Drywall Helper Tips

by Dennis Porter

Hanging drywall on a ceiling can be a real hassle. To offset this problem, I made a stepped support that can be screwed to the joists and/or wall, as needed. It holds up one side of the drywall while I secure it.

Make the support with two 4-ft. lengths of a 1x6, fastening the pieces together with 1x4-in. screws, driven in from both sides. Bore 3-in, drywall screw pilot holes 16 inches on-center to match your joist/stud spacing. To get the first sheet ready for hanging, screw the support to a side wall about 3/4-in, below the ceiling joist.

Then put the sheet of drywall over your head. and put one edge on top of the support. As you step up onto your scaffolding, push the drywall tightly against the wall, and slide it as necessary to get a tight fit on the end, securing the panel with screws. Continue along one wall, moving the support as necessary. Then move the support over to a snapped chalk line, about 50- in. from the side of drywall just installed, and screw it to the joists. Repeat the procedure used for the first row, sliding the drywall into the support while you fasten it with screws.

To mark the location of a plastic electrical outlet box in a wall so it properly fits drywall or paneling, cut off the flat head of two device screws (the ones that are used to hold a switch or receptacle in an outlet box). File down any sharp edges. Thread these screws into the outlet box, leaving approximately 1/4-in. of the cut end sticking out. Similarly, cut another pair of screws and install them into a spare outlet box. Secure the box in the desired location. Hold the panel in position against the box, and press firmly with your hand so the screws make indents on the back side. Remove the panel. Place the spare box on the panel so the screws fit into the indents. Trace the perimeter of the box onto the panel. Make the cutout with a drywall saw or utility knife, and you're ready to install the panel.

Insert filed device screws into the outlet box, and position it in the desired location. (Above, Right) Position the drywall against the outlet box and press firmly, making sure the attached device screws make the needed indents. (Right) Align the box so the device screws fit the indentations. Trace around the box position. and make the cutout.

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