How can I figure out if my drywall will sag?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 18, 2013 ~ Comments

If I hang 5/8 drywall on 24"center, will it sag? How can I tell?


Jeffrey Anderson

Matt, U.S. Gypsum is one of the largest manufacturers of drywall and has a list of all approved applications on their website in the resource section. According to their data, 5/8 inch drywall can be installed on a ceiling that has framing members spaced at 24 inches on center as long as the sheets are installed perpendicular to the framing.

If your 5/8 inch drywall is being installed on walls, 24 inch on-center framing is fine for either a perpendicular or parallel application. Of course, whether going on a ceiling or vertical walls, the data is based on the drywall being secured properly. U.S. Gypsum's website has all the information needed to determine which fastening system might be best for your application and the recommended spacing for each.

Nails require the closest spacing and from personal experience, can result in nail pops over time. A nail pop is when the fastener gradually works its way back out of the framing member and pushes out through the drywall compound and paint. The repair is to hammer it back in, apply new compound, and do a paint touch-up. If the room has a darker paint color that shows touch-ups very easily, you could end up having to repaint the entire wall. As you can imagine, this can be very labor intensive in a finished room that has floor covering and furniture - and even more so if another nail pop occurs right after repainting.

For that reason, I recommend using screws when installing your drywall, or at the very least, drywall adhesive along with the nails. In my opinion, the very best application is with screws and adhesive. It won't guarantee that you won't have some cosmetic repairs in the future, but it definitely improves your odds. The U.S. Gypsum website has information on how to adjust the fastener spacing if either screws or adhesive is used for the drywall installation. Framing members spaced at 24 inches on center are not all that unusual so if U.S. Gypsum's recommendations are followed, you shouldn't have a problem.

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