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I have a concrete slab porch that was made into a family room by the previous owner. They used paneling on the walls and I'm going to remove that paneling and replace it with drywall. The top of the wall has wood trim all the way around. That wood is damaged to some extent and I'm thinking of just removing it all. However, that would make the total height for the walls 8ft 8inches. So how should I hang the drywall?

If I take 4x8 sheets, mounted horizontally, I would have 8 inches uncovered. Where should that 8 inches be? Should I mount one drywall sheet at the top and one at the bottom and patch the 8 inches in-between? Put the 8-inch section at the top? At the bottom?

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Firstly, you may be able to source 54" drywall. Two sheets oriented in the usual horizontal way will cover a wall height up to 108" (9 ft) with one tape joint between them. The extra cost may be worth the effort savings.

If your framing is laid out accurately on 16" or 24" centers, 10' sheets would stand up (vertically) nicely. All tape joints would be vertical - none horizontal. The waste won't cost much.

Otherwise, it really comes down to where you want to work. The outcome will be the same regardless, since a well-done tape joint is more or less as strong as the sheet itself.

Normally you work top-down, so you'd have that joint near the floor. One benefit is that you have flat drywall where you'll install base trim instead of a tapered edge. The drawback is that you're taping a joint hunched over.

Pros will sometimes do narrow strips in the middle so they can tape both joints almost as a single joint, skimming it all out together. The drawback to that is that you're taping a flat (butt) joint, since one edge of the strip won't have a taper. That means a slightly thicker bulge in the wall. If it's done well it won't matter, though.

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  • So you are thinking 9ft sheets and mount them vertically should work just fine? I had thought of that but forgot to mention it. Aren't 9ft sheets easier to find, too? – Rob Jun 22 at 14:45
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    @Rob you say "only carries lightweight" like that's a problem? Drywall's heavy, you'll appreciate the lighter weight! (I've never used the "lightweight", so I don't know if there additional concerns when using it.) – FreeMan Jun 22 at 15:12
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    Your tv shouldn't be mounted to the drywall. It should be mounted to the framing. It won't matter. – isherwood Jun 22 at 15:15
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    Ditto what @isherwood just said. I wouldn't dare mount a heavy, expensive TV to just drywall. Find some studs! Since the wall currently has no sheathing, figure out where you want the TV now, and install some 2x8 blocking between the studs to ensure you've got solid wood to mount lag bolts into no matter where the exact holes end up being. Future you will thank present you for thinking ahead! ... – FreeMan Jun 22 at 15:18
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    ... If you don't know exactly where, pick several likely candidate spots and run conduit to boxes in the wall (one for power, one for signal) and put up 2x8 blocking for each candidate location. Then you can easily wire the desired location once the final decision has been made, and hide the blanking plates for the unused locations with wall decorations. Future you and potential future owners will really thank you for having thought ahead with so many options!! – FreeMan Jun 22 at 15:21
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Think about how you're going to trim out the room.

You'll use some sort of baseboard molding, how tall is it? You can hide that much drywall seam behind it. It probably won't be 8" tall, so maybe you could put a small filler piece of drywall (maybe 4"?) down low, then put a cove molding up top and cover another small filler piece of drywall behind that. Sure, that's 2 seams instead of 1, but since they're hidden behind the trim, you don't have to tape & mud very nicely. Heck, you might not need to tape & mud at all! BONUS!

Or, you could put the extra bit right in the middle of the wall and hide it behind a chair rail, thus hiding it in plain sight.

Or, you could install 4x10' drywall vertically by cutting it to the 8'8" measurement you need and only have vertical seams (with their feathered edges, which make finishing easier) to tape and mud.

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  • Just from a cost perspective, drywall is generally a lot cheaper per unit area than any type of trim boards. – UuDdLrLrSs Jun 23 at 16:33
  • Similarly, though 8" may be a bit large, you could just use regular 8' drywall, mount it horizontally and leave the 8" gap at the bottom, and then fill it with flush mounted baseboard. It is a high-end look. – Glen Yates Jun 23 at 16:43
  • True, @UuDdLrLrSs, but most people install trim despite the cost. As the saying goes, "trim to fit"... ;) – FreeMan Jun 23 at 16:45
  • @FreeMan lol true :) I should have been clearer in my comment that what I meant was that buying taller trim to hide a drywall gap might be expensive. OTOH it also likely would look very nice – UuDdLrLrSs Jun 23 at 16:46
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I'd put the patched drywall at the bottom, near the floor, for several reasons.

  1. It takes more work to plaster and sand, because there are more joints. This is easier to do while standing, not working off a ladder or stilts or scaffold.
  2. There's a good chance that you'll be putting furniture along some of the walls, which will hide anything.
  3. A flat/matte paint as opposed to a gloss will reduce visibility of any minor variances, as would a wallpaper lining. If it suits the decor, a bold geometric pattern can hide a pretty bad plastering job.
  4. But simply spend more time on your plastering and sanding, and the surface should be as good as anywhere else on the wall. A good sanding job is worth the time and effort.

You might even want to dig through the removed wood panelling/trim and see if there's enough to create a lower panelling line. Wood is a fine lining product and scuffs give it character without compromising function. You can do a lot with sanding and stains.


On the other end of the wall, putting the patched bit at the top means that it would be very hard to see any errors. People generally don't look up, and the top of the wall is often a little darker than the rest of the room because light fittings tend to illuminate down more than up. Downside is working a little higher can be frustrating with platforms and ladders etc.

Either way, if you can put a batten behind the joint, or arrange for the joint to be over a stud or dwang, then it becomes much more rigid and easier to plaster.

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