Everything You Need to Know About Drywall

Drywall, commonly called sheetrock or wallboard, is essential to any construction project. It’s an inexpensive and versatile material with multiple benefits that have helped it gain popularity in many applications.

It can cover a wall or ceiling framing and is commonly hung to form a finished wall. It’s also used for other purposes, such as hiding unsightly wires or utility lines.

Drywall Fasteners

Gypsum mineral compacted into drywall produces stunning, smooth walls. Yet when you use a screw or nail to hang something, the drywall may crack beneath the weight. As a result, your suspended object can get loose from the fastening and fall off the wall. If you plan to use drywall, you should hire an expert drywall contractor to ensure proper installation. The solution to this problem is anchors, which spread the weight of the fastener across a wider area, keeping it from crumbling. Drywall anchors come in many designs and types, each suited to different applications and weights. They’re rated for the maximum load they can safely support. This is known as the holding power of the anchor.

The most common drywall anchors are plastic or metal cylinders with ridged inside and open perforations when you put a screw in. These are called expansion anchors and are ideal for mounting curtain rods, towel bars and heavy pictures in drywall.

Finish Nails

Finish nails are a staple in most home improvement projects. They are used on trim, door and window casings, chair rails and general light carpentry, among other things.

They are available in various diameters and lengths to match the material they’re holding. Nails also come in different head styles, including countersunk and flathead.

Unlike brads, finishing nails have a larger diameter, which makes them stronger and more likely to hold thin or delicate wood trim. However, they’re more likely to split if they’re used in thin materials.

Sink them into the surface before using finished nails and driving them in. This prevents the pin from splitting the wood and leaving a large hole that may need filling with wood putty later.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is a handy tool that allows you to make accurate measurements quickly and efficiently. Tape measures come in all shapes and sizes but have the same essential components.

One of the first things you need to know about a tape measure is how to read it correctly. A tape measure has two sides – one in inches and the other in millimeters.

Each inch on a tape measure is broken up into several lines, each dividing the inch into equal parts (called “slices” of the inch). This makes it easier to see and use and more accurate.

A drywall measuring tape generally contains a T-square bracket for aligning the drywall measuring tape along an edge of a drywall sheet. It also has a pair of laser light sources projecting laser light beams perpendicularly to the extended tape measure to facilitate taking measurements relative to a remote surface.

Stud Location

If you’re hanging art, mirrors or wall-mounted shelves, you need to know where to put the screws and nails that hold those items up. The drywall is not strong enough to support heavy objects, so you need studs in the walls for that.

You can use an electronic stud finder or several other methods to locate studs. These include tapping the drywall, listening for the distinctive high sound that indicates a stud is behind it, and checking for outlets or light switches mounted to a stud.

You can also look for raised or recessed imperfections in the drywall that indicate the location of metal fasteners. These will often be visible with a flashlight or work light.