Installing and Finishing the Drywall
Once insulation was completed during the interior rough-in stage, we could move on to drywalling. Interior walls and ceilings used to be finished with lathe and plaster, a very labor-intensive and material-intensive approach. But drywall—a gypsum-based board product that allows for the creation of smooth walls and ceilings—provided a much more cost-effective solution to finishing walls and ceilings.
The drywall contractor measured the whole house to determine how much drywall was needed. Drywall sheets come in different thicknesses, with ½” sheets used most commonly for nearly all wall and ceiling applications. The ¼” thickness is typically used for tight-radius bending, while the 5/8” sheets are used where code dictates a fire-rated separation, like between a garage and the home living space. Drywall sheets also come in different sizes, typically either 4’ or 4.5’ wide and 8’ to 16’ long in increments of 2’. Given all the different sheet sizes, the contractor configured the sheet placement to minimize “butt joints,” or drywall sheets placed end to end.
The ceiling drywall is hung first and known as “hanging the lids.” The perimeters of these sheets are nailed, while the rest of the sheet is screwed into place. Next, the walls are hung. Construction adhesive is used on each stud to minimize surface imperfections and make for a smoother wall. The straightness of wall studs, which is directly related to the quality practices used during the framing stage, dictates the straightness of the finished wall.
Once the ceilings and walls are up, imperfections at every joint and all drywall penetrations (like outlets, light switches and can lights) are cut out, and all the voids are pre-filled with drywall compound known as drywall “mud.” All joints are then taped using special drywall tape and mud and left to dry. All the joints and nail and screw indentations are then covered and smoothed with an initial coat of mud, and once dry, these are covered and smoothed again with a finish coat. All mudded areas are then sanded.
The Outdoor Living Show Home had a couple of special circumstances in areas that required drywall that is radiused, like the barrel-vaulted ceiling and the curved staircase wall. For tighter radiuses, two separate layers of ¼” drywall were used, and for the less-tight radiuses, the drywall contractor wet the ½” drywall so it bended properly.
We’re happy to report that complications didn’t arise during the drywalling of the Outdoor Living Show Home, but we do want to explain common problems people may see in their finished home if poor techniques are used during construction.
After a period of time, people may experience what is commonly known as “nail pops” in their drywall. To avoid this issue in Forner – LaVoy homes, we take a few simple precautions: (1) primarily using screws instead of nails to fasten the drywall, (2) applying construction adhesive to each stud before attaching the drywall, which helps prevent the drywall from pulling away from the studs and “popping” nails, and (3) once we drywall the home, we keep the climate in the home consistent with how it will be when lived in, thus reducing the chance of mud shrinkage due to dryer-than-typical conditions.
People also may eventually notice hairline cracks in the drywall that radiate diagonally from the upper corners of doors. Though a number of issues can cause this, a common one is due to poor framing techniques when framing for the door opening. The result is movement or shifting of the framing members at the door opening. Our quality framing practices ensure the proper sizing of door headers and proper nailing patterns when framing the door opening.
We began drywalling on Nov. 11 and completed it on Dec. 16. Now that the drywall is complete, the millwork and trim can be installed.
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