Bending Drywall Basics
Learning how to bend drywall is a useful skill to have when framing a house. This task requires patience and care so you do not damage the board while bending. With practice, you will be able to frame archways, curved walls, soffits, and other areas.
The important thing to remember when bending drywall is to slowly bring the ends together and not force the form. Here are some steps that will help you achieve the curve form you need for your home improvement project.
Step 1 - Determine Frame Radius
The first step prior to shaping the gypsum board is determining the radius needed for the bend. The Gypsum Association provides guidance on the radius yields for drywall, based on thickness, which is as follows: 5/8-inch drywall board for a 15-foot radius, 1/2-inch drywall board for a 10-foot radius, 3/8-inch drywall board for a seven-foot radius, and 1/4-inch drywall board for a five-foot radius.
Measure the area where the curvature is going to be set using a tape measure to determine the bend radius.
Step 2 - Choose Drywall
Once you have determined the radius, select the drywall with the thickness that matches. A larger radius requires a thicker drywall board, as detailed above. Choosing the thickness that corresponds to the curve will make bending the drywall easier for you.
Step 3 - Get the Drywall Wet
The best method to form the drywall into a curve is to get the paper wet on both sides of the board. Dip a paint roller into water and use it to moisten the drywall. It should not take a lot of water before you notice that the board is pliable and you are able to manipulate it.
Step 4 - Create Curve Radius
Take the slightly wet drywall and begin to slowly form it into the desired curve radius. If you have a form to use that is in the shape of the curve, place the drywall over it and pull the ends inward. As you pull on the drywall board to create a form, do not apply a lot of pressure. This will cause the gypsum to crack and the drywall board will simply snap into separate pieces.
Once you achieve the curve, allow the board to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight, before putting it into place. You will find that once the drywall board dries, it will hold its new form.
You may also try lightly scoring the drywall with a utility knife, roughly one to 1-1/2 inches apart. Slightly break the paper when scoring and this will work in helping achieve a bend in the drywall board.