Horizontal vs. Vertical
Before undertaking any kind of drywall job, it’s important to take a step back to consider which direction the drywall should be hung – vertically or horizontally? Doing so can make a big difference in the quality and appearance of the job at hand. The first question to ask yourself is if the job is residential or commercial.
For commercial projects, fire-rated designs often require drywall seams to span the length of the framing. In these cases, the drywall should be hung vertically. If the plans don’t specify drywall orientation, always refer to local building codes before beginning the project.
When installing drywall in homes, it really depends on the room. Hang the drywall vertically in rooms with high ceilings like foyers and open two-story living areas. But for the majority of rooms, including bathrooms, hallways, and areas where the walls are shorter than nine feet, hanging drywall horizontally is your best bet.
What are the benefits of hanging drywall horizontally?
- Less seams– Horizontal drywall horizontally produces 25% less linear footage of seams, so there’s fewer joints that need finishing.
- Less up and down– Hanging drywall vertically requires a two-person team, one with stilts (or on a scaffold) and the other on the ground. But finishers never work as a team, which means they will be making a whole lot of trips up and down a ladder.
- Less problems with bowed studs– If a drywall seam lands on a stud that is bowed out, which is a much more common scenario when installing vertically, that long seam will be magnified and bulge out because of the bump in the wall.
- Less cutting– There will always be less cutting if the panels are installed parallel to the longest surface of the wall. Also, manufacturers like CertainTeed Gypsum offer drywall in lengths up to 16 feet and 54 inches wide, which means that the walls in most rooms can be finished with just two rows.
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