How To Install Drywall in a Basement Apartment

Some drywall can retard fires while others can provide sound-proofing. When you are living in a basement apartment, these are major concerns. When you plan to remodel your basement apartment and thinking of installing drywall, take a look at the tips below.

  • Measure the area where you will install the drywall. If you are placing drywall on the walls and ceiling of the basement apartment, measure the total footage of the whole area. Drywall panels are four feet wide with varying lengths. Get the rest of the materials you will need such as drywall compound, drywall screws, metal cornerbeads and drywall tape.
  • Consider the thickness of the drywall. Drywall panels come in varying thicknesses, ranging from one-fourth-, three-eighths-, five-eights- and one-half-inch thickness. If you are installing fire-retardant drywall, get those in five-eighths- or one-half-inch thickness. The half-inch panels will be for the walls and the five-eighths will be for the ceiling. Do check the requirements from your local building code to ensure that you are installing the right type.
  • Make T-braces if you are installing drywall to the ceiling. These braces will keep the drywall in place while you screw them to the frame or nailers. Construct them from 2x4s that should be one inch longer than that distance from the ceiling to the floor. The T-part should be about three feet long, attached to one end of the brace.
  • Cut the drywall panels in the exact size to minimize the number of joints. Take a look at how the panels can better fit the walls and ceilings. You can install the drywall either crosswise or lengthwise. Choose the one that will cover more area with fewer joints. Score one face of the board with a utility knife running along a metal ruler. Working on the floor will help you to easily draw cutting/scoring marks. Lay out a long piece of 2x4 on the floor and place the scored drywall panel over it. Carefully put pressure on the outside of the scoring mark to snap the drywall until the gypsum core breaks. Turn the panel over to cut through the paper covering the other side. Use rough-grained sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges of the drywall.
  • Install the drywall on the ceiling and walls. Use the T-braces to hold the panels in position as you nail them to the joists. Place the nails or screws about six inches apart. When the nail or screw is flush against the drywall, give it another tap to dimple the surface of the drywall without breaking its paper surface to drive the nail/screw deeper. Position the panel for the wall. Mark a spot four inches down from the ceiling. This will be the spot where you will place your first nail/screw on the wall. Elsewhere you should drive nails/screws six inches apart. Metal cornerbeads are to be placed over the outside corners.
  • Place tape over the joints. This is actually drywall compound placed over the joints, then covered with a length of drywall tape. The compound and tape should be placed as even as possible over the surface. Allow the compound to dry before applying another layer. Allow this to dry and run sandpaper across it to remove excess compound and make the surface smooth in preparation for painting. Drywall compound should also cover the dimples where the nails/screws are.

Check the walls of the basement apartment first and make sure it is waterproof before you install drywall to ensure that there will be no moisture buildup that can ruin the drywall later.


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