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Finish Your Basement for the Holidays – Hanging Drywall

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Holidays are a time for family and togetherness. Is your home ready for holiday guests and festivities? Whether you’re remodeling an outdated room or finally getting around to that unfinished basement, here’s a how to guide to get the drywall process started:

What you’ll need:

  • Drywall T
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Keyhole saw
  • Sheetrock Jack Model 439 PANELLIFT®
  • Screw gun or drill with philips bit
  • Drywall screws
  • Safety glasses

Cutting Drywall

The first step to hanging drywall is cutting it to the appropriate size to cover your walls. Most sheets can easily be used at their full size, but edge pieces may require resizing to fit your space. You will also want to cut pieces to ensure the vertical layers follow a staggered joint pattern (much like a brick laying pattern, preventing continual vertical seams).

TIP: When you hang drywall, we recommend hanging it horizontally to use fewer sheets of drywall for your project.

To cut drywall, follow these easy steps:

  1. Measure your length out on the drywall sheet with your tape measure. Place the tape parallel with the top edge to make sure you get a straight and accurate measure. Mark the length you want with a pencil or score the point with the tip of your utility knife. DO NOT use a pen or marker. Both will bleed through your texture and paint.

    TIP: The paper side of your drywall is the front. This is the side you will want to mark and later cut with your utility knife.

  2. Align your drywall T with the length marker. The top of a drywall T is design to rest on the top edge of the drywall and creates a nice perpendicular vertical line. Trace that line with your utility knife, starting at the top. Cut halfway down, then begin cutting from the bottom up to meet your first cut.

    TIP: You need only apply enough pressure to cut through the paper. Using too much pressure can result in injury, a sloppy cut, or damage to your drywall.

  3. Once the initial cut is done, move behind the drywall, placing a hand on each side of the cut. Rest your knee to the backside of the cut and pull the drywall in, forcing the cut to snap through the rest of the drywall. The two pieces of drywall will still be attached on the backside. Run your utility knife up the break, starting at the bottom until you reach the halfway point. Then finish the cut from the top down.

Cutting holes for outlets, light switches and fixtures is a little trickier, but still fairly easy if you follow these steps:

  1. Measure out the area you need to cut out in pencil. Make sure it’s accurate in placement and size to prevent issues later.

  2. Use your utility knife to score the pencil outline. Again, make sure all of your marks are on the paper side of the drywall.

  3. Once you’ve traced the entire outline, use your keyhole saw. Starting at one corner, carefully cut through the drywall on three of the four sides of the outline.

  4. Firmly tap the outlet area from the scored side of the drywall to pop the section out. It will still be attached on one side by the paper. Use your utility knife to cut the back of the final side to completely remove the section.

  5. Your edges will be a little jagged. Smooth them out with a sharp utility blade for a clean fit when you hang the drywall.

Hanging Drywall

Now that you’ve cut your drywall, it’s time to hang it. Make sure to enlist the help of a Sheetrock Jack to avoid unnecessary injury. The Sheetrock Jack allows you to safely lift drywall into place at various heights and angles, including ceilings, for a quick and easy job well done. For more information about renting the Sheetrock Jack check out the Time Equipment Rental Catalog.

  1. Place your drywall against the wall frame. Use a pencil to indicate on the drywall where the center of the stud sits behind it. Use a drywall T to extend your mark down the length of the drywall.

  2. About an inch from the top of the drywall sheet, use the tip of a screw to puncture the surface. Use your screw gun or drill to drive the screw into the drywall and stud until the head of the screw makes a small indent on the paper, but does not puncture. Repeat this step with a screw in the middle of the stud line and at the bottom of the stud line.

  3. Butt your next piece of drywall against the hung drywall snuggly to prevent gaps and repeat step 2.

  4. Once you have hung your bottom layer of drywall, move vertically up the wall and begin the second layer. Remember to use a staggered joint pattern, much like a brick laying pattern, when hanging the drywall to prevent continual vertical seams and possible cracks in your wall later on.

Congratulations. You’ve just drywalled your unfinished room. Your next step to a finished basement or remodeled room is Muddying Drywall.

Let’s do something together! Time Equipment Rental & Sales offers a wide selection of equipment for rent, including landscaping, concrete, flooring, excavation, and home improvement equipment. Contact us for more information about the tools and equipment you’ll need to get your home improvement project done.


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