Tag Archives: wall board

Wall board wrap-up

In the last post I mentioned that we’ve kept fine-tuning along the way. We’ve also gotten savvier with some of the processes. One of those processes is making cut-outs for the electrical boxes that are lurking behind the drywall.

A couple of years ago I used what I called “the carbon paper trick”. It worked really well, but that required me to lift and place each drywall sheet a couple of times.

I don’t remember who it was, but someone encouraged me to use a rotozip instead. It is a tool similar to a router, but used to cut openings into drywall.


Before I placed the drywall, I measured and marked the center of each electrical box the sheet, which I then tagged to the wall with a few screws. The rotozip bit is tooled so that I can plunge it through the drywall at my center marks. I then started cutting to one side until I hit the mud-ring of the electrical box. At this point, I had to carefully lift the bit over the mud-ring and then use it as a cutting guide for the opening. And like with a regular router, the movement always has to be clockwise, otherwise what should be a snug opening around the electrical box would give way to elaborate artwork.

Hanging drywall is an art unto itself. And because I already finished the sound insulation at the ERV closet, I am now at a point where I can put the final patina on this art project.

My friend Leon likes when the camera follows me through the building, so I will play the drywall installation time lapse from the very beginning.

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Drywall data dabbling

It is a good idea to get the difficult tasks out of the way first, and then move on to an easier job.

In this most recent case, the difficult task was the drywall installation in the staircase. And those who read that blog post may have noticed that I was lugging sheets around that weigh 86 pounds.

Why didn’t I use light weight drywall?

The primary reason is fire resistance.

The drywall we used was fire rated Type X 5/8 inch drywall. It has an advertised fire rating of 1 hour, compared to standard drywall, which has an advertised fire rating of 30 minutes. That said, a publication by the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry puts the failure time for regular 5/8 inch drywall at 10 to 15 minutes when exposed to 1850F, whereas a 5/8 inch Type X panel would fail after 45 minutes under the same conditions.

Type X drywall has a denser gypsum core and is reinforced with glass fibers, thus the heavy weight. When exposed to fire, the water bonded in the gypsum core is released in the form of steam, a process called calcination. This phase change absorbs the thermal energy from the fire and thus delays the thermal energy transmission from the flames beyond the drywall.

Source: Gypsum Association – Using Gypsum Board for Walls and Ceilings Section I

With the release of the water, the drywall begins to shrink and would start to crumble if it weren’t for the glass fiber reinforcement. The glass fibers buy some extra time before the panel will fail.

Building codes require the use of Type X drywalls for certain applications, but not others. But building codes are not a high bar. They just define the minimum standard a building must meet without being illegal or unsafe. Rather than saving a few bucks and handling lightweight drywall, we thought of Type X drywall throughout the building as cheap insurance.

That isn’t enough to convince you? Well, here is another reason: Because Type X drywall is denser than regular drywall, it has a higher mass which provides better sound absorption. In short, it has some cool features that I wanted to quietly mention.

Even though I was still lugging around 86 pound drywall sheets, the job got a lot easier once I moved from the staircase to the remaining rooms on the 2nd floor.

And this is a perfect point to stop the time lapse. Before I keep going with the drywall installation, we will pause for a minute to talk about another magic material that provides fire protection, sound proofing, and thermal insulation. Stay tuned.

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Drywall staircase

Insulating the staircase was fairly effortless because the rock wool doesn’t weigh much.

That can’t be said for the fire rated 5/8 inch drywall. Lifting and lugging an 86 pound, four by ten foot sheet quickly turns into a workout. Plus navigating the various elevation changes in the narrow staircase requires a real balancing act.

But I was lucky. I had Rubani’s muscle and mind power that helped me to maneuver the sheets into place. And while Rubani made sure they were straight and stationary, I could focus on keeping my fingers out of the way, maintaining my balance, and fastening the sheets to the framing.

The tool that we couldn’t do without was our multi-positioning ladder, which we put up on the stairs along with a scaffolding board. What also helped was avoiding looking down…

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2nd floor ceiling drywall

Let’s switch gears from bathroom topics to drywall.

A while back, we completed the last framing tasks on the 2nd floor unit. That was followed by the installation of the various utilities such as the DWV system, the 2nd floor plumbing, including the on demand hot water pump, the ventilation system, and most recently the electrical metallic tubing (EMT) installation.

In short, we were ready to put up drywall, starting with the ceiling.

What was different this time round, if compared to the basement and 1st floor unit, was that we didn’t have to deal with sound management issues. Because there is no other apartment above the 2nd floor, and the ceiling joists of the 2nd floor are independent from the roof joists, there was no need to address impact transmission controls, i.e. furring strips and sound clips.

What has remained the same is my appreciation for a drywall lift. I used it the first time in the basement unit, and again on the 1st floor. This bulky gadget makes a ceiling installation feel like a cake walk!

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Taping and mudding break

I somewhat recovered from the radiator pressure test ordeal.

With the assurance that I have no leaks in the radiator plumbing, the taping and mudding of the drywall moved to the top of the to-do list.

I don’t mind hanging the drywall – it’s a fun task. But taping and mudding? I just can’t get excited about it. So we decided to farm out this task.

That gave me a moment to review the ever evolving task list. We have a big ticket item approaching – the bathroom.
We need to make final decisions on the exact layout.

  • The built-in medicine cabinet needs to be prepared.
  • I have to put up the cement board up in preparation for the tiling.
  • The water proofing materials have to be ordered and installed.
  • And last but not least, we need to tile the floor …
  • and the the walls.

Lots of decisions! We will be busy for a while.