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In depth information on do it yourself home property maintenance, covering all aspects of residential home, commercial, business, and apartment building repair, remodeling, and renovation projects Featuring tips, advice, how-to and step-by-step information to help you maintain and improve the value of your business building and home.

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How to Install and Finish Drywall

1. Drywall can be installed either vertically or horizontally so plan your installation so that the least number of seams are created. Use this criteria to choose the size of drywall for your project and plan the application before proceeding. Remember that when two boards butt up against each other at their long edges, both must have a beveled factory edge.

2. Use a scraping plane or rasp on cut edges to smooth any roughness.

3. When positioning the drywall panel, align the top of each panel with the ceiling edge or the angle break to assure a clean edge. To raise the panels you can make a foot fulcrum with two pieces of wood.) Any gaps should fall close to the floor where a baseboard will cover them. All joints between boards should be positioned to meet over the center of a stud or rafter.

4. Start a couple of drywall nails at the corners and across the top of the drywall panel before you lift it into place. Once the panel is positioned, it will be easier to attach while another person holds it in place.

 

5. The best drywall nails have cupped heads which make them easier to cover when mudding and taping. Those with barbed shanks increase holding power and reduce "nail popping". Nail along the edge of the panel about every six inches, hammering the nail into the stud. In the middle of the panel, nail about every twelve inches. Check local code  for variance. It is advisable, if the studs are new wood, to double nail in the field.

 

6. Hammer each nail until it is forced slightly below the surface of the panel - this is called dimpling. Also be careful not to ding the edge of the panel when nailing or handling. Dings require extra mudding and finishing work. If you are using drywall screws, be sure you screw them to just below the surface of the panel. But do not break the paper when you do this. If the paper is broken, drive another nail nearby to assure a good hold. It is advisable to have a special drywall hammer or a cordless electric drywall screw gun for speed and ease of handling.

 

7. Place nails in adjoining sheets directly across from each other where they meet at a stud. This makes mudding easier. ff you miss the stud, pull out the nail or screw and dimple the hole so as to be able to mud and tape over it properly.

 

8. Another alternative is to glue the drywall with drywall adhesive . The glue is used in the center of the board with nails used around the edges. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when gluing. The glue avoids seams that need to be taped and finished. 

 

9. As you apply the drywall try not to leave a gap between boards more than 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch - less if possible.

 

10.  If required, get your nailing pattern inspected (check local code *) before covering with tape and spackling.

 

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Cutting Drywall for Openings

 

1. Applying drywall around openings like doors and windows, calls for extra care and accurate cutting. Never try to fit around a large opening with just one panel. Work with two pieces about the same size, with a seam that meets in the middle over the opening. 

 

2. Seams must always meet at a stud but should never occur at the edge of a door or window. The door opens and closes at this point and the seam will eventually crack from the movement. Be particularly careful not to damage the board when cutting a notch or corner.

 

3. For right angle openings, use a drywall T-square or a chalk line to mark the board for cutting. Cut the shorter length with a wallboard saw or keyhole saw. Then use a utility knife to score the longer cut. Use several fight strokes with the knife to cut into the core. Position the cut over the edge of your work table and snap the panel. Finish by cleanly undercutting the paper on the back side with the utility knife. Always cut with the good side up.

 

4. To cut an opening around a window, place the panel in position and mark on the edge of the panel to indicate the top and bottom of the window opening. Measure and record the distance from the top mark to the edge of the window and from the bottom mark to the edge of the window. Use a drywall square to connect the points and make your cut accordingly.

 

5. For smaller openings Eke outlets, an efficient trick is to outline the opening with lipstick or colored chalk. Then fit the panel into place and give it a couple of good whacks over the outlet area. The lipstick will transfer to the back of the panel for a cutting pattern.

 

6. Cut this patch out with your keyhole saw. Take care when cutting from the back side of the panel not to tear the paper beyond the patch hole area. Use the utility knife to finish cutting through the paper on the front side of the panel.

 

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Drywall Installation, No Mistakes Allowed
By: Paul Bianchina 

There is probably no material more noticeable and more commonplace in today’s home than drywall. Comprised of a core of compressed gypsum covered on both sides with a layer of tough paper, drywall – also commonly known by the popular trade name Sheetrock – is the overwhelming choice of builders and remodelers for covering interior walls and ceilings.

There is a surprisingly wide variety of sizes, thicknesses, edge treatments, core additives, and paper coatings available in drywall, depending on the installation method and the intended application. Thicknesses range from 1/4" and 3/8", which are used over solid backing in remodeling situations to cover problem areas such as bad plaster, to the much more common 1/2" and 5/8" thicknesses, which can be used to span studs and joists up to 24 inches apart. Sheet sizes of 4 x 8 feet – which have the advantage of being easier to handle -- and 4 x 12 feet – which require less seams -- are both commonly available.

Cutting the Sheets

Typically, installation begins with ceiling. A small gap is left between the edges of the drywall and the spot where the ceiling framing meets the wall framing, and by installing the ceilings first, you can then cover that gap with the sheets you install on the walls. The sheets are installed so that the long dimension of the sheet runs perpendicular to the direction of the ceiling joists.

Start in one corner with a full sheet. Measure from the corner to the center of the joist that is closest to but less than eight feet from the corner (or 12 feet if you’re using 12-foot sheets). Cut the sheet to length, and you’re ready to go.

To cut drywall, use a straightedge and a utility knife. Working from the face of the sheet, place the straightedge along the line where you want to make the cut – four-foot long aluminum or plastic T-squares are available inexpensively wherever you buy your drywall, and greatly simplify the cutting process – and use the straightedge as a guide for your knife. You don’t need to cut all the way through the drywall – just cut deep enough to get through the layer of paper and slightly into the gypsum.

With a quick downward motion, snap the drywall along the cut line. This will break the gypsum core, and leave on the backing paper still intact, like a hinge. Use your knife to cut the backing paper, and separate the cut piece from the rest of the sheet. To clean up the rough edge, sand it lightly with a Stanley Surform plane – available inexpensively at any home center or hardware store – or scrape it with the edge of your knife or a block of wood.

To cut out around electrical boxes and other obstructions, a drywall saw is used. This is a short, coarse-toothed blade with a point on one end and a wood or plastic handle on the other – again available wherever you buy your drywall supplies. After laying out the location of the cut, place the point of the saw against the face of the drywall and tap it until it punctures the sheet, then saw out the waste material.

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Installation

Drywall is actually a very easy material to install, other than its weight. Half-inch drywall weighs in at almost 2.5 pounds per square foot, or close to 80 pounds per sheet, so hanging it should always be a two-person job. The sheets are big, awkward and flexible – especially in the 12-foot lengths – making them very unwieldy for one person to handle alone.

After cutting the sheet to size, set up two ladders or benches. Working together, lift the sheet – backside up – and push it firmly into contact against the underside of the joists. Check the alignment carefully, especially on the first sheet, and make sure the end is centered on the joist. If you miss your layout here, you’ll have problems with each of the following sheets.

Fasten the sheet in place using drywall nails – which have a rust-resistant coating and a cupped head to hold the drywall mud later on – or drywall screws. The nails are installed with any type of hammer that has a convex head, and are driven in just deep enough to dent the face paper of the drywall sheet – called a dimple – but not deep enough to go through it. Screws can be installed with an electric or cordless screw gun, and here again you want the screw head to end up just below the surface of the paper but not puncture through it.

Drywall supplies and tools are available through just about any home center, lumberyard, hardware store, discount center, and other retailers where building supplies are sold. You can arrange for deliver of the drywall as well, but expect to pay a small fee per sheet. Rental yards have many of the drywall installation and finishing tools you’ll need, and you can also rent a drywall jack to lift and position the sheets and hold them in place while you fasten them – a real plus when hanging a ceiling.

Copyright 2002 Inman News Features. Distributed by Inman News Features

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Drywall Texture is a Matter of Taste and Technique
By: Paul Bianchina

A good drywall job can create a smooth and uniform series of walls and ceilings throughout any home. But it’s the application of texture in all of its varied forms and designs that goes a long way toward creating the home’s individual look and feel.

Drywall texture can take a wide variety of forms and what appeals to different people is often a matter of the materials used, the techniques employed and individual taste. From a light, machine-applied “orangepeel” to the heavy swirls of a hand-applied Mediterranean look, there’s something for everyone.

Getting Ready

Texture is the last thing applied to the drywall after the completion of the installation and topping processes.  The drywall is completely hung and taped, then all of the seams are covered and smoothed over with successive coats of drywall cement until the walls appear seamless. Once the topping is done, most drywallers prefer to prime the drywall prior to applying the texture.

The primer coat seals the porous paper surface of the drywall and helps to point up any flaws in the finish topping coats prior to putting on the texture. Priming can be done with wallboard sealer or with a primer – talk with your paint store or drywall supplier for their specific recommendations.

Following the application of the sealer, you’ll next want to mask off any areas that aren’t going to be textured – areas where you wish to preserve a totally smooth surface for paint or wallpaper – as well as any areas that will be textured differently from the surrounding surfaces.

Machine Applications

Because of its uniformity and greatly increased speed, most texturing today is done by machine. Powdered texture material is mixed with water, then air pressure is used to blow the texture through a nozzle. For large areas, a professional texturing rig will give the most uniform appearance. These are large, gas-powered, trailer-mounted machines with an on-board mixer and a hundred feet or more of air and material hoses, terminating in a trigger-operated texture gun with a variety of interchangeable tips.

Smaller areas – typically no more than a room or two—can be textured effectively by the do-it-yourselfer using a hopper gun, which is simply a large plastic hopper mounted on top of a metal spray gun. Liquid texture material is poured into the hopper, the gun is attached to an air compressor, and the texture is sprayed onto the surface. Hopper guns are more difficult to regulate and keep uniform, and since you’re carrying a hopper full of material with you as you texture they are also very tiring to use for long periods.

Hopper guns can be purchased inexpensively at most drywall stores and home centers, or they can be rented. Variations in the thickness of the texture material, the amount of air pressure and the size of the opening in the nozzle – along with the speed and motion of the person wielding the texture gun – dictate the final look of the texture. The two most common machine-applied textures are:

1. Orangepeel, also called splatter, is the lightest texture. A combination of thin material, high air pressure, a small nozzle opening, and a rapid spraying motion creates small dots of texture on the wall.

2. Knockdown, which combines thicker material, lower air pressure, a larger nozzle and a slower application to spray large globs of texture onto the surface. As the texture begins to dry, a wide metal trowel called a knockdown blade is pulled lightly over the texture globs, knocking down the high spots and creating large flat areas. By varying the ratios of these four elements, along with the pressure used during the knocking down process, knockdown texture can be varied from very light to very heavy.

 

Physical Properties of Dependable PCMs:

 

There are several important considerations necessary for combining PCM into drywall. First, the transition temperature, or melting temperature, of the PCM must be near standard or suggested room temperatures (for example, 65-72 ° F [18.3-22.2 ° C] for heating-dominated climates or 72-79 ° F [22.2-26.1 ° C] for cooling-dominated climates).Because the PCM uses the exchange of heat energy from its environment to drive the phase change, this change of state from solid to liquid, or liquid to solid, characteristically occurs within a temperature range of only a few degrees.

 

Second, the PCM product must be effective, offering good heat transfer. Otherwise, it is no better than common gypsum drywall. If manufacturers can mass produce a low-cost, competitive PCM product, PCM-drywall for instance, it will be the result of available, inexpensive PCMs and the cost-controlling manufacture of the product.
 

Salt Hydrates, Paraffins, and Fatty Acids:


The three principal PCMs investigated for use in phase change drywall are salt hydrates, paraffins, and fatty acids. Other PCM applications commonly use salt hydrates. Since they absorb moisture, which decreases their effectiveness, salt hydrates require costly and impractical encapsulation, with a semi-impermeable coating for improved performance. Paraffins are waxes.

 

They are readily available, inexpensive, and melt at different temperatures relating to their carbon-chain length. Paraffin can be incorporated into drywall in two ways, by direct immersion and by adding permeated plastic pellets to the drywall mixture during the manufacturing process. Since drywall is a porous material, it can absorb melted paraffin when immersed in it. Extra paraffin runs off, leaving no buildup of wax. Immersion times vary depending on the amount of PCM uptake desired, however, they rarely exceed ten minutes. PCM content ranges up to 30% of the composite weight of 1/2 inch drywall.

 

Drywall dipped in paraffin becomes water resistant. While common gypsum drywall is fire-resistant, PCM-drywall is quite flammable unless treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Immersion is the simplest, lowest cost method for making PCM drywall. To produce large quantities of PCM-immersed drywall, manufacturers would need to make major modifications to equipment and processes. This process is not recommended for do-it-yourselfers.

 

Polyethylene pellets, saturated with melted paraffin, then mixed with wet gypsum and compressed in sheet form, also yield production quality drywall.Relative to immersed drywall, this material is more fire-resistant, less water-resistant, and conforms to the current gypsum drywall manufacturing process. Both versions work well for heat transfer and storage, and the paraffin remains permanently in the drywall.

 
The third type of PCM under study, fatty acids, come from meat by-products and vegetables. They are cheap, renewable, and readily available. Like paraffins, different types of fatty acids have different melting points. To tailor the drywall for specific climates, the manufacturer varies the PCM mixing ratio. Fatty acids are also incorporated into the drywall by immersion or encapsulation. They yield similar heat and stability characteristics as paraffin-based PCM wallboard.
 

Advantages and Disadvantages of PCM Drywall:

PCM drywall has several advantages over conventional thermal mass in solar heating applications. Because the exposed surface is so large and the PCM absorbs heat over a narrow temperature range, the drywall need not receive direct sunlight. PCM drywall has a much greater heat storage capacity than conventional thermal mass, and provides excellent heat transfer. It demands no extra structural support and any added installation cost is minimal.

PCM drywall also has some disadvantages. The correct transition temperature for one climatic region will not be appropriate for another. Getting the right temperature becomes doubly difficult in regions that require both heating and cooling. Drywall manufacturers are reluctant to complicate their manufacturing processes to take these regional variations into account. On-site dipping of the drywall may suffer from poor quality control.

Other considerations include deposits of surface volatile impurities ("blooming"), fire retardancy, metal corrosion, odor, and traditional application issues, such as the ability of paint to adhere.
There is great potential for phase change drywall. There are significant issues and techniques to address, however, before it is ready for wide market acceptance. PCM drywall is strictly a manufactured product; do-it-yourself applications of phase change materials are strongly discouraged.

Content Provided By the DOE
 

Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Solutions

Phil can help you fix your own property’s mold problems at low-cost, more safely, and better-in- results than what is done by many mold inspectors and mold contractors.  How can Phil help you?

     1. Read Phil’s five plain-English,
mold advice books to master mold inspection, testing, removal, remediation, and prevention for your house, condo, apartment, office,  or workplace.

     2. Buy do-it-yourself, affordable mold test kits, mold lab analysis, video inspection scope, mold cleaner, mold killer,
and a mold-killing high ozone generator for the  successful toxic and household mold inspection, mold testing, mold species identification and quantification, mold cleaning, mold removal, and mold remediation to find mold, kill mold, clean mold, and remove mold from your residence or commercial building.

     3. Get FREE mold advice, mold help, and/or answers to your mold questions, by emailing mold expert Phillip Fry at
phil@modinspector.com. You can also email pictures of your mold problems in jpeg file format as email attachments.
 

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