How to fit plasterboard: The essential guide

Plasterboard has been shown time and time again to be a valuable tool to improve the aesthetic value (by covering wiring and ducts) and increase the property value of their home substantially. How do you fit the material in your home in a way that helps your home the best? Source

1. Prepare Accordingly

As I have looked more into installing plasterboard, I have found that there are two separate ways that plasterboard can be installed, depending on where in your home you are installing the material. I have included instructions and tools for both.

Each project will require a different set of materials. You will need to have all your materials on hand and people to help before you get going on your project.

For vertical installations (f.e. walls), you will need:

  • Thick plasterboard (the thicker it is, the better insulated and soundproof your home is)
  • Stanley Knife (use one specifically made for plasterboard or drywall)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Crowbar (if dealing with doorways)
  • Wood studs, drywall tape, putty knife, joint compound, and sanding materials (if dealing with doorways)
  • Drill and nails
  • Pencil or marker
  • Drywall tape

For horizontal installations (f.e. ceilings), you will need:

  • Plasterboard
  • Stanley Knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Drywall Tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Drywall tape and/or additional plaster

Some things you will need to know before beginning your project and things to avoid while fitting your plasterboard:

  • The typical price for plasterboard is $12 to $90 for a 4-foot-by-8-foot panel. Source
  • Experts recommend using drywall lifts for fitting plasterboard on ceilings. The lifts cost roughly $150-300 to buy, and $30 to rent it for a few hours.
  • Eliminate as many drywall butt joints as you can before proceeding. Source
  • There are mini drywall saws that are a great alternative for cutting around electrical ports or other spots throughout your home (Source). You can find them for around ten bucks at most hardware stores.
  • Be sure to completely clean the plasterboard and the wall you are fitting the plasterboard on before installing them together. Source
  • Give a 10-millimeter gap in between the floor and the first wall sheet so your home can have proper insulation Source
  • This is not listed in the instructions, as it is not necessary, but many have found that plasterboard can easily attach the wall if you use plasterboard adhesive daubs across the width of the sheet. Source
  • Do not nail the center of plasterboard wall sheets at all costs. If the plasterboard sheets need pinning back, use a block of wood to keep it steady while you nail in the plasterboard to keep it stable. This will prevent the possibility of popped nail heads. Source

2. Measure The Wall Or Ceiling

With a measuring tape, find the width and the height of the wall in which you are going to plasterboard. Make sure to use a friend to hold the other end of the measuring tape to get an appropriate measurement.

Take into account any windows, doors, or any other fixtures that you will not need to be covered by plasterboard. Find the areas of these obstructions (by also using length times the width) then subtract them by the original area that you find.

This is the amount of plasterboard you will need to get. Be sure to get a few inches of excess plasterboard in case some mistakes were made. Source

3. Position Your Plasterboard Appropriately

Make sure that your plasterboard is aligned with the middle of the uprights or noggins (the structural poles along with your wall or ceiling that support the foundation of your home). Position the plasterboard in a spot where it can secure itself till you drill it in the structural foundations of the wall

This is not applicable with door openings and/or adjoining walls when the plasterboard is placed vertically. In these types of situations, you will need to:

  1. Remove the door, any hardware supporting the door, and any molding surrounding the doorway. Using a crowbar can help out with this. You should end up with a clear doorway that looks like it was never installed.
  2. Measure how thick your plasterboard is (using a measuring tape). The thicker the plasterboard is the better.
  3. You will need to get studs to support the plasterboard to the doorway. Measure the distance from one side of the wall to the other to determine what material you will need. Take into account the thickness of the plasterboard you plan on using. Pick the plasterboard and stud configuration that will result in a flush wall on each side and that will allow you to attach the doorway and plasterboard seamlessly.
  4. Attach as many studs as you feel like you will need in the breadth of the plasterboard. Start with the center of the plasterboard, then attach each stud at least sixteen inches away from each other for more support. Make judgment calls based on how thick or thin the doorway is. For example, if you are dealing with a very narrow doorway and/or plasterboard, you will only need to place at least one stud in the breath of the plasterboard. It is your call.
  5. For structural support, cover the space between the plasterboard and the wall with drywall tape or joint compound. Many just use a putty knife to evenly spread the material to the surface that is needed.
  6. Allow whatever material you need to dry, sand in between the surface, then apply the material again with the same material you used.
  7. Install new base molding that runs along the length of the wall
  8. Reapply your door and original building materials, and you should be set! Source

The best way to install plasterboard on walls in a home is by starting right next to the door opening and moving in the direction to the furthest wall. Overall, start where the surface cuts off (door, window, etc) then go alongside the corners of the wall. Follow the advice listed below for ceilings or horizontal surfaces.

3a. When Working With Plasterboard On Ceilings, Be Sure To:

  • Completely remove any form of plasterboard before you start with the project
  • Apply construction adhesive to the ends of the ceiling beams so the plasterboard can fit more naturally on the ceiling.
  • Focus on the part of your ceiling that is the most level, then go from there. Use a leveler or any other equipment that accomplishes the same purpose to find which area is the most level.
  • It is also ideal to start in a spot where you can easily fit a full sheet of plasterboard, if applicable. Source

4. Cut Unneeded Ends Of Plasterboard

Use your Stanley Knife and a straight edge to cut alongside any edges that are not needed or where the wall will end. Be sure to use a Stanley Knife that is specifically made for plasterboard or drywall only. Many professionals can cut your plasterboard if needed if that works better for you.

5. Drive Your Screws In

  1. Start by drilling in your plasterboard in the corners of your plasterboard when your uprights or noggins can be seen easily. Be sure that the plasterboard is securely in place so you can do the next step well.
  2. Mark lines vertically three inches away from each other on the plasterboard, then drill in nails along those lines. Be sure to mark along the line of the upright or noggin that it was positioned along. Be careful in drilling in the plasterboard so you don’t ruin the plasterboard or the structural integrity of your home.
  3. If you are dealing with a ceiling, many recommend using a drywall lift to accomplish this step well. This can keep the drywall level, then you can easily use a ladder or other tool to drill in the screws as needed.

As you are drilling in your holes with a ceiling, be sure to leave room for light fixtures and fans, without cutting or drilling into the middle of the wall.

6. Use Your Drywall Tape

Drywall tape is meant to cover the seams and nails in plasterboard on the walls and ceilings. Here is how you use drywall tape:

  1. Choose the drywall tape that matches the thickness of the seems in your home and that fits your needs the best.
  2. Apply joint compound along the edges and seams of the wall or ceiling.
  3. Apply the tape, and smooth the edges of the tape so it goes along the joint compound.
  4. Rinse and repeat steps 3-4 till you feel like the plasterboard and the wall are secured with each other.
  5. Sand around the area as necessary. Source

7. Finish the Installation (Applicable Only On Ceilings)

Slowly lower the drywall lifter to be sure that the plasterboard is on securely. Finish the installation by taping the seams using drywall tape.

8. Prime and Paint Your Home

Some have found that it is effective for the plasterboard ceiling to apply an additional layer of liquid plaster for an even smoother surface. This is not necessary as the plasterboard can suit well for the project, but is a good option to make your home look even better. If you would like to go this route, be sure that your plaster has dried completely before priming and/or painting your wall.

Steps for Fitting Walls Source

Steps For Fitting A Ceiling Source

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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