Robert Lamoureux | DIY drywall projects can be done

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux
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Question: Robert, I have a small remodel project I’ve been working on, doing all the work myself. The one part of it I haven’t done before is drywall, but I’d like to continue without hiring anyone. First, do you think it is possible to do this properly as a first timer, and have it look right? Also, I hear there is a special way you have to install the screws to hold the drywall properly, can you give a brief explanation on this, please? — John F. 

Answer: John, it sounds like you are handy enough to give this a try, just note that it is generally something that takes some practice, when it comes to the mudding and taping. Be sure that you are choosing the correct thickness of drywall per your project and matching what was previously there, if that is the case. 

If insulation was present, you’ll need to replace this also, being sure to not pack it in. Yes, you are correct, there is a proper requirement by code, on installing the drywall screws. It is best for you to look this up and see it prior to installation. You’ll need a good idea of not only the pattern requirement for safety, but also the depth at which the screws are to be driven in. It is imperative that the paper on the drywall not be compromised, meaning that if the screw is driven in too deep, the paper will tear. This is considered a failure and if an inspector was called in, the project would be halted and corrections required. Next will be the mudding and taping of the drywall, which proceeds the texture, prime and paint. The taping and mudding binds the sheets together and creates flawless (if done well) seams.  

I recommend watching videos to learn techniques and even encourage you to practice prior to your project, as it is somewhat of an art form, getting the seams to be invisible. Once you have that done, it will be time to apply the texture you wish to see on the finished product. Always prime drywall prior to painting, as it is very absorbent and without primer will literally drink your paint. All that said, this is always a part of the project that I would have a skilled tech work on, just because the finished product is not very forgiving. Seams and imperfections tend to show up greatly once the paint is on the walls. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected] 

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