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goodman 03-09-2005 12:21 PM

drywall on stairs
My husband and I are getting ready to drywall the wall up the stairs. We have no idea how to measure and cut for the stairs. Is there a easy way to do this. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

MinConst 03-09-2005 06:18 PM

If th top of the wall is straight. You can take two measurements. One at each end of 4' Be shure you find the studs first. You want a stud to screw the edges to. Make your two marks and cut along that line.

goodman 03-09-2005 08:30 PM

I must be pretty dense..I dont understand what your saying. Thanks for the response tho. The top of the wall is not straight. We have done alot of dry walling but never did a stairs before. We are stumped. Best thing about drywall is can patch your mistakes..Thanks again

MinConst 03-09-2005 09:06 PM

Try this. You will need a good square or be able to draw a right angle by geometry. Look this image over and you will will be able to figure the cuts. Take the measurments that are the ?" and transfer them to the sheet of rock.
Ask if your confused. Good luck.


Bedros D 03-13-2005 04:16 PM

You have to measure the shortes point and the longest point. Lay the drywall against what you are measuring for. Use a caulck line and cut diagonally like the way its supposed to fit. Very hard to explain witout a picture. The picture and the descriptions above look pretty good to start.

Bedros Demir

pipeguy 03-13-2005 06:46 PM

Hey Paul, what app did you use to do that sketch?

goodman 03-13-2005 06:57 PM

I might have not made myself clear...we have to cut out for the steps.and they are not consistent. It is a half wall behind the fire place going to the loft. _

MinConst 03-13-2005 08:26 PM


Originally Posted by goodman
I might have not made myself clear...we have to cut out for the steps.and they are not consistent. It is a half wall behind the fire place going to the loft. _

I guess I can't picture the area. Could you take a picture of it and post it?

I used Xara for the sketch. It isn't CAD but I use it allot.

Teetorbilt 03-13-2005 08:48 PM

Are you hanging the board vertically or horizontally? If horizontal, are the wall seams staggered or butted?

housedocs 03-14-2005 10:05 PM

A few things about stairwells and hanging drywall. It's better to hang a rip at the top of the wall so you don't break a seam right on the level of the first floor. Best thing to do is go to the lower floor or landing and measure up to the ceiling and then figure your rip and put it at the top, with the cut edge to the ceiling. We usually go with a 24" rip, cut straight or sometimes you don't if the place isn't square, old houses are famous for that, some tract builders are too.:(

Second thing I highly recommend you use plenty of glue and minimal fasteners. Use the glue in the gal. tubes and run a 1/2" wide bead of glue down each stud just before hanging the sheet. We use one screw in the recess on each stud (or about 1-1/2" off a rip) and one screw in the center of the field per stud. If you're hanging 54" board use 2 screws evenly spaced in the field.

Last thing, don't land the butt joints on a stud, instead break the joint between the studs and install a backerboard, (we use 1/2" or 5/8" osb, rip a full sheet into 4' x 4" strips.) Once the sheet is screwed off on the studs, take a backer and hold it in place on the butt with half of the piece exposed, and about 2" extending up behind the course above. Screw thru the sheet into the backer every 6" and place one in the recess of the sheet above.

Before hanging the sheet, score a line down the face of the sheet 1/4" from the end, then use a sharp utility knife and cut the face back at a 45 degree angle towards the end of the sheet. We do all of our butt joints this way and you can get a flatter smoother seam which requires less mud and feathering to level out.

There's also a tool on the market that creates a recessed end on the butt joint. You mist down the butt edge and and run this roller down it to recess the end. Runs a like 3 bills I believe and I heard lots of guys swear by it on pro drywall boards like wconline. I've just got used to cutting the ends at 45's and using the backers and it works good for me.

My last boss taught me this, they do drywall in the hundreds of thousands of s/f a yr & says following this procedure in stairwells & for butt joints, according to him this cuts callbacks by 30%. I've done all my jobs this way since going into business for myself about 5 yrs now and have yet to have a call back for a crack in a stairwell, trust me it works.

As to cutting down for the stairs, I've run into this before. It's alot easier if the treads don't run all the way to the wall framing. Your better framers will leave room for the board between the stair runners. But I've remodeled alot of old houses where it's either tear out the treads or else individually cut out for each one. Real PIA & time consuming, but it's just a matter of careful measurements and taking your time. I suggest you draw it out on your board before you cut & be prepared to cut at least on sheet wrong the first time you try this.

Anyway take your drywall square & put it up against the bottom of the upper sheet already hung. Slide it back until it the bottom of the square just touches the stair framing. This is where your butt will fall. Make a pencil mark on the drywall and the stairway where this 4' point is at.

Now go back to the head of the stairs and measure the distance from the bottom of the upper course of drywall down tothe floor, deduct 1/2" from this measurement. Drywall should always clear the subfloor by 1/2" minimum

Now measure from the last butt joint in the to the edge of the riser, where it drops down to the first tread. Go back to your last butt joint and measure that same distance that you just measured from the last butt along the upper course and place a mark there.

Then you measure down from that point on the upper course to the tread, again deduct the 1/2" from the measurement. Next measure the width of the tread and add 1/4". Measure up from the second tread to the bottom of the upper course, deduct your 1/2" as before. Continue on this way until the stairs fall below the 4' level and run your full sheet on out to the corner.

Then you start all over following the same procedure with the next course down the stairs. Lots of measuring and cutting involved if you have to hang it this way in residential. I think MinConst's diagram explains the same thing but with the sheets stood up instead of hung horizontal. Like I said it's a whole lot easier to hang a stairwell if there's room to get the board between the treads and the wall studs. Then you can just find your 4' mark and the short end, snap a line between the two points and cut the sheet on the angle. Sometimes though you just got to work with what you've got. Anyway hope that helps a bit.

ITE 03-19-2005 10:51 PM

what advantage does using the backerboard on the butt joints instead of endig them on a stud create? It seems like this would give them more of a chance to flex and in turn crack? maybe I dont understand what you are saying. could you please clear this up for me? Im rater curious.


housedocs 03-20-2005 10:45 AM

Once it's all screwed together and taped and mudded & primered, you won't know where the joints are unless you hung it even going down the wall and pressing you won't find it. I've learned that if you extend the backer into the field of the sheet in the adjoining course of rock it does help stiffen the joint up, but once it's mudded both ways are equal in strength. That doesn't mean your teenagers can play dodgeball in the den, you bounce a ball or a body off drywall & it's going to leave a mark.

There's a couple of reasons for doing this, first off even if you only use 3" wide backer, you've got 1-1/2" on which to fasten each butt end, as opposed to having only an inch & a half to fasten both ends to. Also if you hang much board, whether it's on new construction or old, you're going to run into wood studs that aren't exactly true, straight and plumb. I've seen plenty of times where the board will hit right in middle of the stud on one side of the sheet and just barely catching the stud on the other.

Like I said it'll also give you a flatter smoother joint that's less likely to buckle, since by doing this you have the room to leave a slight gap between the sheets instead of having to butt them tight together. Also helps alleviate problems you run into with wood shrinkage.

That's the abbreviated version, there will be more to come on this same station, so stay tuned! ;)

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