Drywall Delivery Dos and Don’ts
Use these tips to protect your crew and the house when loading drywall onto a job site.
It takes a lot of drywall to cover the inside of the average American home, and getting it all inside the house takes care and planning.
Before you even place the order, know how you’re going to get it into the house. The size of the doors, windows, or stairwells the panels have to move through can dictate the size of the panels you order. Using long panels can significantly reduce the linear footage of seams, but only order long panels if you can get them into the house.
Divide your drywall order by floor. That way, the lumberyard can load the delivery truck to easily offload the drywall meant for each floor of the house right where it’s supposed to go. The last thing you want to have to do is needlessly move long sheets of drywall up or down stairs.
If you want to start taping as soon as the drywall is hung, order some drywall compound with the drywall. It can take a lot of compound to tape and finish an entire house, and that can take up a lot of room and get in the way of other trades—and the drywall hangers. Just order enough to get started, store it out of the way, and order more later.
Often, a window is the best way to get drywall into a house—especially on higher floors. Many window sashes can be removed to make room for the drywall. Just make sure to protect the window frame from damage. A drywall window slide and some dunnage do the job here.
In the old days, the delivery guys would carry the drywall from the truck into the house. These guys work smarter, using a boom lift to get the panels to the house, and a cart to move it inside the house. The cart can safely move whole stacks at a time.
The panels are heavy, and have to be distributed throughout the house so they don’t overload the framing. The safest way to stack drywall is flat on the floor, but since ceilings are hung first, it’s usually stacked leaning against the walls so it’s not in the way. The angle of the lean is key—if the bottom edge of the first sheet is less than 4 in. from the wall, it won’t take much to knock the stack over, and that’s dangerous. If the bottom edge is more than 6 in. from the wall, it’ll put a lot of pressure on the wall, and could cause a structural failure.
Try to have the drywall delivered at least a few days in advance of hanging. Like hardwood flooring, it should be acclimated to the space before it’s hung.
Last but not least, don’t forget to thank your delivery guys!
Read more “Secrets to Smoother Drywall” in FHB #277.