Step 1: Measure and cut drywall for the ceiling

taking measurements before hanging drywall
Photos by: David Carmack
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To determine where the first panel's end will land, measure out from a corner, perpendicular to the strapping, or the joists.

If the panel doesn't span the entire ceiling, its end must land on the center of a strapping piece or joist. If it doesn't, measure to the center of the farthest support piece the panel will overlap. Transfer that measurement to the edge of the first panel and mark it.

Hook a T-square on the panel and place it alongside the mark. Score through the paper on the front with a utility knife, using the T-square as a guide. Stand the panel on edge and snap the waste part of it away from the score line. Cut through the paper backing to remove the waste.

To help locate where screws will go around the room, mark the top plate at all locations where strapping or joists intersect the wall.

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    Tools List

    • drill
      Drill (for driving screws
    • t-square
      T-square,
      for guiding utility-knife cuts
    • circle cutter
      Circle cutter,
      for scoring paper to fit around circular ceiling boxes and recessed lights
    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw,
      for cutting and trimming panels before installation
    • drywall lifter
      Drywall lifter,
      for raising lowest sheet on wall
    • metal cutting snips
      Metal-cutting snips,
      for cutting corner bead
    • ladder
      Step ladders and staging planks,
      to stand on when installing ceiling panels
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for cutting panels and smoothing ends
    • rotary cut-out tool
      Rotary cut-out tool,
      for cutting around electrical boxes and windows and doors
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape

    Shopping List

    1. DRYWALL

    2. 1 1/4-INCH COARSE-THREAD DRYWALL SCREWS

    3. CONER BEAD

    for finishing outside corners



    4. 1 1/2-INCH DRYWALL NAILS

    for installing corner bead