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I'm in the process of gutting a bedroom. I had to remove a pocket door, move the light switch, add a couple of receptacles, and deal with some rot/mold/insects on the exterior wall. I found that whoever put up the drywall in that room used glue on every stud with only a handful of drywall nails per board (to hold it in place while the glue dried, I suppose).

My problem/question is now that I've removed all of the drywall, little bits at a time, I have studs with up to an 1/8 inch of hard construction glue up and down them. Should I leave the glue and put the new drywall over it if it seems even, or it is worth the time to chip off all of the glue and then install drywall right on the studs? It's a LOT of work and I'd like to avoid it unless there's some problem I can't think of.

  • I am the original poster. I'd like to explain what I did since people are still finding and commenting on this and it may help someone else. I used a hand scraper, the kind with a square blade and 4 edges, to strip all of the glue off the stud faces. I then hung the new drywall and found that it was horribly uneven due to some studs being slightly forward or backward in the wall cavity. The original builder probably used the glue to fill these gaps. I used some shims instead of glue and even sistered a few of the studs. It all came out beautiful. Good luck! – dslake May 12 '15 at 19:55
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I would spend the time to scrape it off. This will increase the contact area between the studs and the drywall, which in turn will give better stability. Stability is important because if there is any free play, the screws will move, and may eventually show through the paint.

There are various scrapers available in your local home improvement store, in the paints/brushes section. If adhesive proves hard to remove, use mineral spirits or any type of adhesive remover you can find.

I also found that a reciprocating saw with a scraping attachment can be efficient.

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If they aren't level, and scraping is too daunting, I suggest sistering new studs to the existing ones but have them stick out 1/8 inch. I'd suggest using metal ones as that'd make the job extremely quick.

  • Thank you for your answer. This is the method I used. I sistered new studs next to the ones that were set too far back rather than slathering on glue. I used a long level across the wall at the top, middle and bottom to make sure all studs were in alignment. For the places where the gap would be less than an 1/8 inch, I just used those thin cardboard drywall shims. – dslake May 12 '15 at 19:58
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If there is a lot of glue I would definitely spend the money on an oscillating tool and get one of the cutting tools. It should make quick work of getting the glue off but won't be as aggressive/damaging as a reciprocating saw.

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Highly recommend for removing the liquid nail, a very sharp wood chisel will do just fine with a little effort. If the liquid nail is only 1/8 thick then no problem, just hang right over it.

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To see if the glue warrants removal, check your walls with a straight edge, 4 ft. minimum, longer if you have one, make sure it is straight. With that check the top and bottom plates for straight, then check each stud face with the straight edge too. Lastly check across the studs horizontally at the center. Another alternative to a straight edge is string lines with a spacer block at each end, but takes a little longer to set up. If you have everything cleaned to where the thin layer of paper front the back of the drywall is left, that is all the cleaning needed. If the differences between faces are more than an 1/8", trim the tightest spaces back until the gaps are uniform.

If everything is within an 1/8 of an inch the drywall, with screws and new glue behind it, the drywall will readily stay, as you may have noticed when you removed the old drywall. You were accurate in your observation, there are enough screws to hold it until the glue dries.

That can be a good thing or a bad thing. The good thing is, drywall has a tendency to lay completely flat if there is nothing to keep it from doing so. Because of this it can span over slight differences between surfaces, that's what the glue will do, provide a "filler" for the gaps behind the drywall.

The bad thing is, it can also, with a minimum of obstruction, bow away from the wall studs, the biggest culprit being, cutting the sheet too tight between other surfaces or getting it to close to the floor, it should be about an 1" above subfloor, 1/2" above an existing finish floor. This is so any trash or small debris will not get trapped between the framing and drywall.

  • I used the long straight edge method on each of the walls at top, middle, and bottom to decide where to sister the studs and where to use shims. Thank you! – dslake May 12 '15 at 19:59
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I would make sure all the screws are out and then run a circular saw up the side of the stud. As long as you hold your line and keep the plate pressed against the side should be able to shave off everything except for a mm or two.

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A sawzall with a metal-cutting blade as opposed to a wood or general-purpose one (many small teeth, not few deep sharp ones) will be easy to run along the surface of the studs and cut off the glue with cutting the wood.

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I know you already solved this problem, but for future reference, I'd say the best/easiest tool to use would be an angle grinder. There are many many attachments that will very quickly remove glue while keeping the studs relatively intact. Just be sure to use eye, ear, and lung protection! HTH someone!

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As a rule on modulars, they use adhesive for the drywall, not just to reduce spackling but to assure the integrity of the structure while it is being craned and transported. Now that they are more common in my area, I am starting to run into some different construction practices than I've been used to dealing with the past 30 years. One of these is GLUED DRYWALL.
My first instinct was to use a 2" chisel and a hammer. Daunting when you need to replace drywall in 2 average sized rooms. The next idea was to leave the drywall on the studs as 1 1/2" strips. using longer drywall screws. This will work on the ceiling but not the walls where there are door jambs and window jambs that will need to be built out. For those areas, I find the process easy using a scraper blade in my Sawzall. However it will still take time and patience. I tried using my multi-tool but in large doses, I can feel carpel tunnel coming on from the constant vibration, even with gloves. The scraper blade gummed up within minutes even though the glue was brittle.
Running a fine Sawzall blade in between the drywall and the stud is messy, awkward and reckless, especially when other parts of the house are being lived in and will gum up the best blade when it starts getting hot. I have pulled out my 4" angle grinder with a 60 grit disc but, same thing, gets gummed up very quickly. What worked for me is scraping with a Sawzall scraper blade and hand scraper. Drywalling over what you can go over (ceilings and closet side and rear walls). Use a straight edge on the wall to check for anything drastic. Just don't forget to charge for the additional time!

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    Welcome to DIY.SE! There's a lot of backstory in your Answer that is obscuring the relevant part (use a scraper blade on a reciprocating saw). You should edit it to make the recommended technique more clear, which would make this a much better Answer! – mmathis Jan 16 '18 at 21:01

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