7 Drywall Supplies You Need for Your Project

Taper Installing Corner Bead
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One great thing about installing drywall is that it is so inexpensive. Few of the materials individually cost much because it's all very simple stuff: paper, gypsum, metal, screws, and some strips of plastic.

It is a great feeling to have all-new walls in a room where before you only had crumbling plaster or moldy, saggy wallboard. All you need are a few simple drywall supplies: drywall panels, mud, tape, corner bead, and drywall screws. As an option, you may also want drywall shims and drywall nails.

  • 01 of 07

    Drywall Panels

    Sheetrock
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    Drywall—often called wallboard or called by one of its brand names, Sheetrock—is inexpensive, readily available, and easy to handle.

    Drywall can get a bit more expensive if you purchase a specialty product like ultra-light drywall or sound-proof drywall. But even those pricier materials, at their hearts, are just gypsum sandwiched between two layers of paper.

    Drywall comes in convenient sheets that are 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. Often, they are doubled-up, two boards to a pack. Half-inch drywall is normally for walls, though it is used for ceilings as well. Slightly thicker drywall is used on garage walls that adjoin the house or in fire-prone areas, such as furnace rooms.

    Tip

    If you just need to patch a hole in a wall, many stores sell small, 2-foot by 2-foot or smaller squares of drywall.

  • 02 of 07

    Joint Compound (Mud)

    DIY - Drywall Repair
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    Commonly called mud, joint compound comes either ready-mixed in plastic tubs or dry in paper bags.

    While pre-mixed joint compound may seem like a luxury, don't minimize the advantage of having the water pre-mixed into your joint compound. Correctly mixing mud can be difficult for do-it-yourselfers. If you're mudding just a room or two, you will find it advantageous to buy pre-mixed mud; the cost savings is not enough to warrant mixing up the dry compound.

    If you want to reduce drywall dust, low-dust joint compound will significantly reduce—though not eliminate—those classic far-reaching clouds of drywall dust that will crawl even to the opposite end of the house. Low-dust drywall compound costs about twice as much as regular mud, but many users find the extra cost worthwhile.

  • 03 of 07

    Paper Tape

    Drywall tape
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    Paper or fiberglass tape is used to join sheets of drywall. Embedded in the mud, the tape forms a hard connection after the mud has dried.

    Paper Tape

    The best thing about it is that it is just paper—which means that it is cheap and easy to find. If you think that paper tape isn't strong, think again. Try demolishing an old wall joined with paper tape embedded into the mud and you'll find that the joints are just about as strong as the drywall itself.

    The paper tape serves to join all connections, except for outside corners. Use paper tape:

    • Butt-joining two sheets (two flat ends, no taper)
    • Joining two sheets that each has a tapered end
    • Joining drywall sheets on inside corners

    Fiberglass Tape

    Alternatively, if you want to spend a bit more, flat fiberglass tape provides a super-strong joint and, the best thing of all, it self-adheres. Paper tape requires you to first lay down a thin coat of mud to get the tape to stick. But Fibatape already has an adhesive backing.

    The good thing about this—besides removing a step from the work process—is that the tape lays onto a perfectly flat board. With paper tape, there is the chance of embedding it into lumpy, less-than-smooth mud.

  • 04 of 07

    Outside Corner Bead

    Decorative Plastic Low Profile Corner Bead for Drywall
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    With walls, there are either inside corners or outside corners. Inside corners can be formed with paper tape. Embedded paper tape easily chips when sharply struck. Outside corners are prone to strikes. Moving a piece of furniture, or even hitting the corner with a coffee mug, can be enough to chip corners. That is why you use corner bead.

    The secret behind the corner bead is that the outermost edge of your outside corner is a material other than the drywall compound. Depending on which type of corner bead you choose, that outermost edge is either metal or plastic. When painted, the transition from the metal/plastic corner to the joint compound disappears.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Drywall Screws

    Drywall Screws
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    If you have ever remodeled a house built before the 1980s. you may have encountered nails affixing the drywall to the studs. Even if you're not tearing down walls, you may have also noticed distinctive nail-pops: small circles jutting through the paint, just far enough to be annoying.

    This is one thing that explains the popularity of drywall screws. Poorly affixed nails pop out; screws don't. Make sure your screws are coarse thread, not fine thread, for surer grip in wood studs. Verify that these screws are phosphate-coated to resist corrosion. A good length is 1-5/8 inch-long drywall screws for either 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch thick drywall.

    Purchase just one pound, to begin with, to ensure that you and these particular screws get along together well. If you like them, then buy them in bulk. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with a broken-up 25 lb. box of screws that the store will refuse to take back.

  • 06 of 07

    Drywall Shims

    Construction Worker Built A Drywall
    Getty Images/TommL

    Drywall shims are simple 45-inch long pieces of cardboard that are 1-1/2 inches wide. It's no coincidence that the width of drywall shims is the same width as a two-by-four stud. That's because drywall shims are designed to be placed on the narrow edges of studs to help slightly bring out the drywall.

    Shims can be used in so many ways. They can bring the edge of one drywall sheet outward to match the edge of an adjoining sheet. They can be placed in the center of a sheet (in back) if a section of studs is concave. Or they can be used to raise areas around a bowed section of studs.

    Drywall shims are so inexpensive and valuable that they should always be in your workshop.

  • 07 of 07

    Drywall Nails

    Drywall Nail

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    While drywall screws are the favored drywall fastener now, a strong case can be made for using drywall nails instead: speed and depth placement.

    If you're driving drywall screws with an electric drill, it's a time-consuming process to drive hundreds, if not thousands, of screws. Drywall nails take just a couple of seconds to drive.

    Drywall screws can be difficult to place, depth-wise. If they are too deep, they break the facing paper and must be placed elsewhere. If they are too high, they ruin the look of the wall. But placing drywall nails is simple since the hammer's blunt face won't tear the facing paper as easily.