Garage Makeover: Drywall Installation

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And the Garage Makeover Series continues!

This week’s post is our drywall installation.  It briefly crossed my mind to call this post a “tutorial”, but based on the mess we made of the installation process, I can certainly NOT refer to this as a tutorial.  Nor do I want anyone to use it as one.  This should be more of a beginner’s guide to teaching yourself how to install drywall.  Hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and have a better experience than we did.

That being said, the end result is far better than what we started with.  However, it is nowhere near what we would have gotten if we’d paid a professional.  Though I am quite positive that we saved a ton of money.  So there’s that…

I will start from the beginning.  I measured every foot of my garage that would need drywall installed and I drew out diagrams in my sketchbook.  I included the window dimensions as well.  I wanted to make sure I purchased the exact amount of drywall I needed – no more, no less.  In order to transport the drywall, I had to rent a truck.  So I knew I had to be precise because I only had one chance to get it right.

Once I’d drawn out my garage walls and their dimensions in my sketchbook I started drawing in the sheets of drywall.  I must have done 4 different drawings of each wall.  I was trying to decide between sheets that were 8 feet long or 12 feet long, and I wanted to figure out whether I should place the drywall lengthwise or widthwise.

I ended up getting the sheets that were 8 feet long.  They were much easier to manage and cost less than the other ones.  I would have needed less of the 12 foot sheets, but I would’ve had to make more cuts and spent just as much money.

As for the direction of the drywall, I chose both.  On one wall, there was already some ugly, old drywall hanging up.  So I placed the new drywall in the same direction as the old.  On the other wall that was completely blank, I stood the drywall sheets up because it required less cutting and looked cleaner.

As for the steps, we started by clearing stuff out of the garage to make room for us to maneuver.  Then we removed all the old nails, screws, and hooks from the studs in order to create a flat surface to work with.  Then we started by installing the sheets of drywall that we knew we wouldn’t have to cut.  That was the easiest part.

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We used an impact driver to drill 2 1/2 inch drywall screws into place.  For the one side of the garage, we drilled right through the drywall, cement boards, and the studs.  We were careful to note where the cement board screws were underneath so we didn’t hit any of them.  Once we were able to secure the boards that didn’t need to be cut, we started on the partial boards.  I measured the spaces as accurately as possible and used a drywall knife to cut the boards down to size.  We secured them with the same screws.

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That wall was the easy part.  Since we’d already installed cement boards, the drywall installation was quick.

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The other wall was much harder.  We decided to forgo the cement boards.  That wall was completely uncovered and no part of it was connected to any walls in the house.  We wanted to put up the drywall purely for aesthetic purposes.

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After removing all the loose screws and nails, we started at one end of the garage and installed the boards that wouldn’t need to be cut.  Once we got to the window, I made my exact measurements and cut the drywall pieces accordingly.  This time we were just drilling the drywall screws through the drywall and the studs. So we had to be extra careful about placement since we didn’t have an extra layer of cement boards to use as leverage.

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Once we’d installed the whole bottom layer of drywall, we started cutting down the pieces to fit up top.  Some of them ended up being really thin strips and were difficult to install and quite ugly once they were.

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So if you’re a stickler for appearance, I suggest measuring out pieces that are larger in size to avoid cracking and overall ugliness.  Lesson learned.

We have a hot water heater in our garage that has a big hose sticking out of one wall.  So we had to cut our drywall out to allow some space for that.  These are things you can’t really plan for until you’re invested in the project.  We were able to cut around the hose and leave a space big enough that it could be accessed in the future if need be.

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As for the space behind the hot water heater, we had to cut the drywall down to smaller pieces that we could actually fit back there.  It was a pain, but we managed to fill every part of the empty wall that was visible.

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The debate we are having now is whether or not to spackle and paint all the walls.  I am not a huge fan of the mismatching drywall pieces, but I am also not a huge fan of spackling and painting. In fact, I loathe it.  I had no intentions or ever painting these walls.  But now that I see how much of a positive difference the drywall itself made, I can’t help but think how good it would look if it was all one color with no visible screws.  Thoughts for another day.

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I do plan to install some trim around the window.  I want it to look more uniform.  Future blog post!  In the meantime, organization is the next major item on the list.  We built another set of shelves this past weekend and I’m starting to find a home for everything.  Fingers crossed I will have some sweet looking, clean and organized, garage photos sometime in the near future.  I still need to set up the workbench and install my peg boards.  All in good time, my friends.

Until then…

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