If you’re a contractor, drywall is simply a fact of life, like taxes and your dog needing to go out when you’re on a Zoom call.
In 2019, approximately 24 billion square feet of wallboard products were sold throughout the U.S., and around 42 million metric tons of gypsum—the primary material found in drywall—was used. That’s today’s fun fact.
Drywall isn’t just used for walls and ceilings; it’s used to create design features like eaves, arches, and other design elements and is known for its durability and easy installation. In commercial construction, it’s also used to surround steam beams and top masonry walls above ceilings.
Drywall is a fast, cost-effective, efficient alternative to the plaster walls that were popular at the turn of the previous century until the creation of drywall in 1916. The gypsum-based product really started to make its mark on the construction industry after 1940 when contractors saw how simple it was to install drywall compared to the labor-intensive process of putting up plaster walls.
In the 80+ years that contractors have been using drywall in residential and commercial spaces, we’ve learned a lot about techniques to make the process of hanging drywall even easier. So we thought we’d share some of that knowledge with you.
Drywall is heavy. The average 4-foot-by-8-foot sheet of drywall weighs in at approximately 57 pounds and sometimes as much as 74 pounds. Even ultralight drywall weighs 44 pounds per sheet (and doesn’t offer the same kind of fire resistance that the heavier drywall boasts).
What’s more, these sheets of drywall are frequently bundled and sold in pairs, amounting to 88 to 148 pounds per pair of drywall sheets. That’s a lot of weight to carry around day in and day out (even if people tell you that you carry the weight well).
Even if you can use ultralight drywall in your project, it’s still heavy and unwieldy to get it from the home center to your truck, then from the truck to your project site.
It’s worth considering renting a drywall or sheetrock dolly to make it easier to trek your drywall to its final destination. All of those trips to and from the truck can be immensely taxing, and you’ll be able to work longer days and get more accomplished by rolling your drywall where it needs to go.
Hanging Drywall on the Ceiling
Is it possible to hang drywall by yourself, even with large, heavy sheets of drywall? What about on the ceiling? It might be doable, but it’s certainly not easy.
You likely already know insider tricks of the trade, like setting your screws into place on the drywall before it’s in the air, so you don’t have to fumble around for screws while you’re balancing a sheet of drywall before it’s secured to the ceiling joists. Nobody likes to fumble around for screws.
But hanging drywall can (and should!) be simpler than all that. With equipment specifically designed to aid in the installation of ceiling drywall like a drywall lift, you no longer have to balance drywall sheets, hold them up with your head while you reach for your drill, or hope you don’t lose your balance with a drywall sheet precariously balanced nine or more feet in the air.
The best part is that the drywall lift works on vertical walls, too, and can be used to install upper wall sheets. After loading your drywall, the lift is pushed next to the wall. Then, the drywall lift positions the drywall panel into place, tipping the top edge against the wall, then cranking the drywall sheet snugly where it needs to go—bada bing bada boom.
Dealing with High Ceilings and Tall Walls
Two-story living rooms and family rooms are all the rage right now, which is a dream for homeowners looking to create a wide-open, spacious feeling inside their home, but it can be a bit of a logistical nightmare for contractors looking to hang sheets of drywall 20 feet in the air.
You won’t always need scaffolding or a lift, but when you’re dealing with vaulted ceilings and high walls, you need more of a boost than a ladder can offer. Why not rent this equipment when you need it, rather than let it take up space in storage?
It’s wise to consider renting indoor scaffolding for these drywall projects that reach new heights or employing the use of a small personnel lift (depending on the space). Using a combination of drywall lifts and scaffolding or personnel lifts, hanging drywall in these soaring spaces can be a much simpler process.
Drywall and Moisture
Drywall and moisture aren’t ideal companions. In a moisture-compromised structure, drywall is susceptible to damage, dissolution, and even mold growth, creating an uninviting commercial or residential space.
Ideally, drywall should never exceed a moisture content level of 1% moisture. If the moisture content tops this level, the drywall can be considered moisture-compromised and may even need to be replaced.
Not only can a dehumidifier help pull moisture out of drywall after exposure to water or humidity, but it can also be used to reduce drywall drying times as you wait for drywall mud to dry, so you can complete your projects quickly.
Without a dehumidifier, installing drywall and drywall mud becomes a hurry-up-and-wait situation. You rush to install the drywall and cover it with drywall mud (also known as joint compound), then you have to wait at least 24 hours for the compound to completely dry before sanding, priming, and painting.
To expedite this process, you can rent a dehumidifier to move water away from the wall. In addition to using a dehumidifier, you can also:
- Apply thinner coats of joint compound
- Raise the temperature in the space
- Increase airflow and circulation near the drywall mud
- Use a special kind of joint compound known as hot mud
At Northside Tool Rental, we have the tools and equipment you need to support your business so that you can fill the walls of your clients’ homes and businesses with drywall without filling your storage space with tools you don’t need to use every day—at a fraction of the cost of purchasing the equipment yourself. We’ve got you covered so you can get your walls covered on time and on budget. Want to learn more about what we can do for you? Contact us today!