Drywall Inside Corners – Easier Than You Think!

Inside corners of drywall seem near impossible for the beginner to quickly tape and finish! This blog post covers some basics that I think will help:

  • Use paper tape. NEVER mesh tape! Mesh is easily snagged by a taping knife, and that is very easy to do here since you are skimming down both sides of the corner.
  • Do not use metal-backed corners that are mudded on. In theory, these seem like the perfect solution. But if you wall is not perfectly level, the metal will cause the corner to “pop off”, resulting in gaps in the mud underneath.
  • Wet down the paper by very quickly passing through a bucket of water. Shake off the tape to remove most of the water. You don’t want the tape to be wet (and shred), just slightly dampened. A spray bottle would also work.
  • Follow the procedure shown in the video below (there is audio to go with the diagram). Also, go to http://www.drywallinfo.com/insidecorners.html for detailed steps, photos, and videos.

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Hanging 8 ft or 12 ft drywall?

12ftdrywallOften the question is asked “Should I go with 8 foot sheets of drywall hung vertically or 12 foot sheets of drywall hung horizontally?” This article addresses that question and offers advice on a case-by-case basis.

Advantages of Hanging 8 ft Long Drywall

The one obvious advantage of 8 foot long pieces of drywall is the ability of a single person to pick up a full piece and position it in place. Twelve foot long pieces, unless you have unusual strength, are near impossible to handle alone. And if you have to fish a 12 foot long piece around corners and down stairs, it may be impossible.

You may transport 8 ft long drywall pieces within a closed full-sized SUV or truck bed or even in the back of many mini-vans (like a Grand Caravan). 12 ft pieces will require a fairly long trailer or require a delivery charge.

Another advantage of eight foot long pieces of drywall is that when sheets are placed vertically on walls, all seams lie within a recess. And this means you do not need to do the extra work involved in properly finishing a butt joint.

Advantages of Hanging 12 ft Long Drywall

One advantage of 12 ft long sheets is that you may cover an entire wall of a small room (less than 12 ft wide) with only two sheets fastened horizontally! And in general, if the width of an area is 12 feet or less, you can cover it with two sheets and a single recess joint running horizontally down the center.

12 foot long pieces of drywall, fastened horizontally will result in a stronger, more stable wall. I can vouch for this personally even though I use 8 ft sheets for nearly any remodeling job I do: When I hang drywall around windows or doors, I will usually hang the sheets horizontally so as to avoid a vertical seam at the edge of a door or window . This use of horizontal sheets around windows will add stability to the structure and reduce the seam cracks that occur at vertical seams during winter sub-zero temperatures. And, in fact, I have even removed drywall around windows where a vertical joint was cracking and replaced it with a horizontally orientated sheet.

12 ft sheets, hung horizontally will reduce the total amount of taping required.  For an 11-ft wide wall, only 11 total feet of taping is required vs. 16 ft of vertical taping for 8 ft sheets hung vertically. For a 13 foot wide wall,  one would have to use a total of four 12-ft sheets, cut down and staggered horizontally, resulting in 21 feet of taping, 8 ft of which would consist of butt joints. For 8 ft sheets hung vertically, there would be 24 ft of taping, all in recessed joints (no butt joints). So in both cases taping is reduced, but in the latter case, you have nearly as much taping and 8 ft of butt joints.

Conclusions

If you are a DIYer remodeling a wall or small room, 8 ft sheets are your best bet. In a remodel job, you lack the luxury of being able to freely move pieces through wide open spaces. Rather you must somehow snake a 12 ft piece around corners, furniture, etc and you will need help in moving the piece. Also, do you want to mess with a 12′ trailer or pay for delivery of 3 or 4 sheets of 12-ft long drywall? And even though 12 ft pieces offer more strength from being hung horizontally, you may still hang your 8 ft pieces horizontally around windows and doors where that strength is needed. In areas away from doors and windows, I have never noticed strength issues, like buckling or cracked seams, for vertically hung 8 ft sheets. Of course this recommendation is contingent on your local building codes.

If you are building new, I would recommend using the 12 ft sheets. You will most likely opt to have the drywall delivered anyway so that is not an issue. And you will probably not be doing this drywall job alone, at least I would not recommend it! You will probably want to rent or borrow a lift so that would help with the positioning of these longer, heavier, pieces. The 12 ft sheets will give you the best strength and will result in less taping. If you hire a taper, they will probably charge you no more for butt joints than recess joints so less taping could save you a little money as well.

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StudTHUD® Magnetic Studfinder Review

studthud-wall300The inventor of the StudTHUD®, a magnetic stud finder that uses a super-sensitive magnet that “thuds” against the wall when it passes over a drywall nail or screw, sent me one of his inventions to test out. I had been following the progress of this invention for a while and had corresponded with the inventor quite a bit. Before actually trying it, I quite honestly was a little skeptical as to why it was any better than any other magnetic studfinder. But my skepticism left when I actually tried it.

Here are the Pros and Cons that I found:

Pros of the StudTHUD®

  • The StudTHUD ® found studs very fast! The magnet was so powerful that it even pulled the stud finder toward the stud, with the StudTHUD® thumping against the wall when it located the stud.
  • Upon locating the stud, this magnetic studfinder would usually stick to the wall due to the powerful force of the magnet.
  • The Stud THUD ® has the same width as a normal building stud. Thus, it is almost impossible to miss the stud if you mark your stud midway on the stud finder. A traditional electronic stud finder can sometimes leave you guessing at times.
  • The StudTHUD® was able to find a stud even under tile!
  • No batteries! I came to appreciate this when I compared this product to my traditional electronic stud finder that did not work because it contained a corroded dead battery.
  • The product was easy to use. In the video below, my son found studs with no special instructions except “slide the stud finder over the wall until the magnet finds a stud”.

Cons of the StudTHUD®

  • The StudTHUD® needs metallic fasteners. Thus in the unlikely event that the drywall is only glued to studs underneath, you will not find the stud. This might also be a problem in a tight area that just happens to not have fasteners on the drywall in the area.

Conclusions

The StudTHUD® is a product that I think every homeowner would want to have, perhaps in addition to an electronic stud finder. I found it to be more precise and foolproof than the electronic stud finder I have, and it did not need batteries.  I look forward to seeing it on the market – it would make a nice stocking stuffer for just about anybody on my Christmas list. This product is going to be available late 2011 – for more info, see http://studthud.com/.

Watch my son find some studs in the video below. He found the first stud very quickly due to a little luck I think and it took a little more effort finding a stud under the tile. The video was unrehearsed and unedited.

studthudpic

Disclosure Statement: Other than being given this product for me to review, I have not been compensated in any way by the inventor of this product. The value of this product is approximately $10.

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Wallboarders Buddy Review

wallboarders-buddyI was invited to try a new product called the Wallboarders Buddy by the inventor of this  product. I gladly accepted, as it appeared to be a nice product. After completing this review, I will donate the product to a friend that is a professional contractor – it could be a big time saver for him.

Here is a summary of Pros and Cons I observed:

Pros of the Wallboarder’s Buddy

  • This wallboard cutting product is extremely easy to use. The video posted below was made only a day after I received the product. It is pretty self-evident how you use this product. Set your width, and run the guide down the side of the drywall piece scoring as you go.
  • You don’t have to even use your tape measure to set up your cut. The guide has a precise measurement setting that locks in place. And it proved to be quite accurate. So if you need a 44″ wide sheet, simply cut off 4″ from one edge of the full 48″ wide sheet. The Wall Boarders Buddy, able to cut accurately on both sides, would be very handy for trimming a sheet from 96″ to 95″, a task that can be very time consuming.
  • The pieces break off much cleaner than the usual score, bend, and break method due to the fact that you score the drywall on both the front and back of the sheet.
  • This product is fast. Despite my inexperience with the Wallboarders Buddy, I was able to measure, score, and cut the piece in the video in about a minute and a half.

Cons of the Wallboarder’s Buddy

  • When cutting smaller pieces, it is more difficult to keep the guide in place properly against the edge. In a trial piece cut before the one in the video, I cut a smaller piece and it was difficult to use the guide unless someone else held the piece. But this would not be an issue with a full sheet or even a half sheet since the weight of the bigger heavier piece would hold it in place as you cut.
  • One must take care to keep the guide straight. I did not have too much difficulty, although on the smaller piece mentioned in the previous paragraph, the guide strayed from the edge and resulted in a non-straight cut. Keeping the guide on course would not be too difficult on a full size sheet I think.

Conclusions

This would be a great product for the person doing a lot of drywall cutting in the building of their home or a major remodel. I think that a professional drywall contractor would definitely want to have this product since time is money, and this product could for sure save some time. And how many times does one have to cut 96″ sheets down to 94″ or 95″ in a remodeling job? This product would save a lot of time. Given the fact that it took me, with my limited experience using the tool, only a minute and a half to measure and make the cut shown in the video below, I think a professional could easily cut pieces to size in a minute or less. For more information and videos on this product, see http://www.wallboardersbuddy.com.

Wallboarders Buddy Review

Disclosure Statement: Other than being given this product for me to review, which I will donate away, I have not been compensated in any way by the producer of this product.

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Using Patching Plaster (Spackle) To Quickly Repair Nail Pops and Holes

Sandable Patching Plaster (Spackle)

When repairing nail holes, nail pops in drywall, or pre-filling large gaps between sheets or in corners, you may use ordinary all-purpose joint compound. But, this compound takes a fairly long time to dry and also will shrink a fair amount, requiring additional coats (and time). A better way to do these types of jobs is to use a sand-able patching plaster (also known as spackle). There are many suitable products, but the one I tried and found to work well is DAP  Sandable Patching Plaster, available at most hardware or home stores. Just make sure the product states “sands easily”.

I used this product to fill in some nail holes and also I used it to fill in a dent in my drywall made from a door handle. In the case of the door handle dent I placed and excess amount of the  patching plaster (rather than skimming it level) just to see if it would sand off OK. It sanded just fine, almost as easily as joint compound. See photos below.

Another place you would want to use this type of compound would be to pre-fill in gaps between two sheets of drywall before you tape. Joint compound can take a long time to dry, and if the gaps are large, ordinary joint compound can even crack as it shrinks, requiring follow-up coats to account for shrinkage. A quick drying, low shrinkage sandable spackle or patching plaster prevents both of these problems!

plaster4-horz-400

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Hercules Hook 23.5 Pounds Hung For 14 Months

At the beginning of April in 2009, I hung 23.5 pounds from a single Hercules Hook. VK6CXBWT366F Since that time I have kept a record of what happened. The hook deformed a little, then a little more, and even a little more still. But still the weight is held up! After 14 months, the 23.5 pounds of weight still hangs and the hook has maintained it previous deformation (at 9 months) of 1/2 inch. The hook, however dug into the wall to about a quarter inch. I would not want anything valuable hanging in such a fashion, since a little more of the hook digging in could pull it out fairly easily. As I mentioned in previous posts, one could provide some insurance by using a combination of a hook and a screw in a stud to hold up a heavy 20-pound mirror or painting. For light wall hangings, however, I would have no reservations.

DSCF3302 DSCF3298

I think my next update will be a video of me measuring the amount of weight required to bring this 23.5 pound weight down!

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Strait Flex Drywall Tape – Great For Odd Angles!

straitflex2The photo shown here illustrates the challenges my friend Luke faced in finishing his log cabin. About half his walls were natural log, but the other half were finished drywall. And being log built, it is natural to have more non-90-degree angles than a traditional home. So I let Luke use the samples I had of Strait Flex Non-Paper Tape for these odd angles.  And it worked very well for him! He used the Original, Mid-size, and Large-size tape. Luke used the tape to not only tape seams but also to bridge small gaps at the corners. I had tried this product as well in the past and have a step-by-step taping tutorial available here. The nice thing about this product is that it is readily available at Menards home stores and other home stores and hardware stores. straitflex1
Disclaimer: Strait flex sent me product samples free of charge to try out. I was not compensated in any other way.

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Hercules Hooks Experiment – 9 Month Update

Hercules Hooks Deformed by 1/2"

Hercules Hooks Deformed by 1/2"

It has been 9 months since my Hercules Picture Hooks Experiment involving 23.5 pounds hung from a single hercules hook. Two weeks after hanging the weight, there was a 1/8″ permanent deformation of the hook from its original shape. Then 3 months later there was a 1/4″ permanent deformation – see this Hercules Hook update. Now, it is a total of 9 months from the date I hung the weight. The result is a full 1/2″ deformation of the hook, as you can see on the left in the photo. Also, where the hook is in the wall, the hercules hook is gradually digging its way into the drywall. The hook has dug in about 1/8″ into the drywall, as shown in the lower photo. Keep in mind that this 23.5 pound weight hangs undisturbed. In a situation where a shelf was hung, you would occasionally bump the shelf, place items on it, or otherwise disturb it. So in a more realistic application you would probably see even a bit more deformation of the hook or digging into the drywall.

With what I have seen so far, I would not recommend maxing out the Hercules hook weight carrying capacity unless you plan on taking down that shelf or mirror within the year. On the other hand, these Hercules hooks are wonderful for lighter items like photos or light portraits.

Hook Digs Into the Wall With Time

Hook Digs Into the Wall With Time

I will continue to leave this weight hanging (as long as my wife’s patience holds out) and report back, maybe in a few months or whenever that 23.5 weight comes crashing to the ground.

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Fixing Oversized Drywall Outlet Holes

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Cutting outlet boxes in drywall can be tricky. And even with the best measurements, you can be off enough to result in a sliver of black space to one side of the outlet, like shown in the top photo of this page. So what can you do? There are two solutions:

1. Get an oversized outlet cover for the box. Sometimes, this can look almost like clown shoes if all the other outlets have regular covers. But it works. And it is easy.

2. Fix the hole so the gap is filled in. This can be fairly easy to do if the gap happens to occur over the stud. What I do then is use some rolled up fiberglass mesh tape that is screwed to the stud in a few places. Then I apply compound to the mesh tape making the surface level. The mesh adds strength to this repair. If, however, the gap occurs over an area with no stud, applying mud to the edge won’t work – the mud will easily chip off. But, however, there is another solution – use the Straitflex repair panel. The procedure I used with these panels is shown below.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

First, I cut out the repair panel using the template printed on the panel as a guide. I had to cut out a few extra places where the wall outlet is attached so the template would lie flat on the wall. If you take a close look at the photos you will see what I am talking about.

I placed the template around my outlet where I wanted it and traced around it with a pencil so I would know exactly where to put in once the compound was on.

Then, I applied about a quarter inch of compound to the back side of the patch, as directed.

I placed the patch on the wall and then used a 4 inch knife to press it in place, squeezing much of the mud underneath out through the holes in the patch.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

As directed, I placed another coat onto the patch immediately. My guess is that they want the overcoat to form a nice bond with the mud under the patch through the holes in the patch. This gives the patch extra strength I am thinking.

After the initial coat was dry, I used my taping knife to scrape off any high spots. Then I over coated the patch with another coat. This coat may or may not be all you need. What I found was that I needed to use a trouble light (or lamp with no shade) to add additional small thin coats to touch up this surface. The trouble light will reveal ridges or scratches that must be filled or feathered out. Make sure to not sand till all coats are on but rather use your taping knives to scrape down the surface and remove any bumps or ridges.

When all compound is on, then use some 200 grit or 220 grit sandpaper to sand this surface. Prime the area and paint over with paint to match. In summary, this drywall patch, available at the Straitflex website, would be a nice item to have on hand to repair a drywall wall outlet hole after cutting just a little too big. For more info on taping and finishing drywall, see my main site at drywallinfo.com

drywall patch

With First Coat - CLICK ON IMAGE

drywall patch

With 2nd Coat - CLICK ON IMAGE

Note: The samples were sent to me to test upon my request. I receive no other compensation from Straitflex.

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Using Strait Flex Crack Repair Tape To Repair a Drywall Crack

Crack Tape

Strait Flex sent me a bunch of samples to try out. One of the products was call Crack Tape. And I just happened to have a few cracks needing fixing, so I thought I would give it a try. If you read my article on repairing drywall cracks that occur at the corners of windows and doors, you find that I am not too optimistic about any type of retaping holding up. Rather, I advocate removing drywall and putting up new pieces so there is no joint at the corners. But, this Strait Flex product is advertised to have 10 times the strength of regular paper tape. So maybe it would hold up?

I repaired one crack by simply taping over the top and then overcoating and feathering out the repair. Since this tape itself is a bit thicker than paper tape, it raises the surface a bit, which is never a good thing. But, on the other hand, this Strait Flex is a stiff non-paper composite material that is sand-able. So unlike paper tape, if you happen to sand down to the tape it is not as detrimental. My repair came out nice and is shown below.

I repaired another crack by using the drywall crack repair method shown here, but instead of using paper tape, I used the Strait Flex crack repair tape. The repair went well, and I would expect that the repair would hold up better in this high-stress area than regular paper tape. Another feature of this tape, besides being much stronger, is that you place the tape on, imbed it, and then immediately place a coat over the top. This allows a continuous coat to pass through the holes of the tape, giving it that much more strength. And since this tape is fairly stiff, I had no problems with snagging the tape by immediately overcoating. Check back at this site in 5 years or so to see how well it held up :)

You can order this product or other Straitflex products at the Straitflex website.

Going Over The Top of a Crack

Going Over The Top of a Crack

Removing Old Tape First

Removing Old Tape First

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