Solo Drywall Hanging
Get help when you can, but if you have to install these unwieldy sheets by yourself, it pays to rent a lift.
Synopsis: A veteran drywall hanger shows how he uses a drywall lift and other specialized tools to install heavy sheets of gypsum drywall by himself. With several tips for handling and installing this common material.
As someone who hangs drywall for a living, I can say without a doubt that the first rule of solo drywall hanging is to get a good partner. Two people working together can get a lot more done, and with a lot less strain, than one poor slob stumbling around by himself. Having said that, I have to admit that even the best partners don’t always show up for work. No matter how good the excuse — the first day of deer season, 2 ft. of fresh powder at Big Sky, “I woke up and felt so bad I figured it had to be Saturday” — for me, it’s just another day spent holding my own. After 20 years of working in this trade, I’ve learned that many drywall projects can be done solo if I use the right tools and apply leverage rather than brute strength.
Real men can use a lift
In addition to the standard drywall tools that everyone uses — screw gun, router, utility knife, keyhole saw, 4-ft. square — a pair of step-up benches, a drywall foot pedal and a soft hat are particularly useful when I’m forced to fly solo. I’ll explain more about these tools, but first I need to mention the one tool that’s indispensable for hanging solo: a drywall lift. Basically a winch designed to raise and position large sheets of drywall safely, the drywall lift is available in most supply houses and rental shops. A few companies have made this tool, but the best one I’ve found is the PanelLift (Telpro Inc.).