Installing plasterboard is not as complicated as some might think. It can take some practise at first, but even beginning DIYers can hang plasterboard on their own. The main key for homeowners to remember is to gather all the necessary materials and tools, and then work slowly. Measuring carefully also helps to ensure that there are no gaps between the sheets of plasterboard. After the first room, homeowners will find each successive room is even easier.
In the past, walls were finished with several layers of plaster over wooden lath. The plaster, once dry and hard, could stand up to years of use. As building techniques changed, builders wanted easier ways to put a smooth finish on walls. Plasterboard is a layer of gypsum plaster covered with paper on each side. Once hung, plasterboard walls function very much like traditional plaster, but there is no drying time.
Materials needed to install plasterboard
Installing plasterboard sheets involves using some standard tools, but also using tools that may not be common in DIY applications. It is a good idea to gather all of the necessary items before starting, since it allows the homeowner to take stock of any missing items. Some of the tools to collect include:
- Plasterboard sheets
- Stud finder
- Tape measure
- Plasterboard adhesive
- Plasterboard nails or screws
- Screwdriver or cordless drill
- Fibreglass tape
- Jointing compound
- Utility knife
Because of plasterboard's unique features, cutting it with a saw is often messy and unnecessary. The easiest way to trim plasterboard sheets is to measure out where the cut needs to be with a tape measure and then draw a straight line with a pencil. Then score along the line with a utility knife and snap the plasterboard. Another score line on the other side releases the cut.
If the studs are not visible on the wall surface where the plasterboard is to be hung, use a stud finder to mark their position. This is easy to do along the ceiling or the floor, if it is still unfinished. Simply make a small pencil mark along the ceiling or the floor where each stud sits. The plasterboard needs attaching directly to the studs for best results, and the small marks help to locate each stud more quickly. Trim a small shim of plasterboard to use to raise the plasterboard off the floor during installation.
Hanging the plasterboard
Use plasterboard adhesive directly on the studs if they are visible, and hang a sheet of plasterboard starting in a corner, butting the sheet up to the ceiling. Attach plasterboard screws or nails every 15 cm to 20 cm along the length of the stud. Continue installing the top row along the wall.
Measure the length of the plasterboard needed for the bottom of the wall, and trim each sheet to fit. Attach the bottom sheets in the same manner. If there needs to be openings for outlets or switches, measure for those locations, and then cut the openings using a utility knife.
Sealing the plasterboard
Once the sheets are hung, use a trowel to help fill the joints between the plasterboard sheets with jointing compound. Using the trowel, make sure that the jointing compound gets deeply in between the sheets of plasterboard. Run a layer of fibreglass tape over each joint, and follow with another layer of jointing compound. The fibreglasss tape cuts easily with a utility knife to fit each sheet as needed. Allow the jointing compound to dry overnight, and then sand the seams with sandpaper to provide an even finish.
After sanding, homeowners can add baseboards and moulding. Then they can paint the plasterboard any colour they like. They can also hang wallpaper if that suits their decorating needs. Other touches that can be added at this point include wainscoting and chair rails. Each of these finishing features attach directly to the plasterboard, usually with finishing nails.
How to buy items to install plasterboard on eBay
Installing your own plasterboard helps to save money and gives you a sense of accomplishment as well. Before you get started, take stock of the materials and tools that you already have. Initiate a search for any item you are missing, such as a utility knife, by typing the name of the item into the search box on any eBay page. If you have questions about any of the listings, one of the knowledgeable sellers on eBay can answer them for you.