How to Install Drywall on a Basement Ceiling

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What You'll Need
3/4 inch drywall sheets
Utility knife
Tape measure
Sheetrock hammer
Drywall mud
Drywall tape
Drywall trowel
Drywall saw
Power drill
Sheetrock screws

Installing basement drywall ceilings is the most cost effective and easiest way to conceal the floor joists and beams to fully finish the room. Hanging drywall takes some precise measuring, cutting, and enough strength to hold full 4x8-foot sheets of drywall over your head and screw them in place. It's good to have a helper for things like that. Depending on the size of the room, it shouldn’t take you more than a day or two to complete the project.

Step 1 - Determine the Area

Before you begin, measure the dimensions of the room to be fitted with drywall. Determine how many full sheets you will be able to hang first, followed by how many pieces you will have to cut to fit either around fixtures or in angled and oddly shaped areas.

Step 2 - Hang Full Sheets

Hang full sheets of drywall without making any cuts wherever you can do so first. Start in a corner and determine the best way to face the length of the full sheet. Mark the position of the joists on the sheet. Do-it-yourselfers skilled at hanging sheetrock can do this alone, but it might help to have a partner.

Hold the full sheet above your head and fit it into position. It should be snug against the walls. If you're wearing a tool belt with your power drill, hold the sheet in place with one hand and the drill in the other. Stick the magnetic bit into the pouch filled with sheetrock screws until one fits onto the bit. Drill it into the joist. Still holding the sheet with one hand, move to an opposite corner and drill in another screw. Once you have 3 or 4 screws drilled towards all four corners, you can bring your hand down and comfortably insert the other screws to secure it fully.

Step 3 - Make Cuts

For areas of the ceiling that require smaller pieces of sheetrock, measure the dimensions and mark them on a piece of drywall. For square or rectangular pieces, you can use the outstretched tape measure for a straight edge to draw the line. If you need to make angled cuts, mark each end point and use a proper straight edge to draw the line. Your drywall saw is the best tool to make the cuts.

Step 4 - Hang Cut Pieces

Hang the smaller cut pieces in the same way as the full sheets. They will weigh less and may only require 1 or 2 screws before you can bring your arm down and insert the remaining screws.

Step 5 - Cuts for Fixtures

If there are light fixtures or other obstacles, you’ll have to make cuts for them as well. Measure the position of the fixture and mark it on the piece that will get cut.

Step 6 - Mud and Tape

When the entire ceiling is hung, make sure there are enough screws supporting every piece, full or otherwise. Now you’ll go over and cover all seams with drywall tape and mud. Use the drywall trowel after the mud is mixed up. Cover every screw and the indentation it left with mud. The final result should be a completely smooth ceiling ready for primer.

Installing drywall for a basement ceiling can be done over a weekend, depending on how large of a job it is. With the right tools, it's not extremely complex, although holding up the sheets of drywall above your head can be awkward.