DIY remodeling: Are you really ready for sheetrock?

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ July 11, 2013

Whether adding on to your home or doing a renovation, hanging the sheetrock is a milestone that many DIYers eagerly anticipate. When the framing is covered up, rooms finally begin to take shape and you know that the end of the project is right around the corner. But as anxious as you are to hang that sheetrock, has anything been forgotten? There are a few items to check for prior to screwing that first board up on the wall.

A pre-sheetrock checklist for DIYers

Sheetrock can be patched, but the end result almost never looks quite as nice as an unblemished wall. Even when repairs are done by an expert, in certain light the spots are often easily visible. Therefore, the best course of action is to ensure that everything that needs to be behind the boards is there before you pick up a screw gun. Here are a few items that are often overlooked:

  • Plumbing -- If you're doing a kitchen remodel, it's not too difficult to remember the primary water and drain piping -- they may even be unchanged. But what about the ice maker line? While the small line can sometimes be routed through the bottoms of base cabinets, locating it inside a wall can reduce the chance of accidental punctures. And if you're finishing your basement, adding a line now for a future refrigerator with an ice maker might be a good idea. Tape off the ends of the line to prevent debris from entering until you're ready to make the hookup.
  • Electric -- Hopefully a contractor was hired for this phase of the project as working with electricity is definitely not DIY-friendly. However, many electricians don't install low-voltage wiring unless it's made a part of their contract. If you didn't know this, don't despair -- low-voltage lines such as speaker wiring, video connections, and interior telephone lines are considered safe for homeowners to install. Speaker wires dangling from walls and running behind furniture were fine when you were in your 20s, but at this point in your life, they should be hidden behind the sheetrock.
  • Blocking -- How many times have you found the perfect spot to hang something on the wall only to feel the nail go into a void behind the sheetrock? Drywall by itself can support very little weight, but with proper blocking behind it, you can hang just about anything. Almost every major remodeling job or home addition has plenty of scrap rough lumber when the framing is complete. Instead of throwing it away or having a bonfire, use it to provide blocking for any item you may be planning to hang on the walls.

Of course, in your excitement to start sheetrocking there is one item that should never be overlooked: the close-in inspection. Almost every jurisdiction has inspections that must be passed prior to the work being hidden from view, and if you should happen to forget to call the building inspector, tearing off all that sheetrock won't be much fun.

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