Three walls up

The soffit gets the first piece of drywall.

The soffit gets the first piece of drywall.

I didn’t make nearly as much progress on the drywall as I hoped this weekend. I started with the bathroom at the suggestion of one of my DIY mentors. Better to do the small room first, as I discovered, and as he suggested, so you can bring in the larger sheets of drywall through the open studs. But the bathroom has some of the most difficult walls I’ll face. There was an angled soffit to work around, for one thing, along with all the pipes for the sink and the toilet. Then, just to make things really interesting, I remembered that the right wall ended up being about a half inch off square vertically, thanks to a mismounted top plate.


The first wall.

So, the bottom line, after two days of work, I’ve finished three walls. One more wall, and the bathroom will be done (except for actually getting the drywall in place, this should be the easiest wall with only one outlet box to cut out).

What happens when you cut the hole too tight.

What happens when you cut the hole too tight.

I’ve learned a lot so far, though. I learned that the book I ordered was right: It’s better to not try for a glove-tight fit with the drywall pieces. Up to a quarter-inch gap can be covered with mud and tape, and it’s better not to try to force tight pieces into place. I learned that I was right to worry about cutting openings for boxes. The first one I cut too tight and it cracked when I put in a drywall screw near it — just as the book warned. The second one I cut had too big of a gap. Both will need some mudding and possibly taping. For the box for the light fixture, I marked it, tacked up the drywall, but didn’t put in any screws close to the box, then cut around it in place. It still wasn’t perfect, but I think that’s the way to go.

I learned it’s a really, really good idea to mark studs before you start screwing up the drywall. It’s also a good idea to remember that you marked the studs after you mark them in a less than conspicuous place. I’ve learned that missing a stud when screwing in a drywall screw is a pain and leaves a hole that will have to be patched later.

I learned it’s better to quit when I’m getting tired than try to make the right cuts on a complicated wall. I ended up doing the cut out for the soffit on the wrong side. I was able to use the bulk of that sheet to span the doorway, so I didn’t waste too much, other than time.


Wall number three. A cut out for the soffit, four pipes, a drain access and a box for the light fixture.

On the plus side, I learned that cutting drywall is actually pretty easy, especially with a drywall square to guide you. You simply lightly score the drywall on one side, cutting through just the paper, not the gypsum underneath. Then you bend the drywall back away from that line. It should pop pretty evenly along the cut, hinged by the backing paper. Bend the drywall at an angle to give yourself a good guide and slice the backing paper away. The only time this doesn’t work well is if you’re trying to make a very small cut — an inch or less. Then you either want to cut both sides of the paper or, if it’s a quarter-inch or so, just rasp it down. That creates a lot of dust, but it makes for a cleaner edge than trying to break off that small amount of gypsum.

I would have liked to have gotten more done, but, even so, I’m pretty satisfied. Next weekend, a friend is coming into town to help, so there should be much more progress. Even without the help, it should go faster. I’m learning more, and the walls will be longer and easier.

One Response to Three walls up

  1. Pingback: Eric Brady

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