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I am having a basement bedroom finished for my daughter. I just found out the person installing the drywall has never done it before, and there are some obvious issues with the first few sheets he put up. I will probably have to do it myself, and I was hoping for guidance.

For one, he put the drywall tight to the floor, which is concrete. I know it needs to be off the ground 3/8 inch or so. Can the wall be trimmed in place or do I need to take it down first? He has only put 2 screws per stud and very few of them are at the floor level. (When I suggested he would need more, he said it was overkill. )

Several sheets were cut very raggedly, but all the sheets are tight together, whereas I thought there should be an 1/8 inch gap between sheets. Is there any way to fix this or should I just hang new sheets with the gap?

It looks like in some cases he put the screw too near the end of the drywall, which has caused them to be dislodged and some of the screws are sunk in quite deep, and look to have gone through the drywall. Can I add screws and cover errors with tape and mud?

  • You probably meant "tight to the floor" and "tight together". Flush is something else. – isherwood Jan 22 at 13:52
  • Before you go cutting the bottom of the sheets, make sure the top is tight to the ceiling. This is the actual reason drywall is hung top-first--so the joint against the ceiling is nice. If you have to shift things up anyway you may not need to cut the bottom. – isherwood Jan 22 at 13:55
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Hopefully we can get you back on track

he put the drywall flush to the floor. I know it needs to be off the ground 3/8 inch or so

I tend to hang drywall from the top down for this reason. It sounds like he might have started from the bottom up and left them sitting on the floor. You're right about needing a gap from the floor (I use a super bar myself to lift up when mounting)

Can the wall be trimmed in place or do I need to take it down first?

You can trim it in place. I would suggest buying some chalk string and snapping a line around the room, then take a box cutter and cut along the line. You could also use a drywall saw, it's just harder to cut around the studs.

He has only put 2 screws per stud and very few of them are at the floor level.

I assume we're talking 4' x 8' sheets. Two per stud is really slim. I would want a fastener (nail or screw) every 6 - 8". Two per stud can hold it up, but you don't want the board to move and that's not enough to keep it from doing that.

all the sheets are flush together, whereas I thought there should be an 1/8 inch gap between sheets. Is there any way to fix this or should I just hang new sheets with the gap?

Nope. In this case your installer is right. The sheets should butt up to one another. You can leave a gap, but that's just more mud you'll need to apply.

some of the screws are sunk in quite deep

Sounds like he's driving screws using a regular drill instead of a drywall screw gun (which is designed to sink them to the correct depth and no further). You want your screws to sink into the surface some, but just enough for you to fill the hole in later. If they've gone most of the way through the board then they're useless.

If you don't feel confident enough driving screws yourself (it's a bit of an art without screw gun) then use drywall nails instead. They're faster and cheaper. Just bash the heads in enough to make a dimple in the drywall (makes skimming over them easy).

Can I add screws and cover errors with tape and mud?

Regardless of whatever fastener you use, you should mud all the holes. That's more or less what mud is for. Even if you make a mistake, mud covers all sins in this case.

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    Standard fastening for walls is 5 screws at the ends and 4 in the field. Add one to each for ceilings. 6-8" intervals is vast overkill. – isherwood Jan 22 at 13:55
  • If they've gone most of the way through the board then they're less than useless. Popped screws need to be removed because once you fill them and then press on the wall it will pop the mud out. Bang on the wall, if you can feel it move or dust comes out of a screw location, it's no good and its got to go; new hole, new screw. – Mazura Jan 22 at 14:06

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