Modern construction here in the United States uses <strong>drywall</strong> otherwise known as gypsum board as its primary choice for interior finishes. There are many advantages to drywall, namely the facts that it is non-combustible, easy to install and also repair, and best of all economical.
There are several types of drywall available today. They include fire rated, mold and moisture resistant and even sound deadening products. Most common applications use what is referred to as standard board. You will find that most products in the retail market will have tapered edges for ease of joint finish.
Drywall is commonly available in 4 foot width with length ranging from 8 foot to 16 foot in even foot increments. A popular relatively new drywall product commonly referred to as stretch drywall as it is a wider 54 inch width so 2 sheets fit a 9 foot wall without trimming.
Another recent change in the drywall industry is the availability of lightweight drywall. I have seen this becoming the product of choice in our market for the simple fact that lighter makes it easier to handle.
Fire rated or Type-X drywall is typically available in 5/8 inch thickness and is commonly used wherever a fire rating surface is required. This is most commonly ceiling areas, areas around or containing combustibles like furnace rooms or garage separation walls.
Mold resistant drywall has become the new standard in high moisture areas and has replaced the old product referred to as moisture resistant drywall. Mold resistant drywall is commonly used in basement areas as well as laundry room, around bath tubs, and showers. You get the idea, anywhere moisture is a concern, so is mold. The technology used is basically a paperless surface that will not breed mold spores.
When it comes to drywall installation on walls it is common to lay the sheets over horizontally with end butts centered on studs and the horizontal common edge being a tapered joint edge. Another popular option is to stand the drywall sheets vertically cut to fit the ceiling height with only tapered vertical joints located on studs.
It is most common to install drywall with either a phosphate coated course thread drywall screw or a cup head ring shank drywall nail. Common practice is to use 1-1/4 inch fasteners for ½ inch drywall and 1-5/8 inch fasteners for 5/8 inch drywall. Fasteners should be held back 3/8 inch from edges and be placed every 6 to 8 inches apart on walls and 5 to 7 inches apart on ceilings. Be sure to attack fasteners in this pattern along every stud , joist or plate surface.
When finishing drywall you can use the following standard methods. Understand that there are other methods also available.
1. Use a wide drywall taping knife (5 to 6 inch work best) and spread joint compound in the center of the joints, beginning at the top of the wall.
2. Press drywall tape into the recess with your putty knife until the joint compound is forced through the perforations in the tape. (If you use fiberglass tape I suggest using fast drying drywall cement like a speed set product to avoid joint cracking)
3. Cover the taped joint with additional drywall mud, feathering the outer edges.
4. Allow this drywall compound to dry thoroughly, then sand the joint lightly. Now you are ready to add a second layer of drywall compound. You may finally need a third coat but the secret here is to taper each coat out a little further to feather the edge and blend it in.
5. After the final coat is dry it is time for a final drywall sanding.
6. You will blend the over the screw heads as well as any hammer dimples by coating with drywall compound and when dry feathering the edges with sand paper like the joints.
Learn more about Drywall Dust Control at about.com