The walls of your house are one of the first things your friends or visitors come across, and the condition of your walls will give them the impression of your taste and home. Therefore, it is important to maintain your walls to avoid rough and patchy walls.
To make your work easier, you can use drywall, which is a handy building material. Also referred to as plasterboard, wallboard, gyp board, gypsum board or sheetrock, it has transformed the remodelling industry. However, just like all other building materials, it has its pros and cons. It is affordable, easy to use and lightweight, but it is prone to water-damage, scratches, holes, cracks, and dents. On the bright side, all these problems can be fixed.
Just like painting, fixing or replacing a drywall is labour intensive. It involves two main steps. The first step is sheetrock installation, which includes panel cutting, shaping, putting into place and fastening. The second step involves taping seams, coating and sanding until the surfaces are smooth.
However, even with all the information on how to fix a drywall, you may wonder if you need a drywall contractor or do it yourself. After all, if you are a DIY enthusiast, you can handle minor damages while extensive damage may require the help of a drywall contractor. But before everything else, what are the main causes of damage to your drywall?
Advantages of using drywall
Construction materials are essential since they determine if your property will be durable and resistant to wear and tear. For instance, when remodelling a house most people choose drywall over plaster because of the benefits it comes with.
It is easy to repair
Just like plaster, drywall is durable, but if you are fixing damages such as holes, cracks and chips, drywall is quicker, easier and cheaper. That’s one of the reasons why most home and business owners use drywall instead of plaster. Also, if it is made from gypsum, it becomes tough and fire-proof.
It can be moisture and mould resistant
An added advantage of using drywall is that it can be fully customised to meet your needs and preferences. For instance, if you are concerned about moulds in your building go for mould resistant drywall. However, if your house is prone to moisture, use moisture-resistance type.
It can be soundproof
Do you work or live in an area with a lot of street, construction or traffic noise? Then you know nothing can beat soundproof walls. This type of material will ensure you live in a quiet area and it doesn’t cost you a fortune.
It is energy-efficient
Who wouldn’t want to pay less for energy bills? It is possible if you are using drywall because it provides insulation keeping your house warm during cold winters while it keeps your house cool during hot summers. At first, the energy savings are unnoticeable, but in the long run, you will realise the value of drywall when you have saved a significant amount.
It is faster to remodel/build using drywall
When compared to other building materials such as plaster, using drywall is faster, and that’s why most business owners prefer it. It is about six times faster than using other materials since it will save time and productivity will not be affected as well.
It features smooth surfaces
Drywall is aesthetically pleasing, and it can perfectly fit in any building. It has a seamless, smooth and crack-free surface that looks attractive and elegant. Also, the aesthetic value helps the employee to enjoy working in beautiful surroundings.
It is recyclable
Drywall has an added advantage over other materials since you can reuse it. For example, you can use drywall scraps in wall cavities during construction to eliminate the costs of transport and disposal. You can recycle an old drywall to new if most of the paper content is removed since the paper affects its fire rating. Also, it can be recycled to amend soil used for general agriculture, growing mushrooms, nurseries, reclamation of mine and forestry, compost, recreational areas, golf courses and residential lawns.
Common causes of damage to your drywall
Most of us use drywall to create walls for our homes since they are firm and easy to work with. But have you noticed any holes and scuffs on the drywall inside your house? How did they get there? Drywall can get damaged through many ways in which some are out of our control. Regardless of the cause of damage, you can repair or replace it yourself if you are a DIY enthusiast or find a drywall contractor near you. But before you repair you should know how your drywall can get damaged.
Leaks /Water Damage
If you have a broken water line or your doors, windows, and roof are leaking, they can damage your drywall. A wet drywall cannot hold up since it becomes weak. It also begins to have dark spots and grow moulds, which are dangerous to your family’s health. Thus, your drywall needs a replacement immediately and to prevent it from reoccurring ensure the countersunk is 1/16th of an inch.
Have you noticed a small crack on your drywall that anyone can hardly see? If yes, that crack can turn into a huge problem in the long run. Cracks damage not only the drywall but also the entire foundation of your house. Cracks usually form on the ceiling if there are traces of moisture, poorly installed drywall or foundation settling. Therefore, to avoid such problems have your drywall inspected occasionally. To fix the cracks, your drywall contractor will determine if it needs a new paint job, an extensive repair or replacement.
Most people dread termite invasion in their homes. However, when they attack, they can damage your walls from nearly invisible to prominent depending on how fast you detect them. Signs of termites’ damage include crumbling baseboards, paint bubbling, hollow sound when you knock on the wall and small pinholes. Once you notice the insects, call your pest control company to get rid of them.
If the structural foundation is not affected, you can repair the drywall. You can either remove the baseboards and cut the damaged parts or replace the drywall with a new one and smoothen the surface with a joint compound. Allow it to dry, then sand and paint it. If you cannot do it yourself, then call a professional drywall contractor who can do it faster and perfectly.
If your door swings too hard when you open, it can cause a small hole in the drywall. To avoid this from reoccurring, buy an adhesive backing plate to fix on your wall. To fix the small holes, patch the drywall using a joint compound. Cover the hole with a drywall tape and press it on the compound. Then dry, sand, clean and paint.
Did you crash your wall with a wrecking ball or did you accidentally slip, causing a big hole in your drywall? Doesn’t matter how the hole got there; just be more careful to avoid such instances from happening again.
But how do you repair a large hole in the drywall? First, cut off the damaged area and insert a new drywall. Ensure there are no pipes or wires before cutting it out and do it with precision and care. Then use a joint compound to clean the edges and cover the hole with a drywall tape and press it on the compound. Then dry, sand, clean and paint.
Dented Corner Bead
The L-shaped metal strip covering the edges of the drywall after applying a joint compound is known as the corner bead. Regular wear and tear caused by a vacuum cleaner or moving items carelessly around the house can damage the corner bead causing dents.
Joint Tape Loosened
A joint tape is used when applying a thick layer of joint compound on your drywall. However, moisture can loosen the tape, which becomes noticeable. To fix this, cut the tape off and spread some joint compound on it. Then place a new joint tape and leave it to dry the whole night. The next day, sand it smooth, prime and paint to look as good as new.
If nails are not precisely set at the centre of the stud or joist, with time, the nail might pop out through the drywall. Don’t try to hammer it back since you can cause further damage and the nail could eventually surface again. Just remove the nail and locate where the stud is, then hammer it through a different spot to ensure it is securely fastened.
Why hire a drywall contractor
Depending on the cause of damage as explained above, you can make a wise decision. If you are a DIY enthusiast, do you have the time to repair? Will you do it perfectly? If you cannot do it, then hiring a drywall could be the best choice to ensure the job is done correctly and will last. Also, when you hire a contractor:
- The job will be done quickly because of experience in the field.
- He or she will prepare and cover the spot to minimise the mess and clean up later
- It will save time since they don’t have to shop for the required tools and materials.
- Professional quality work is guaranteed to last.
Costs for drywall contractors
The cost of labour is always the first thing that comes to our minds when we want to improve our homes. The cost of hiring a drywall contractor can range between $125 and $1,200 depending on your regional pricing variations and the extent of the damage.
Most people have embraced drywall since it is affordable and easy to install than plaster. However, it is not durable since it is prone to damage as we explained on the causes of damage to drywall. When it comes to repairing or replacing, many factors influence the total cost including the type and extent of damage, accessibility of the damaged area, and the complexity of the walls.
The table below contains materials and costs required to repair each type of damage. Also, it has enhancements and improvements that you may need plus additional costs you may incur if there are hard to reach areas that need a scaffold.
|Type of Damage||Spackle 5||Sheetrock 1||Screws/ Miscellaneous||Labor||Average Cost||Enhancement and improvement ||Costs||Additional costs||Estimated cost
|Nail holes||$5-$15/qt||N/A||N/A||$60||$75||Adhesive patches||$38||Hard to reach areas that need scafffolding||$0.53-$1.06 per sq.ft.
|Hairline Cracks||$5-$15/qt||N/A||$3-$13/joint tape||$75||$125||Primer||$15-$42 per gallon ||
|Cracked Joints 4||$5-$15/qt||N/A||$3-$13/joint tape||$90||$145||Paint||$10-$69 per gallon||
|Failed seams||$5-$15/qt||N/A||$3-$13/joint tape||$180||$220||
|Failed corners||$5-$15/qt||N/A||$3-$13/joint tape||$180||$220||
|Water Damage||$5-$15/qt||$9-$14/sheet||$3-$13/joint tape||$270||$345||
Tips for figuring out the cost of drywall
Regardless of the size of your home improvement project, you can easily determine the total estimated cost. Almost every room you work on or any repair or replacement job you complete, there is always this one or more essential material(s) that you need. Whether it is a DIY project, doing the project for a client or you just want to ensure the contractors you hire will bid at a fair price, then the following tips can help you in coming up with a close estimated cost.
Take the measurements carefully
You should have a calculator and a measuring tape to figure out the total cost of installation or repair. For example, drywall panels come in a rectangular shape, so you should know the number of panels required in every area. You can draw diagrams, measure and trace windows and doors to find the total number of the required square footage.
Understand the local building codes
Imagine you have completed repairing a popcorn ceiling only to realise you should have used a specific drywall. Most local governments apply building codes in regions that are susceptible to fire. This ensures that you are safe and it is important when you plan to rent or sell the house for it to pass inspection.
Price of the drywall
There are three common types of drywall including regular, fire-resistant and water-resistant in addition to various thicknesses. Therefore, you can take a trip to your local store to find out the type of drywall you should use and the price per panel. You can also ask for the cost of other materials you need such as tape, nails, sandpaper, joint compound and plaster for patching any holes, tarps, goggles and drop cloths.
Plan for the future
Before you commence your remodelling project, you should consider future impacts. For instance, if you want to build a bathroom in the basement, you can purchase the cheapest traditional drywall. But what if you dwell in an area prone to fire or moulds? You are better off spending the extra cash for the best drywall instead of doing it later. Always think about long-term effect when coming up with the estimated cost of drywall.
About materials and drywall types
What are the various types of joint tapes?
A drywall tape is used to join and reinforce two sheets of drywall to prevent them from becoming loose and developing cracks. But when you visit a hardware store to buy one, you will be spoilt for choice since there are different types. Which is the best one for you?
1. Paper Drywall Tape
Paper tape is a long strip of paper that comes in 75 feet or more. It is non-adhesive, so for it to stick it must be embedded into joint compound. Although it is easy to use it, if you do not cover the entire surface with the joint compound and squeeze out evenly, air bubbles might appear under the tape.
- Easy to use
- Widely available
- Also used for inner corners because it has a middle crease
- Can use hands to rip it off
- Hard for inexperienced drywallers to learn
- Difficult to use on corners
- Needs a first layer for the tape to stick
2. Thin Fiberglass Tape: Fiberglass + Paper
This type is thinner than paper tape, and it does not have threads like the classic mesh tape.
- Ideal for butt joints
- Easily sticks to the wall
- No loose threads
- Stronger than paper joint tape
- Must use scissors or knife to cut
3. Fiberglass Mesh Tape
Are you looking for a strong tape that you can hang from and hard to tear? Fiberglass mesh tap is your ideal choice. It is made from threads that are woven together to form a tape. It adheres well, so you don’t have to use a layer of joint compound. This accelerates the tapping process and ensures the tapes lies flat on the surface. Also, you can use it to tape all seams in a house before you apply the first coat of the compound.
Fibreglass tape can only be used with a “setting compound” but not the regular joint compound. The setting compound dries harder and is resistant to cracks.
- More elastic
- Protects against mould
- It is gummy
- Hard to use
- Must cut with scissors
- It is thick, so it leaves bumps
- Tends to shred into threads
4. Metal Tape
This type of joint tape is mostly used in corner bead sections because it is not designed for flat surfaces. It creases lengthwise then put on inner or outer corners.
- Easy to crease
- Ideal for inner and outer corners
- Stronger than paper drywall tape
- Must cut with scissors
- Expensive than paper drywall tape
Making the right decision
Are you working on a flat or tapered seam? A tapered seam is whereby two tapered edges meet to form a shallow “valley.” You can cover the valley with a drywall compound or the fibreglass mesh tape. For a flat seam also known as butted seams, you only need a paper mesh tape since the thick fibre mesh tape will stick too fast and look bumpy.
If you have joints that are subjected to stress, for instance, near doors, fibreglass tape is the best choice.
Use a metal tape or even a paper tape for inside corners because it is impossible to use the mesh tape on the corners.
Types of joint compound
Are you wondering what joint compound is best for your project? Well, there are five types you can choose from. The first four in our list are commonly known as drying-type compound while the fifth is a setting-type drywall compound. The drying type compound is premixed, ready to use and the remaining compound can be stored for later. Joint compound is used to cover and secure drywall tape, fill in joints and cover up screws and nail heads.
1. Taping compound
When using a joint compound to cover drywall tape and joints, you must apply three layers. The first two layers use the taping compound. It is used to cover up the joints at corners and between drywall sheets. After the first taping compound coat, you apply the tape. Then, you scrap out excess compound and allow it to dry. Apply the second layer to smooth out the tape.
2. Topping Compound
After applying the first two layers, you must apply a final layer. It is used to smooth out any remaining rough spots, and you can sand it. It is the final coat before applying wall texture and paint and ideal as a top coat for corner bead and seams. It hardly shrinks, easy to use and offers significant bond and slip. However, it is not designed for embedding tape to a joint or for use as a first coat.
3. All-Purpose Compound
Instead of using both topping and tapping compounds, you can use all-purpose compound as an alternative for the first three layers. It is used for texturing, embedding joint tape, skim coating and finishing gypsum joints. It has a low VOC content, easy to use and provides minimum sanding for a smoother surface. However, it is weaker than both topping and taping compounds, and it is prone to cracks.
4. LITE Drying Compounds
Also known as light-weight all-purpose drywall compound, it can be used for the first three coats and corner bead, but it is light in weight. It is also used as a finish layer since it is easy to sand. However, it has less glueing agents making it less ideal for taping seams.
5. Setting Compound
This type is mostly used by professionals to patch small holes in drywall. It is superior to other compounds because it dries harder and faster in about 20 minutes, resistant to shrink and cracks and bonds better. Also, you don’t have to wait for the first coat to dry to apply the second coat, and it is not premixed. However, it is hard to use, so not ideal for inexperienced drywallers.
Types of drywall
As we said earlier, traditional drywall is also referred to as Gib Board, wallboard Gyprock, Plasterboard or gypsum board. The interior is made of gypsum plaster, which is placed between two paper sheets. With the rise of innovations, traditional drywall has been altered to produce ceilings that are fire and moisture resistant, sound-proof and eco-friendly. Let’s look at each of them.
Moisture Resistant Drywall
Green board – It comes with a green covering treated with petroleum making it moisture resistant. It is expensive, but not waterproof, so if you know it will be in contact with water in areas such as kitchen, basement and bathroom walls and laundry room, use a tile backer.
Blue board – Also referred to as plaster baseboard, it is ideal for veneer plastering. It is highly resistant to mould and water. However, it is not ideal for paint, tape and mud, but it works well in areas that are exposed to moisture.
Cement Board –Mostly used in showers and kitchens, which have high water contact since it is rigid. Also, it is used as a base for ceramic tiles.
Foil Back – It has a vapour barrier that prevents moisture in a room from moving to ceiling and external walls.
Paperless –It is sandwiched between fibreglass rather than paper for a moisture and mould resistant drywall material and protection from rot. It is mostly used in high humidity areas. It is stronger than regular drywall and easy to cut. However, it has a slight texture, which requires a joint compound for a smooth finish.
Fire resistant drywall
Type X – It is made of non-combustible fibres, and it is 5/8” thick, which also improves its soundproofing characteristics. It is hard to cut and usually used in garages and apartments since it is a requirement by most building codes. To achieve the “Type X” fire code, the 5/8” gypsum must resist fire for more than one hour while the 1/2” for at least 3/4-hour when applied on a single layer.
Type C – Just like Type X, Type C comes in both 1/2″ and 5/8″ thick. It has a fire rating of 2 to 4-hours depending on drywall thickness and studs. It also uses more glass fibre than in Type X, and the gypsum core has shrinkage-compensating vermiculite additive.
Eco-friendly drywall material
EnviroBoard – It is made of compressed fibre panels that are eco-friendly such as waste from newspaper or agriculture that results in paper-coated solid panels that look like concrete.
EcoRock – Usually made from almost twenty recyclable industrial byproducts such as fly ash, kiln dust, slag and much more. The byproducts are then mixed with water and fillers to bind them all into a paste. Only 20% or less energy is used to produce EcoRock, which is resistant to termites and moulds.
Soundproof drywall is made through a process known as constrained-layer damping. It involves mixing gypsum with other materials including glue, ceramic, plastic polymer, wood fibres, or metal to increase sound transmission class (STC) and to reduce vibration. This type is denser and stiffer than regular drywall, so it is hard to cut, unlike other types. It can be used in music rooms or family house walls in areas with a lot of noise.
Questions to ask your drywall contractor
Making changes to your house can be an uphill task when you have to worry about dodgy contractors who only use your money and provide low-quality services. However, a few questions before you sign the contract can save you big time. But do you know what to ask the contractor if you have never dealt with one before? The following simple questions will help you in your pursuit for the best drywall contractor.
1. What is your company’s name and address?
A legal business is a proof that a company exists. However, don’t rush to sign the contract, do research on the company to check testimonials and reviews from clients. Also, the contractor should offer their physical address and don’t just settle for a PO Box, email address or phone number. Know the exact location of their office, showroom or warehouse. You can visit to see the status of the company. For instance, if a warehouse is packed with substandard building materials, then you will know the contractor will use the same materials.
2. How many ongoing projects do you have?
A drywall contractor with current projects is most probably trustworthy and reliable. However, you should explain how big your project is to know how committed they will be to your job. You should see how the contractor manages the ongoing projects and if he or she is good enough to handle more projects.
But what if the contractor doesn’t have an ongoing project? Will you break the deal? No. Check why they don’t have one at that moment.
3. Can you provide me with a list of your trusted suppliers?
During the project, you work indirectly with suppliers since they supply the required materials to the contractor. However, if your drywall contractors work with bad suppliers, issues may arise during and after the job. For that reason, ask for the list of suppliers to research on them. The suppliers should be trustworthy with a track record of delivering high-quality products. Also, your contractor should be in a good work relationship to prevent problems that can affect your project and for trouble-free transactions.
4. Are you in any trade associations?
Most contractors are engaged in trade associations to improve their level of expertise. They learn about the latest trends in the industry and from successful members. You can ask the names of the associations and check them up. For instance, you can ask if they are in the “Big Three” remodelling trade associations including the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Association of Home Builders – Remodelers, and National Kitchen and Bath Association.
5. What will happen if the job details changes?
Change is inevitable! Sometimes what you may have agreed upon with a contractor concerning the project details may change. For instance, as the client, you may want to do things differently, or the contractor may feel something different should be done to improve the outcome. Therefore, both of you should know how to handle such situations. Don’t wait until it is too late to work things out. Do it before the contractor starts the project.
6. Are you ensured?
While the contractor’s employees are working on your project, accidents or damage may happen to your property. But would you want to be held accountable? Of course no! Therefore, before you hire a contractor, ask for copies of liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Also, if the contractors have hired subcontractors, they should be insured.
7. How much will the project cost?
You cannot employ a drywall contractor before you get an estimate of the project’s cost. Ask for a quote or an estimate to know if the contractor can work within your budget. A quote cannot be 100% accurate, but close. If he/she gives you a specific quote, it shows the contractor’s level of expertise.
8. Do you offer a warranty for your job?
A company that guarantees their work is reliable, trustworthy and confident with their employees. This means that the team will do a perfect job and if they don’t the company will be liable until you are fully satisfied.
However, knowing that a contractor offers a warranty is not enough. You should ask for specifics (what the warranty covers including labour and materials) and ensure that you understand them. Some contractors only offer one year warranty, but you should aim for more years. A confident contractor will have no issues agreeing to that if he/she values long-term relationships with clients.
9. Why should I choose you?
When you have a number of contractors to choose from, then it is a wise decision to know their selling proposition. This question allows you to know the qualities that make them stand out from others. Don’t make a decision based on answers such as we are the best/professional. The contractor should give specific answers. For instance, a contractor can say he has been in the industry for 30 years, he has received service awards, or he works with reliable suppliers and lists them down.
10. How shall we communicate?
With the available modes of communication available, you know how you would like a contractor to contact you. On the other hand, the contractor too has his/her preferred method(s) of communication, e.g. phone calls, emails or cloud-based schedules. Both of you should settle on a method of contacting and receiving information. Also, planning for a meeting maybe once per week is an effective way to communicate with the contractor to ensure the project is flowing smoothly.