7th Dec 2022 -

When it comes to renovating your home, plasterboard is your best mate. The second-best way to get plastered, it typically consists of a calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum) panel pressed between thick sheets of facer and packer paper, and is used as a sturdy and smooth interior wall or ceiling cover for you to decorate on.

Alternatively known as drywall, gyprock or gypsum board, plasterboard was invented in 1916 as a quicker alternative to the lath and plaster method, and became popular in the following decades. In addition to helping people meet building regulations around fire safety, acoustic insulation and thermal efficiency, plasterboard can also minimise condensation, and prevent potential damage in areas of high humidity — which comes surprisingly handy during the great British summer time. 

But although its importance is plain to see, many are unaware of how to cut plasterboard and fix it into position, often putting them off using it in the first place, which is why Building Materials is here to save the day with this handy guide.

What you’ll need

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How to cut plasterboard 

STEP 1

Take your tape measure and measure the size of the ceiling or wall you’re plasterboarding, leaving around 12mm of space to ensure that the plasterboard will fit. If one board isn’t sufficient, you’ll have to cut and fix multiple ones instead.

STEP 2

Next, mark out this length on your board using a pencil and your spirit level to ensure that the line is straight.

STEP 3

Lay the plasterboard on a flat surface and cut using your plasterboard saw, being careful to keep your fingers out of the way. Be sure to regularly check the cut to make certain it’s staying where you’ve marked. 

STEP 4

Remove any rough edges using your plasterboard rasp or sandpaper, lightly running it up and down the sides until you’re content with the finish. 

man holding plasterboard

How to fix plasterboard

Plasterboards can be fixed either by nailing or hammering them into the walls or ceiling, or by ‘dotting and dabbing’ them into place using adhesive skim plaster. Be sure to fix the board’s dark side into the wall or ceiling, with the lighter side facing into the room. You might also want some help with this stage, considering how heavy plasterboards are. 

1. How to fix plasterboard with nails or screws

STEP 1

Align the board to the wall or ceiling, using a spirit level to make certain that it’s straight.

STEP 2

Start drilling the screws or nailing into the corners of the board, driving them in just enough so that they break the surface of the paper. Going any further could impact the plaster, and prevent a secure fix. It’s also important that the nails or screws are at least 12mm away from the board edge, and have a 150mm gap or more between them. 

STEP 3

Keep drilling the screws or nailing until there’s no movement in the board whatsoever.

2. How to fix plasterboard with skim plaster

STEP 1

Follow the instructions on the skim plaster packaging, until it has a thick consistency

STEP 2

Apply large dabs of the adhesive across the plasterboard, leaving about a 20cm gap between each one.

STEP 3

Line up the plasterboard with the wall or ceiling, using a spirit level to make certain it’s straight, before pressing firmly until the board doesn’t move when you take your hands away. It should be fully set after two to six hours. 

Everything a Professional or DIYer Needs

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