Drywall (Gypsum Board) Interior Application

Limitations of the Material in this Section

The IRC Section and the Gypsum Association publication GA-216-04 present the methods for applying different thicknesses of drywall (gypsum board) to interior supports such as wood framing, metal framing, and masonry. The material in this section presents the more common methods of attaching drywall to wood framing. Refer to the IRC and GA-216-04 for more information about drywall application requirements. All material in this section refers to ½ inch thick drywall unless otherwise indicated.

Drywall Application General Requirements

1. Apply drywall to wood framing that is at least () 2 inches nominal thickness. Example: a 2×4 is actually about 1 ½ inches thick with a 2 inches nominal thickness. You may use nominal 1×2 inch furring strips installed over solid backing (such as masonry) or installed on framing spaced at not more than () 24 inches on center.

2. Attach nails or screws between at least () inch and not more than () ½ inch from the edges of drywall.

3. Use Type W or S screws to attach drywall to wood framing. Use screws that penetrate the wood at least () inch.

4. Do not useinch thick drywall on a ceiling if a water-based textured finish will be applied or if the drywall will support insulation.

5. Use at least () ½ inch thick or greater drywall applied perpendicular to the framing on ceilings spaced not more than () 16 inches on center if the drywall will receive a water-based textured coating.

6. Use at least () inch thick or greater or ½ inch thick sag-resistant drywall applied perpendicular to the framing on ceilings spaced not more than () 24 inches on center if the drywall will receive a water-based textured coating.

Drywall Floating Interior Angles

1. Omit ceiling and wall fasteners where ceilings and walls meet in perpendicular (90 degree angle) corners. Do not omit ceiling fasteners when using Type X drywall in a fire-resistant ceiling application.

2. Omit the corner fasteners on the interior piece of drywall when walls meet in perpendicular (90 degree angle) corners.

3. Install blocking as necessary so that ceiling and wall fasteners are within the recommended spacing distance of the corner.

Drywall Adhesive Application to Wood Framing

1. Apply at least () a inch diameter bead of adhesive to studs and joists, if using adhesive. Do not apply adhesive to top and bottom plates.

2. Apply two beads of adhesive at least () inch diameter near the edges of studs and joists where a drywall joint occurs, if using adhesive.

Drywall Application to Ceilings with Sixteen Inches on Center Framing

1. Not using adhesive. You may install: (a) one nail not more than () 7 inches on center, or (b) one screw not more than () 12 inches on center, or (c) two nails between 2 inches and 2 ½ inches apart with each two nail pair spaced not more than () 12 inches on center.

2. Using adhesive. You may install nails or screws not more than () 16 inches on center.

3. Apply drywall either perpendicular (long dimension horizontal) or parallel (long dimension vertical) to framing.

4. Use at least () 0.086 inch diameter, 1 inches long, ₃₂ inch head gypsum board nails or other approved fasteners.

Drywall Application to Ceilings with Twenty-four Inches on Center Framing

1. Not using adhesive. You may install: (a) one nail not more than () 7 inches on center, or (b) one screw not more than () 12 inches on center, or (c) two nails at least () 2 inches and not more than () 2 ½ inches apart with each two nail pair spaced not more than () 12 inches on center.

2. Use at least () inch drywall applied perpendicular to the framing in a garage with habitable space above. Use at least () 1 inches, 6d coated nails or approved drywall screws spaced not more than () 6 inches on center.

3. Using adhesive. You may install nails or screws not more than () 16 inches on center.

4. Apply drywall perpendicular to framing (long dimension across framing members).

5. Use at least () inch drywall if ceiling will receive a water-based textured finish.

6. Use at least () 0.086 inches diameter, 1 inches long, ₃₂ inch head gypsum board nails or other approved fasteners.

Drywall Application to Walls with Sixteen Inches on Center Framing

1. Not using adhesive. You may install: (a) one nail not more than () 8 inches on center, or (b) one screw not more than () 16 inches on center, or (c) two nails spaced at least () 2 inches and not more than () 2 ½ inches apart with each two nail pair spaced not more than () 12 inches on center.

2. Using adhesive. You may install: (a) nails not more than () 16 inches on center, or (b) screws not more than () 24 inches on center.

3. Apply drywall either perpendicular (long dimension horizontal) or parallel (long dimension vertical) to framing.

4. Use at least () 0.086 inch diameter, 1 inches long, inch head gypsum board nails or other approved fasteners.

Drywall Application to Walls with Twenty-four Inches on Center Framing

1. Not using adhesive. You may install: (a) one nail not more than () 8 inches on center, or (b) one screw not more than () 12 inches on center, or (c) two nails spaced at least () 2 inches and not more than () 2 ½ inches apart with each two nail pair spaced not more than () 12 inches on center.

2. Using adhesive. You may install: (a) nails not more than () 16 inches on center, or (b) screws not more than () 24 inches on center.

3. Apply drywall either perpendicular (long dimension horizontal) or parallel (long dimension vertical) to framing.

4. Use at least () 0.086 inch diameter, 1 inches long, ₃₂ inch head gypsum board nails or other approved fasteners.

Drywall Application to Ceilings with Twenty-four Inches on Center Framing Using Inch Drywall

1. Not using adhesive. You may install: (a) one nail not more than () 7 inches on center, or (b) one screw not more than () 12 inches on center, or (c) two nails spaced at least () 2 inches and not more than () 2 ½ inches apart with each two nail pair spaced not more than () 12 inches on center.

2. Using adhesive. You may install: (a) nails not more than () 12 inches on center, or (b) screws not more than () 16 inches on center.

3. Apply drywall perpendicular to framing (long dimension across framing members).

4. Use at least () 0.086 inch diameter, 1 inches long, ₃₂ inch head gypsum board nails or other approved fasteners.

5. Use at least () 1 inches, 6d coated nails or equivalent drywall screws not more than () 6 inches on center when applying Type X drywall in a garage ceiling under habitable rooms and when not using adhesive

Drywall Around Tubs and Showers

1. Do not use any type of drywall, including water-resistive drywall (sometimes called green board), on walls around showers and tubs with showers that will receive tile, cultured marble, or plastic finished wall panels.

2. Use approved cement based tile backer board, or glass mat gypsum backer, or traditional mortar and lath as the backing on walls around showers and tubs with showers.

3. You may use water-resistive drywall on tub and shower ceilings if: (a) framing is not more than () 12 inches on center when using ½ inch drywall, or if (b) framing is not more than () 16 inches on center when using inch drywall.

4. Do not install water-resistive drywall over a vapor retarder in a shower or tub compartment.

5. Do not install water-resistive drywall where it will be directly exposed to water or where it will be exposed to continuous high humidity (such as in a steam room).

6. Seal all drywall cuts as recommended by the drywall manufacturer. This includes cuts at ceiling and wall intersections.

Drywall Application Discussion

Many drywall finish problems, such as nail pops and cracks in corners, are the normal result of drying and settling of framing lumber. Some drywall problems are caused by improper application and finishing of the drywall. Proper application and finishing of drywall can reduce some, but not all, of the drywall problems in new construction.

Drywall Application Best Practice

Use drywall adhesive and screws when installing drywall on all ceilings. Consider using drywall adhesive and screws when installing drywall on walls. Drywall installed with adhesive and screws is much less likely to show fastener pops and cracks than drywall installed only with nails.