How to Sheetrock Ceilings

Step by Step Instructions for Installing Ceiling Drywall

By Mark J. Donovan

When hanging sheetrock in a room or home always sheetrock ceilings first. However before embarking on a major drywall installation project make sure you have the right tools and an extra pair of hands to help out. When installing ceiling drywall this includes renting a drywall jack or building up a couple of large Ts out of 2x4s to hold the drywall onto the ceiling as you screw or nail the drywall to the ceiling joists or furring strips. When sheetrocking ceilings a drywall jack allows you to more easily position the drywall sheets into place on the ceiling so that you can easily screw or nail the drywall into place.

In addition to a drywall jack and/or a couple of Ts, I highly recommend the use of a drywall screw gun. Drywall screws hold drywall better and they are much easier to install than pounding in drywall nails.

Also, make sure to wear eye protection when sheetrocking a ceiling. Nails and drywall can easily fall into your eyes when constantly looking up.

Before actually installing your drywall ceiling mark the locations of the ceiling joists, rafters or furring strips at the top plates of the wall studs, as this will help you to locate your nailing surfaces when attaching the sheetrock panels to the ceiling. The top plate is the 2x4s or 2x6s that the vertical stud members nail into when framing a wall.

Before installing each sheetrock ceiling panel check for light fixtures or other types of electrical boxes that it may cover. Mark and cut out the appropriate holes in the drywall panel prior to lifting it up into place using the drywall jack.

Use a drywall jab saw or jig saw to cut out the holes. Also, make sure whenever possible that the tapered edges of the sheetrock panels abut one another as these recessed areas are designed for supporting the drywall tape.

Once you have roughly lifted the sheetrock panel into place make sure it’s edges line up in the center of any ceiling joists, roof rafters or furring strips, so that the adjacent sheetrock panel has a nailing surface area as well.

Then, using your drywall screw gun or hammer, fasten drywall screws or nails into the edges of the sheetrock panel. Make sure, however, to place the screws or nails about one ½ inch in from the edges of the panel to prevent edge breakdown.

Once the edges are screwed or nailed into place, continue to install additional screws or nails in the middle of the drywall panel. The screws should be placed about 12 inches from one another along all the joists, rafters or furring strips it covers. Also make sure that the screws or nails are slightly countersunk into the sheetrock panels, but no sunk so deep that they break the drywall paper.

Continue to sheetrock the ceiling by installing one row of panels at a time along the length of the ceiling. On the next row of sheetrock panels, cut a 4’x8’ sheetrock panel in half and use one of the half sheets as a starter for the next row. This will stagger the next row and help to create a “brick” pattern when sheetrocking the ceiling. This helps to reduce long seams in at least one direction.

Once the ceiling sheetrock is installed you can then move on to install the sheetrock along the walls.

How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole EBook

Start the sheetrocking of the walls at the top of the wall, and make sure to butt the drywall sheets up flush against the ceiling sheetrock pieces. This will further help to hold the ceiling drywall in place, at least along the edges of the ceiling.

For information on repairing a large drywall hole, see the “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook from  The “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook provides step-by-step instructions on how to repair your damaged wall so that it looks as good as new.

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