I am in the process of finishing my basement, I'm doing all the work outside of the drywall finishing. I have a well spoken of finisher doing the work and I've asked him these questions and get the generic "It really doesn't matter to me". However, I want to make his life easier and more importantly, I want the drywall to look good. I am putting 5/8" on ceiling (24" joists OC) and 1/2" on walls. All sheetrock will be 4x8 as that's all I can get into the basement. Ceiling is 8'1". On all of my exterior walls, I have a 36" framed out half wall against cinder blocks, which will be a ledge, and 61" above with 4 total windows. Here's where the questions kick in.

I know hanging drywall vertical isn't common practice, but with the measurements, does it just make sense with these walls?

One cut and I have a top and bottom piece filling 4' wide floor to ceiling?

If I do run horizontal, I'd have quite a bit of waste from the upper half I think although the lower half would be simple. Suggestions here?

I'm also nervous regarding how close the screws need to be to the edges when hanging vertical?

Also, all of my constructed walls are between 9-12' long, what's the best way to handle these?

  • 1
    Are you going to have baseboard trim along the bottom of the wall?
    – SteveSh
    Jan 30, 2021 at 12:51
  • Yes. I'm not worried about the height though. There will be 5/8" on the ceiling and I'll be leaving a 1/4" gap at the floor so 8' works just fine measitement wise vertical. I'm more concerned about screwing on edges and the appearance of it. I had assumed it would be fine because it's not an 8' vertical run. All you hear is sheetrock needs to go horizontal though.
    – EGrant23
    Jan 30, 2021 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


Not sure is this is the best way, but here's what I did in a similar situation. I had a room finished (part of an old garage) that ended by having ~8'2" from the floor to the ceiling (after the ceiling drywall was installed). So I was faced with the same issue as you:

  1. Run 10' drywall vertically and cut off 1'10' from each piece.
  2. Use 8' or longer drywall run horizontally and need a 2" strip someplace (bottom, probably).

I decided to use the 4'x8' drywall and run it vertically, with the joints all falling on studs. To make up the 2" shortfall, I ripped 1/2" plywood into 2" wide strips and fastened them to the studs at the bottom of the walls, between the drywall and the floor. This is covered by baseboard trim anyway, so the difference in the surface texture between the drywall and the wood is hidden. A side benefit is that is gave me a continuous nailing surface to use for attaching the baseboard.

Edit 1, in response to OP's comment

Installing it horizontally is advantageous when you can use 12' long sheets, as it reduces the number of joints that have to be finished. I tend to lay it out both ways (with 8' sheets) and see what orientation results in 1) fewest number of sheets of drywall and 2) least amount of joints.

I should add that I'm just a DIYer who does something like this once every 5 years or so. Those that do this for a living or on a more regular basis probably have their own recommendations.


As long as the sheet/panel seams line-up with stud centers, you can install the panels vertically. Where they don't quite align you can apply backing (e.g. 1/4in ply, or some left over 1x lumber), or double up a stud.

As a DIY'er I find it a lot easier to double a stud than to mud a non-bevelled seam or schlepp 10 ft / 12 ft panels into a basement.

As for the extra 1-in, as you noted too, you don't have to run the drywall all the way from top to bottom. You can leave a 1/4-in gap below the ceiling panel, for a total drop of 5/8+1/4 = 7/8. And your gap at the floor depends on the flooring + moulding. A 1-in gap is really not a problem.

  • Thanks! I'm not concerned about the ceilings being 97". I plan on leaving a 1/4" or so gap at the floor. The part I'm worried about is the area that is above the ledge, the 61", is above grade so that has all been already insulated with a vapor barrier, so typically adding a stud here and there wouldn't be a big deal - but that would be crappy work IMO. With that said, I have a superb finisher doing the mudding/taping.
    – EGrant23
    Jan 30, 2021 at 19:01

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