Drywall Contractors & Drywalling

Drywall Contractors & Drywalling

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Hiring a drywall contractor is the best choice when having drywall installation and finishing work done, at least if you want your walls and ceilings to be done right. The right drywall contractor will ensure that the walls are straight and prepared to look great long after the painter has left the building. If poor drywall work is performed there will be many imperfections that you painter will have to deal with and you will have to look at for years to come.

Drywall is actually broken up into three seperate jobs. The first phase is the hanging of the gypsum board, or drywall installation. This process includes the measuring, cutting, and hanging the sheetrock into place. The second job is the taping of all joints and filling of all nail and/or screw holes. The third phase involves skim coating all surfaces and sanding until flat and smooth.

The fourth, and optional phase (typically always performed on ceilings) is texturing.

A good drywall contractor knows how to perform all phases of drywall construction and finishing quickly and efficiently while saving time and money throughout the process. Drywall is a craft. Just about anyone can do it, but it takes a craftsman to make it look easy while getting professional results.

Drywall is our craft.

Drywall Preperation

When looking at a finished wall or ceiling in any home or office, it should look like a smooth, flat and seamless spread of color that is only interupted by angles and corners. You should not be able to see any signs of a joint where two pieces of drywall were jointed. The end product is only as good as the preparation or in this case, the framing, hanging and finishing.

A sheet of drywall board is actually a dried slab of compressed gypsum with a thin skin of paper on either side. Often referred to as sheetrock (which is actually a product brand name), drywall, or gypsum board is cut into 4 feet wide sheets that are available in 8, 10, or 12 feet long lengths (rarely longer). The board is cut to length using a drywall utility knife, tape measure, and tsquare and then hung to framing (wood and/or steel) with drywall screws (most commonly 2 inch screws) and/or drywall nails.

If drywall is hung against bowed or warped framing the board will also bow and bend, but can also pop out through the screw heads as the board tries to flex back to memory.

The same is true when hanging ceilings. Sometimes drywall hangers will use cardboard or pressboard shims to bring their board to an even height (especially when the framers did not get their studs or joists straight). Box Beam Levels, Laser Levels, Drywall Shims, Plum Bobs are all tools that can help you get straight walls that are prepped for taping.

A lot of people think that the hanging process is much easier than the taping and finishing, and will hang their own board, or send a seperate hanging crew in before the tapers. Homeowners can sometimes cause more trouble than its worth doing their own hang job. If not done with skill and precision, a poorly hung job can add considerable time to the taping and finishing job to the point where rehanging is a better option than leaving status quoe.

Choosing a Drywall Contractor

Finding a drywall contractor is pretty easy these days. Just jump on the computer or pick up a telephone book and youll soon find a sea of them. Choosing one is a bit more difficult. A specialty drywall tool store, or drywall supply yard will generally have the best line on a drywall contractor.

After all, they work with drywall contractors just about every day or before every job and get to them on a professional and often personal level.

Questions to ask

1. How long have you been in business?

2. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

3. Do you have your own crew or do you subcontract the work?

4. When can you start, and when will you finish?

5. How do collect payment and what is your payment schedule?

6. Will you require a permit to do my job?

7. Can you provide references?

8. What kind of tools will you be using on all phases (hang, tape, finish, and texture)?

9. Will you be cleaning up every day, and how much mess can I expect?

10. Do you provide a written estimate and contract?

11. Do you have sample photos of your work?

The drywall contractor that is prepared for this line of question will welcome it. Be skeptical of the contractor that avoids or skims over any of these basic questions.

A good drywall contractor loves to show off their work, and will typically have a list of project photos and customer referrals. These days, the real good ones should have a facebook site or even a youtube channel to exhibit their drywall projects.

Its not a bad idea to check with the Better Business Bureau or follow up on the contractors license to look for claims. The results may not necessarily define a good or bad drywaller, but they may shed some light on the past and help you make your decision.

Never rule out the feeling you get when you meet a contractor for the first time. If you feel sketched out, there is probably a reason for it. Lets face it, anyone can pick up a mud pan and taping knife and proclaim themselves a drywaller, but you should get a gut feeling about their professionalism right away.

Drywall Pricing

Drywall pricing is different in every region. Costs fluctuate based on material pricing and cost of living. Some parts of the country are just down right cheaper to do business. As a general rule of thumb, drywall is usually priced by the board foot finished, time and materials, or a flat price bid.

Regardless of how you are quoted, be sure to get a written estimate and make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are getting. Make sure that you know if you are paying for materials, or if they are included. Never pay for work upfront, but understand that a deposit for materials and labor may be required by even the most trust worthy contractors. After all, they will be required to front all the costs themselves without any deposit.

A deposit ensures your commitment and can ensure that the contractor shows up with the people needed to finish your job.

In certain cases, a well established contractor will not bill until the end of the job when all work is done. This is not the norm. Be prepared to spend somewhere around $1.00 per board foot at the height of pricing and $.40 at the rock bottom.

Remember, you often get what you pay.


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