February 7, 2012

#135- Part 1- How To Drywall

When we last left the Downstairs Bath we had gutted the room, replaced the exhaust fan and removed the popcorn ceilings.  Which left us with a big empty hole where a bathroom used to be.

Half the drywall in this room was either covered with gross tile or a mirror and vanity.  Which means we had a lot of work to do to get this room back together in one piece.  Now every time we do a new project, we always promise each other that we'll hire out the drywall.  It's not that it's difficult, it's like juggling for example.  The concepts of juggling are pretty easy to understand, but actually being able to juggle well takes a lot of practice and talent.  That's drywall for you, any dummy can learn how to do it, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do it right the first time.  Somehow every time the Hubs and I look at the cost to hire it out though, and get all confident that we can do it by ourselves again.  And then I end up looking like this:

Will we ever learn?

But if you're willing to get a little dirty and spend some time to do it right, here goes.

Tools Needed:

Drywall T-Square
Carpenter Pencils
Utility Knife with Extra Blades
Countersink Bit for Drill
1 5/8" Drywall Screws
Joint Compound
Joint Tape
Drywall Knife
Drywall Sanding Paddle
Drywall Sanding Screen

Step 1- Lay out your sheet of drywall on a table or sawhorses.  You'll notice in this post we are using both a green "water proof" drywall and a regular grayish-white color.  Both have the same smooth finish and will paint seamlessly, so in this case its okay that we're using them together.  We're all about using scraps, and for us this whole drywall project cost $0.  Bam!

 Step 2- Measure the size of the piece you will need.  Drywall must always fit in between at least 2 studs in your wall so that it can be connected flush on both sides.  If you don't have an exposed stud on both edges of your piece, you'll have to cut back the drywall still on the wall back to a stud.  Cut it to the center of the stud, that way the piece on each side of the stud has room to attach.

Step 3- Use your T square to measure your cut on your drywall.

Ignore the garbage in my garage please.  It hadn't made it out to the dumpster yet.
Step 4- Use your T square to score a line in the drywall at your measurements.  I usually pull the utility knife through about 3 times.  You do not have to get all the way through the drywall, just score the top layer.

Here's how it looks after scoring.
 Step 5- Flip your scored piece of drywall over and place one hand on your cut edge, and one hand flat and firm on the other side.  Carefully pull it your cut edge to bring it to a 90 degree angle.

Add caption

 Step 6- Then run your utility knife along the seam to remove your cut piece from the rest of the sheet.

Step 7- Once your piece is cut, its time to hang it. To do this you'll use drywall screws and a counter sink bit, which will allow your screw to embed just slightly in the drywall so that it isn't seen, without breaking through the piece.

This is what a countersink bit looks like.
 Place a screw at each corner and approximately every 8-10 inches along your seams.  Place your screws close enough to the edge that you'll screw firmly into the studs, but not too close or the edge of your drywall will crumble.  *Note- always make sure your screw is connecting firmly with a stud.  If it's not, it will go in really quick, almost like you can just push it through the drywall.  If this happens, remove that screw.  Otherwise over time it could slide back out and create raised screw marks on your wall.

The screw on the left is done correctly.  It is depressed just enough into the board that it will be invisible once mud and tape are applied. ( I had yet to replace the screw on the right side, so ignore that hole.)
Step 8- Time for the slightly messy part- mud and tape.  I definetly recogmend the lightweight joint compound, and I used the paper-like tape because I had it on hand.

My tape looks like this
Any two pieces of drywall that come together need to be connected at the seam with tape.  First, cut a piece of tape to the exact size.  Then apply joint compound (mud) to the wall seam with your drywall knife making sure you get full coverage on both sides of the seam.  Next I quickly pass my piece of tape through a clean bowl of water and then run the tape between two fingers to remove any excess, you just want your piece of tape to be damp.  Then you place your tape up over your seam.  Hold the tape at the top  with a little mud on your knife,  run your knife down along the tape at a 45 degree angle to smooth it against the wall.  Water and excess mud will squeeze out the sides. 

No judging, we're still in progress.
Then you can carefully apply a thin layer of mud, just enough to cover up all the tape so that you can't see it, on top of your tape.  This is where that whole practice and skill thing comes in, because its tricky to apply a thin, even coat on top of your tape and mud without moving or bunching your tape.  Many websites recommend if you are a beginner to wait on this step 24 hours hours until your tape and mud is dry.  That way there's no way your tape will shift in the process.

 If it's not entirely smooth, you can come back after it drys to smooth it out.  Also make sure to scrape a little mud over every screw so that they are hidden.

Step 9- Now comes the super messy part- 24 hours later, come back to sand.  Use your paddle sander to smooth out your dried mud so that it is completely smooth and seamless.  Don't sand too much that you can see your tape though, or you've gone too far.  Make sure to close off the room and protect your house from the dust.  Not that our sheet of plastic over the door did the trick... It can't. Be. Stopped. 

This is the part that drives me to drink, because unless you are a secret drywalling genius, its likely that your mud won't be completely smooth and even the first time around.  Which means you make a crazy mess sanding down everything, then you wipe down the walls and vacuum up the floor, and then start all over again.  Apply mud to any seam, screw or spot that isn't completely smooth, scraping it off again with your knife at a 45 degree angle.  Even though it's incredibly frustrating, trust me, any spot that is even slightly questionable now, will look terrible once you apply paint, so it's better to fix it now while its still "easy."

Hubs sanding the ceiling for the third time.

Full disclaimer, partially because I'm not very good at drywall, and part because I'm a Type A perfectionist, there were some parts in our bathroom with went back and redid 3 times.  There's just nothing worse than doing all that work, and then once you apply the paint you have an obvious bump or line in your wall.  But in the end we looked like this:

Forgive the dark photos, I can't wait until we get lights back up in this business.  But first we need to prime everything, (walls, ceiling, trim and door), then ceiling paint, then wall paint.  Stay tuned!

PS- If you are just joining us and want to get the whole scoop on the Downstairs Bathroom remodel, you can click on the "Archive" Tab and search by the name of the room to view all the posts regarding that room.  How it helps!

1 comment:

  1. Hate hate hate drywall sanding.