Category Archives: drywall installation

Plaster Board Update

Plastering – Taping and Jointing. Tools and Lessons Learnt.

I finally completed installation of the plasterboard with the help of the mechanical plasterboard lifter and I have now just started taping and jointing. I decided on the international method of finishing the plasterboard rather than the Irish method ( see previous blog https://selfbuild.blog/2016/07/10/plaster-board-plan/) . If one is determined to use the traditional Irish method of wet plastering the whole wall I would still tape the joints with paper tape rather than the nylon/plastic mesh. The paper tape ensures the fire proof rating and from my research it is a stronger joint.

Below is an image of what it looks like when one applies the first joint filler tape coat. There are two to three more coats of plaster filler/compound required to hide the joints completely and some sanding.

Joint Taping
taping joints

I tried different methods and tools such as using a hawk instead of a mud pan to hold the plaster. For me the 12 inch mud pan worked out the best .

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tape dispenser is more important than I thought. The unit I purchased was a good design on paper but not very practical. If I was purchasing a unit again I would go for the steel design . The current model I am using is as shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For ones own safety one must be able to roll the paper up  after taping the joint as the hanging paper can  become a trip hazard when moving around.  I would try this steel one instead if I was starting again (see below).

 

 

 

Another item is a glove for the knife hand. If one is working with the filler for a few days I have found it to be very rough on the hands. Over time the skin will toughen up I suppose.

Beads

There are two main types for corner beads used for edge finishing . The steel micro edging (first image below) or the paper tape reinforced with steel (second image). I found it easier to use the steel micro edging rather than the  reinforced tape edging. I tried a few methods of attaching the mesh and I settled for first applying the compound and using a few stainless steel staples(the standard ones are not stainless steel) to fix it securely while applying a finishing coat to fully bed it in. Note-ensure that one fully cleans the stapler after doing this.

 

 

 

 

The steel micro edging I feel is a better method to finish an edge and it is easier to sand and clean when applying wet filler.

Another idea that I did not get to try but it looks interesting is the use of pre-formed corner / edges  using plasterboard. This avoids the use of beads and it is called the ZaapSystem from Prodar.

The reinforced tape comes into its own when one needs to tape two walls that meet with slight angles. The price of this varies from €15 to €30 for the same length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fillers

I tried different fillers/joint compounds . Gyproc dry wall filler (it comes in a bag and is quick setting ). One mixes it with water and it requires the use an electric mixer to prepare it. This bag works out fairly economical but the time spent mixing, the dust, washing out the bucket every hour or so is very time consuming. Another disadvantage is that it sets very fast and is very hard to sand afterwards. The colour is also a disadvantage as it does not blend well with the plasterboard. An advantage is that it works out well when fixing the steel micro mesh.

The next product I tried is the Gyproc bucket version (pre-mixed) 15 litre. This is easy to work with but again it is a white finish which will make it harder to blend into the wall and will require more painting. It is also very expensive.

The best product I found and the most economical for the joint is supplied by Greenspan called USG plus 3 (it is an American product) and it comes in a 17 litre tub. It has the best colour blend for the board, it gives a finer finish, and is easy to sand. It does require a small amount of water to be added to make it extra easy to work with (this makes it go a bit further).

 

 

 

 

Tips

  • When applying filler near floor level increase the width of the filler to ensure that any skirting board lies flush against the plasterboard.

 

 

 

    • Use paper rather than plastic mesh for a stronger and fire safe joint.
    • Practise filing joints in a non critical area such as behind future wardrobes, en-suite or storage room etc.
    • Have a rag /clothe clipped to your belt to wipe away any dried plaster pieces before they get caught in the fresh new compound and leave streaks.
    • Use the 4 inch knife to remove any dried plaster compound or for checking  screw heights. The other knives need to be protected from any edge damage or you will get streaking.
    • If the corner is less than 90 degrees I found it difficult to get a clean edge as there was limited space. In this case I made a finishing tool cut to the angle of the wall and ceiling with a rigid plastic cover to give a smooth surface.
Plastering
Corner Plaster finishing
  • I found it helpful to have the 4 inch knife stuck to the pan with a magnet. It saves some time bending down or climbing down the ladder to get it when using  two other knifes. I typically would have the 6 inch knife for finishing edges and either the 10 inch or 12 inch for finishing butt or tapered joints. The 10 inch stayed in the back pocket .
4 inch Knife stuck to pan
Magnet on pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Fully clean the knifes and dry them at the end of the day.
  • You will notice the difference between good quality knives and low cost knives.
  • If a knife should get damaged by a screw head I used a sharpening stone to repair it.

plastering repair

 

 

 

 

 

  • In order to minimise sanding sometimes it is better to re-apply another filler coat to get a perfect finish.
  • For corners I found it easier to use a corner knife (90 degree angle) and feather the edges with the 10 inch knife.
  • Use the 4 inch knife to clean away any small hardened plaster bumps before starting  the second coat.

Renovation Work

Self Build-Renovating an old house

I came across information over the years that may help the self builder when it comes to retrofits (doing up an existing dwelling).

This is probably the most challenging of self builds as the options are few when it comes to insulating a house that was never designed to be insulated.

The other problem for the self builder is how well were the houses built in the first place -are the construction details good?. If they are good then it may be an easy step (it is evident that today there are problems with new builds. Could it have been any different in the past?)-for example were the cavities clean, state of repair of pointing, brickwork etc., .

A Guide to doing it right

The document below is a very good guideline on renovating an old building correctly when it has solid walls.

a-bristolians-guide-to-solid-wall-insulation

Check for any newer versions at their web site.

I extracted a sample of the contents from the above guide by way of example.

good-practice
Solid Wall Insulation
poor-practice
Solid Wall Insulation Poor Practice

External Insulation and Cavity Wall Insulation

It is worth reading  what has gone wrong and can go wrong with this recent report below on two methods of insulation carried out on as upgrades –Post Installation Performance of Cavity Wall & External Wall Insulation.

Internal Insulation

The other method of internal wall dry lining insulation can be fully reviewed at this web site.

Top Tips from the same author above

It also needs to be realised that by adding insulation to a wall that was not designed for insulation can make the house colder if the solution is not correct, structurally damage the wall over time or cause mould on the inside that may affect your health. The above report goes through this.

Objective

The above will hopefully guide the self builder away from the problems and find the correct solution.

One needs to fully understand that one needs to choose the most robust solution that can withstand something going wrong. 

 

Possible Products 

Some of these products may be safer to use when it comes to old buildings . Some require extra measures to ensure they keep the building dry and you warm.

Diasen Thermal Plaster and its use can be seen at this link Diathonite Evolution internal wall insulation

Calsitherm Climate Board

Multipor products

TecTem from Knauf and idea on prices

Perlite

E-LINE NATURAL HYBRID

Pavadry

Foamglass

Cellulose

Rockwool

Acoustic and Fire Design

Fire and Acoustic Isolation

Having recently come across a best practice guide for Electrical installations and their effect on the fire performance of buildings I have decided to change  the approach to the fire/acoustic isolation between rooms. I will now install Rockwool flexi 50mm in the 100mm partition walls and Rockwool flexi 100mm in the 140mm partition walls .

Electrics before insulation
Partition before Insulation with Wiring
Rockwool
Partition wall with Rockwool installed

From an acoustic perspective I was advised that it is better to install the Rockwool in the centre of the partitions rather than touching one or other side of the plasterboard as this limits the sound transfer.

The Electrical Safety Council best practice guide deals with Electrical installations and their impact on the fire performance of Domestic premises at this link when one is building a home. A summary is as follows but the full document is worth reading for any self builder.

  • Fire containment in the event of a fire
  • The need to prevent fire from passing through holes in all elements whether solid or lightweight is addressed.
  • Electrical Equipment is identified that has a direct and significant influence on the fire performance of an element.
  • Partial Penetrations –those that reduce the fire performance of part of the wall/ceiling or floor.
    Full Penetrations-such as ducts and fans that go through both elements of a wall/ceiling/floor.

 

Plaster Board Plan

Plaster Board Installation

I plan to install as much of the plaster board by myself. There are different techniques for completing the finish. I note that one must use paper between the joints in order to maintain the fire proof rating and the paper jointing material provides superior resistance to cracking. (see www. Gyproc.ie Jointing document)

It appears that the plastic mesh is not to be used even though it is popular.

When the boards are in place there is a special plaster joint coating for the first two coats and a different jointing plaster is used for finishing the joint.

It appears that we will not be able to plaster finish the complete boards as the humidity level in too low and there is a risk that a coat of plaster may crack during the drying process.

For the bathrooms areas around the shower I plan to use magnesium board or cement board as it offers superior water proofing.

Applying the plaster to the joints.

Below are a few videos I located in order to watch and learn from the professionals.

More details that may help

Tools

An important tool if one is doing the plaster board oneself is a plaster board lifter .

Some of these have height restrictions . Some are very professional and expensive and some are low cost. They vary between €150 and €1000.

Some plaster board web sites that I located to date are

http://shop.wiltec.info/product_info.php/info/p4801_XXL-Drywall-Lift—Sheetrock-Lifter-Panel-Hoist.html

One that I will be not using