings process is being completed .


CUTTING DRYWALL
One of the drywalling techniques you'll need to learn is cutting the sheetrock itself. Drywall can be cut with the help of a number of different types of drywall routers, rotary cut out tools or spin saws. Reciprocating, saber or jig saws also work fine as long as the proper blade is used. Non electric hand held saws will work fine but tend to be tiresome if you have a number of boards to cut.

Never use a circular type saw when cutting boards, the amount of dust that it creates is unbelievable.

A measuring tape, drywall T square and pencil will help to mark cut lines. A chalk lines does the job too just be sure the chalk you use is paintable.

When sheetrocking or boarding ceilings it's always a good idea to have a good sharp heavy duty utility knife on hand for cutting drywall. To do so, draw a pencil line or cut along the edge of a metal T square. Use your utility knife to cut (deep) through the paper that's on your drywall then bend the board at your cut line. Once the board has been bent cut through your sheetrock paper on the other side of the board. Leaving the board at somewhat of an angle while your cutting at the bend will help keep your second cut strait.


BEGIN BOARDING YOUR CEILING
When sheetrocking or boarding ceilings its always good idea to have an extra pair of hands nearby to assist with the drywalling process.
Drywall board has a front and a back. Be sure to hang your sheetrock in the recomended manner. In most cases the front is usually white in color while the back is gray. If your not sure, ask a drywall sales representative for assistance.

To start your ceilings project begin at one end of the room in a corner to secure your first sheet of drywall board. The longest part of your sheetrock should lay across the ceiling joists so that the board runs in the opposite direction of the joist (grid style). As an example, when the ceiling joists go from north to south, a 10' x 4' long sheet of drywall should be screwed (or nailed) to the ceiling with the 10' (longest) edges of your board running east to west.

If you can't see the ceiling joists you might want to use a stud finder to mark their location.

No matter how you hang the board keep in mind that the edge of a drywall board needs to be secured to a joist with screws (or nails). If you need to cut the board so that a boards edge can be attached to a joist then go ahead and do so. When cutting sheetrock and you see that two boards will butt up against each other be sure to leave enough room on the joist where the boards will lay. You want them cut so their centered otherwise you won't be able to screw (or nail) both sections of the boards edges to the same joist.

Remember to try and place your drywall nails or screws about an inch and a half away from the drywall boards edge. Screws (nails) also need to be secured in a strait line. Use a drywall T square and pencil (not pen) or chalk line (blue) to create a centered, strait line to follow.

Ceiling screws (nails) are usually placed 12" apart and into a joist. Your screws (nails) should just barely dimple the drywall boards paper surface. Screw head must also be just below the surface of a board but the screw shouldn't tear into the sheetrock paper. Dimplers that fit into your drill can help keep surface tearing to a minimum even so, be careful when using them.

If needed, cut your next piece of drywall board to size. Once the board is ready butt it up to the first sheet of drywall. It's not necessary to leave gaps between the sheets as their butted up against each other.

Keep going around the room with your newly acquired sheetrocking or boarding ceilings techniques by cutting and applying drywall board until your project is completed.


BUTT JOINTS
Edges on the longest sides of a sheet of drywall board are tapered so as to make the taping and mudding of drywall seems a little easier. Whenever possible place non-tapered edges next to walls and tapered edges next to each other.

When you do have to place two non-tapered edges next to each other it's called a butt joint. But joints require drywalling techniques that involve a certain amount of skill. What that means is whenever possible try not to use a butt joint. Otherwise you will need to enhance your taping and mudding (finishing) know how.


ELECTRICAL CUT OUTS
When doing a sheetrocking or boarding ceilings project drywall routers, spin saws, rotary tools, hole saws and non-electric drywall saws, can all be used to cut around your electrical boxes.

With that said, it's always a good idea to practice using any type of tool that you have never operated before.


TEXTURING CEILINGS
One of the drywalling techniques that a professional dry-waller uses is to texture a ceiling after it has been taped and mudded. Texturing a ceiling saves time since one doesn’t have to be quite as fussy about mudding and sanding since the surface is going to have a texture over it.

This texturing ceilings page should help you get the job done.


SUMMARY



As I'm sheet-rocking or boarding ceilings I will cut tapered edges of a drywall board off if it's going to touch a wall. I do this because I hate mudding corners and prefer to use a couple coats of high quality paintable caulking instead.

To caulk where the wall butts at the ceiling you will need little or no gap where the ceiling and wall sheetrock meet. Cutting drywall and leaving a small gap can be very difficult to do as most corners are uneven. If your corners are uneven it's probably best to leave the tapered ends for taping and mudding instead of using caulk.

Caulking is not the suggested way to finish corners even though I have yet to have a problem. Proper caulking techniques, just like sheetrocking or boarding ceilings skills, require practice to get a project looking like a professional did the job. Even so, caulking is easier to learn than mudding a drywall corner. With that said applying compound to your corners is recommended so you might want to purchase a special corner taping knife from your local home improvement center.

If your caulking keep in mind that the hole in the caulking tube should be large enough to get the caulk out, yet small enough to control the caulk itself. To much caulk tends to make a big mess especially when smoothing the caulk out with your finger.

You will need to decide on the corner filling technique that works best for you. If you are in doubt as to whether you should caulk or mud your dry-walled corners then tape and mud them to be on the safe side.

Sheetrock comes in different types so check with your local supplier regarding the products and tools you'll need for your particular project. As an example if your sheetrocking or boarding ceilings in a bathroom you might need to use a board made specifically for humid areas.


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