Attaching sheets of drywall to your 2×4 studs the right way makes a huge difference. If you do it right, plastering and painting are a breeze. If your drywall isn’t properly attached you’ll have visible screw heads, messy patches, and cracks. I’ve developed a system that makes securing drywall fast and easy. All you need is a few simple tools and the right know-how.
1. Assemble Your Tools
Use these 1 ⅜-inch drywall screws to attach your drywall to wood studs. They’re long enough to hold thick drywall in place and they won’t back out like nails do.
Besides screws, you’ll need an electric drill to drive the screws. You should also have a measuring tape, a carpenter’s pencil, and a utility knife handy.
2. Measure the Distance Between Studs
Before you cover your wall with a sheet of drywall, use your measuring tape to find the distance between the wall studs.
Find the distance between the center of the first stud and the center of the stud next to it. Your screws need to be driven into the center of the stud, so the “on-center” measurement is more important than knowing the space between studs. Once you find the on-center distance between your wall studs, write the number down.
3. Position Your Drywall
Before you can start attaching drywall, it’s essential to get it in position first. With the help of an assistant, hold the sheet of drywall in position up against the wall.
If you’re starting at the edge of a wall, position the drywall so that one of the manufactured edges is flush with the corner of the wall. Then, determine if the drywall sheet fits horizontally and vertically in the space. If it’s too large, you’ll need to cut it.
4. Mark the Position of Each Stud
With your drywall sheet in position, it’s time to mark the center line of each stud on the face of the drywall. So, starting at the edge of your drywall, use your center-to-center measurement to locate each stud. Then, mark this location with a pencil.
All of the screws you drive into your drywall must be driven into these studs. So, take your time. If you need to remove your drywall and double-check your measurements, do so.
5. Cut Drywall if Necessary
Drywall must be attached to a wall stud at both the left and right edges. If your drywall is not secured along an edge, it will bend and flex, which causes cracks in your finished wall. To prevent this problem, cut your drywall along the centerline of the stud closest to the edge.
Use your pencil to mark the drywall along the centerline of the stud closest to the drywall edge. Then, use your utility knife to cut your drywall so the edge lines up with the center of the stud.
6. Drive Screws to the Proper Depth
Along each vertical stud, drive in one screw every 12 inches (30 cm) to secure the drywall to the stud. Make sure
Drive the screws just deeply enough that there is a slight dimple where the screw sinks into the drywall. If the screw is not driven deeply enough, it will show through the joint compound when you finish the wall. If the screw is too deep, it will tear through the drywall.
7. Solve the Seams
At seams where two pieces of drywall meet, make sure both sheets of drywall are screwed to the stud. This will require measuring, cutting, and slight adjustments.
Don’t worry if there are slight gaps between sheets of drywall where they meet. As long as the gap is less than ½-inch (13 mm), you patch them and prevent drywall seams showing through paint.