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Back to the Basics: Drywall Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

At USG, we’re always searching for new and exciting ways to push the construction manufacturing industry forward. In fact, it all started when we invented the drywall business over 115 years ago with the introduction of Sheetrock®.

With such a storied history, it’s only natural that we have some opinions about drywall best practices. Over the years, we’ve developed various tips and tricks for installing and finishing our drywall to achieve its highest level of performance. Whether you’ve ever had trouble matching designer expectations with light-focused designs and actual product appearance, or simply need to brush up on the steps for a basic installation, here’s a list of the must-know drywall best practices and tips:

General Tips

  • Jobsite Mock-up: A completed mock-up is a visual project model that allows the architect, contractors, and owners to agree upon appearance prior to beginning construction. Mock-ups should be similar in both environment and lighting as the overall project to give a better idea of what the finished drywall panels will look like
  • Realistic Schedule: Allow adequate time in the construction schedule for drywall installation to ensure that finishing work can be completed correctly to achieve the desired level of finish
  • Environmental Conditions: Keep temperature, humidity, and airflow stable to match and control occupancy standards as closely as possible. Any uncontrolled environment can have highly adverse effects on the system

Installation Tips

  • Install all framing members straight and in line with the gypsum panels to ensure an even plane on the panel surface
  • Butt panel joint edges and ends loosely
    • Panels that are butted too tightly are more likely to develop a visible joint ridge or bead after painting
  • Minimize the number of joints needed on the jobsite by using the longest and widest practical panels.
  • Drywall screws should be driven to penetrate just below the gypsum panel surface without breaking the surface paper.

Finishing Tips

  • Concealing joints and fasteners properly relies on 2 techniques:
    • Using graduated arcs to prevent recesses or ridges
    • Applying joint compound flush or flat to the panel surface
  • Using a damp sponge to wet sand is the preferred method of sanding
    • Wet sanding produces no dust, requires minimal clean-up, and it is also less likely to scuff the panel
    • To minimize sanding, apply joint compound as smoothly as possible
  • The gypsum panel surface should be skim coated with a conventional weight joint compound to improve joint and fastener concealment
    • Skim coating fills imperfections in joint work, smooths the paper texture, and provides a uniform surface for decoration

Check out the documents to back up our experience and history devoted to helping provide the best experience for everyone involved in a project—a complete guide to USG Sheetrock® Brand Installation and Finishing can be found here.