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The Basics of Drywall Installation and Finish

Hiring a professional to install and finish your drywall may cost more upfront, but can save you money in the long run. A poorly managed job can result in an unappetizing look and structural problems that will require expensive fixes.

After all of the drywall is hung, drag a putty knife gently over each fastener. If the knife hits a protruding screw head, it needs to be set below the surface. Contact Drywall Installation Naperville now!

Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is a popular wall material. It has become a staple in the construction industry due to its ease of installation and many other advantages over plastering. While it is a little more expensive than plaster, drywall is easier to work with and less likely to crack with settling or improper installation. In addition, drywall can be recycled and reused for future projects.

When installing drywall, it is important to use the correct fasteners. Screws should be used instead of nails because they are more stable. They should be set in studs to ensure a strong support system. If you hear a clicking sound when driving in a screw, this is a sign that the nail or screw is protruding and needs to be set with a hammer or drill. If you do not set these fasteners, they could break the drywall and cause problems with the structural integrity of the wall.

After the drywall is installed, it is typically taped with either paper or fiberglass-mesh tape at the joints, corners and places where two sheets meet. This helps to hide the seams and add strength to the wall. Several layers of joint compound, often referred to as mud, are then applied and sanded for a smooth finish. This is done to prepare the wall for paint or other finishes.

In some cases, a sheathing is placed behind the drywall to increase the strength of the wall or as a method of decoupling to mitigate noise transfer between rooms. The sheathing may also be utilized in place of a metal stud or other framing material.

Drywall should be cut carefully around obstructions, such as electrical j-boxes and plumbing rough-ins. When cutting the drywall, use a utility knife to get a clean, straight edge. It is important to not skip any steps in drywall installation, as this can lead to a poorly finished project. For example, if you skip the step of dragging a putty knife gently over all fasteners, it could cause them to pop out in the future and create bigger holes for patching.


After the drywall sheets are secured to wall or ceiling studs and joists, a series of layers of joint compound (also called mud) are spread over the entire surface, covering any screw holes or defects. This is then sanded smooth before painting. The mud also conceals the seams between drywall sheets, which are typically joined by tape or fiber mesh. There are several types of mud, but for drywall installations and repairs, a lightweight mud with a fast-setting time is recommended.

Some muds come dry, while others are pre-mixed and ready to use. In any case, it’s important to get enough mud for the project and to have the right mix for what you’re doing; an “all purpose” mud is usually sufficient for a base or first coat to seat or cover the tape, while lightweight or brown muds with a quicker drying time are designed for the final top coat.

If you’re working on a drywall installation with taper joints, it’s a good idea to purchase the appropriate drywall taping tools (see the tool list below). A 6-inch or 10-inch drywall knife is used for applying the first base layer of mud, which needs to be thick enough to completely hide the tape. A utility knife can be helpful for cutting through thick pieces of drywall or gauging length around corners.

It’s important to follow the instructions on your particular brand of drywall tape when installing it, as some require a certain amount of moisture in order to stick properly. If you’re using self-adhesive drywall tape, it’s critical to be sure the drywall is dust-free and totally dry before the first bedding coat of mud is applied; otherwise the tape will simply pull off the wall or ceiling.

For inside corners, crease your tape so that the manufactured seam is facing out and away from the corner. Then, carefully push it into place. It’s a good idea to rest the edge of your knife against the corner bead on one side and the wall on the other; this helps ensure that you press it all the way in.


In drywall, mud refers to the joint compound used to fill seams and imperfections. It is important to use a quality joint compound that is designed for drywall. For best results, apply multiple thin coats and allow each to dry completely before applying the next. This ensures that the joint will not be noticeable when it is painted.

Mudding is a process that can be messy, but it is essential for a smooth finish. A good technique is to begin with a bucket of pre-mixed, all-purpose drywall joint compound and stir it to a uniform consistency. Then, fill a mud pan with enough compound to apply a full coat over the joints where you will be working.

If you are not sure how much mud you will need, start with just a little bit more than is necessary and add more later if needed. If you add too much, it will be difficult to spread evenly and will result in a bumpy surface. Also, it is important to let the mud dry completely between each application.

While the mud is drying, it is also a good time to sand the walls. This is done using a hand or pole sander and will remove any fuzz or paper residue from the drywall that was not removed during the hanging process.

Once the mud is dry, it is time to apply the joint tape. For best results, the tape should be applied while the mud is still wet. This will help the tape bond well with the mud and create a strong seam. Depending on the job, you may want to consider using a fiber or perforated tape instead of the standard gypsum.

Another great tip for proper drywall installation is to avoid driving screws into studs that are too deep. It can be tempting to drive a screw as far as you can into a stud, but this will cause problems down the road. For example, if a screw is driven too deep, it will be difficult to hide with mud and will remain visible after the mud has dried.


Whether you call it wallboard, plasterboard or Sheetrock, the paper-wrapped gypsum panels revolutionized construction by speeding up and simplifying the process of covering walls and ceilings. While hanging the sheets is a relatively simple task, mudding and taping the seams and corners takes much more time and skill. The finished wall surface will be the one most noticed by homebuyers, and botching this step can be a huge mistake.

To ensure that your drywall is installed properly:

  1. Measure the space for the length and width of each panel as you hang it.
  2. Mark the location of obstructions like electrical boxes and plumbing fixtures, if necessary. This information will help you plan your layout.
  3. If you’re planning to do the work yourself, rent a drywall lift and/or get a buddy to assist you.

Working alone can be difficult and dangerous, especially when handling heavy drywall sheets.

When you’re ready to hang a new drywall sheet, first secure it to the wall with drywall screws. You can use a drill or screwdriver to do this, but be careful not to over-drive the fasteners into the framing members. Overdriven screws will cause the drywall to dent and can decrease the holding power of the joint.

Next, cut any window or door notches from the drywall panel using a utility knife or drywall saw. You can also cut the drywall around a light fixture or other built-in feature with a keyhole saw. Make sure that each drywall corner is covered with a metal corner bead, which should be fitted tightly into the outside edge of the frame and nailed to it with 1 1/2-inch drywall nails. The legs of the bead should extend slightly past the edges of the panel for a smoother finish.

Before you begin taping, make sure that your tools and equipment are in good condition. Wear safety goggles to prevent dust from getting into your eyes. A dust mask is also recommended to protect your lungs from small irritants. Use a tape and drywall knife with a rounded blade for better control. Square-bladed taping knives are also available, but a rounded blade is more efficient.