How to Fit Plasterboard

Learn the ins and outs of how to plasterboard a new stud wall
by Build It
2nd January 2013

Stud walls need to be finished in some way. Plasterboard is a popular choice, thanks to its speed and relatively straightforward installation.

One of the key things to remember when tackling this job is to hang your plasterboard horizontally rather than vertically. Because of the way the boards are manufactured, they have a ‘grain’ along their length, which means that the best strength is achieved when they’re secured perpendicular to the studwork.

You should also stagger the boards so that, where possible, your seams don’t end up on the same stud. This will reduce the risk of cracks developing after you’ve applied your skim plaster finish.

A standard 2,400 x 1,200 x 9.5mm plasterboard sheet costs around £5, with discounts available on bulk buys. Specialist waterproof, acoustic, insulating and fire-resisting boards are also available.

Plasterboard project guide

You will need

  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Stanley knife
  • Drill driver or screwgun
  • Spirit level
  • Drywall screws
  • Surform
  • Handsaw

Step 1 positioning the boardsStep 1:

As a rule, each board should be positioned so that its edges are the centre of the uprights and noggins. However, at door openings and adjoining walls the plasterboard must fit tight up to the edges

Step 2 measure and cut plasterboardStep 2:

Start from the door opening and work towards the furthest wall. When measuring for a cut board, do so from the edge of a stud to the centre of the noggin. With the board flat, use your tape measure as a rule to mark up

Step 3 score the plasterboardStep 3:

Take your spirit level or straight edge and place it on the marks. Score a line along the intended cut using your stanley knife, then stand the board up and give it a tap on the back to start the split

Step 4 get a clean edge on plasterboardStep 4:

Fold the split edge back on itself, then cut down the remaining paper with your knife. You should end up with a nice clean edge. If your cut is slightly overlength, use a plaster rasp to trim the board to size

Step 5 screw the plasterboardStep 5:

Offer the board up to the studwork, ensure it’s in the correct position. Drive a couple of screws into the edges of the board where you can see a noggin or upright – but only enough to hold the board in place

StepStep 6:

Take your spirit level or straight edge and mark lines down and across your board at the centre of the studs and noggins. This will help you to secure the plasterboard without missing the timber behind

Step 7 screw plasterboard at regular intervalsStep 7:

Place screws at about 100-200mm gaps along the lines you drew in step 6. Drive them in just enough so they break the surface of the paper. Don’t go too far, as this will crush the plaster and prevent a secure fix

Step 8 cut end boards to lengthStep 8:

Your end boards are likely to need cutting to length. Measure from the furthest edge to the centre of the noggin to ensure a tight fit, then mark up, score and split the board as described in steps 2–3

Step 9 keep factory edges of plasterboard togetherStep 9:

Fit the remaining boards as described in steps 5–7. When placing end boards, try to keep the factory edges together – this will minimise any need for filling in the next stage of the project

Step 10 Cut plasterboard in situStep 10:

If a board extends into an opening, it’s best to cut it in situ. Use the studwork as a guide to make the horizontal saw cut, before scoring and splitting the board vertically. Finish edges with a surform

This step by step guide is supplied courtesy of TradesSupermarket

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