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Can I hang sheet rock directly over backer board?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ April 30, 2013 ~ No Comments

I have one small room in a 1959 ranch house that was paneled instead of plastered. When I
removed the paneling there was backer board on the walls. My question is, can I hang 1/4"
sheet rock directly over this?

Brett Kulina

If the underlying backer board appears to be in sound shape without any moisture damage, then covering the old wall with the new drywall shouldn't be a problem. My only concern is that if you hang 1/4" drywall, which is thin, then any imperfections or waves in the existing wall might telegraph through to the new finished surface. Unless you have a very specific reason why you need to use 1/4" drywall, then I would install some 1/2" thick sheets instead. The thicker sheet rock can provide a sturdier surface, plus you won't have to worry about over setting the drywall screws right through the paper surface.

When hanging the new drywall, make sure that you are attaching it to the actual wall framing, and not just screwing it to the existing backer board. If you can not determine where the underlying wall studs are by locating a vertical line of exposed nail heads, or if perhaps the backer board is glued to the framing and there are no nail heads to locate, then just cut a few small holes in the board to find the studs in the wall cavity.

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