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Choosing the right kind of plasterboard for your dry lining project can be a minefield and we suggest you carry out sufficient research before ordering up the quantity and type you need. Remember also that plasterboard comes in different widths, lengths and thicknesses.  When you are setting out, the stud centres must suit the size of plasterboard you are ordering.

What is Dry lining? – fitting plasterboard:

Dry lining or fitting board to a substrate is relatively easy when fixing to timber studs.  You’ve chosen the right type of plasterboard or other lining boards to suit the necessary height and stud centres, now proceed as follows:

Measure the sheet of plasterboard; make any necessary cuts for services, sockets or penetrations.  Allow approximately a 10mm gap at the bottom of the board for ease of fit.  Work from an edge inwards, whether it is to an abutment or to an internal angle.  If you do start from the middle of a wall out make sure the first board is plumb or you will encounter problems with square, creating unnecessary cuts.  

Offer the plasterboard to the stud wall lifting it away from the floor to meet the ceiling if there is one.  Fix the plasterboard to the timber stud walls using 40mm clout nails or preferably drywall screws for better strength. Generally the screw length chosen should penetrate the timber stud by 25mm to maintain fire integrity.

The board can be lifted to the desired height using a proprietary footlifter or a crowbar or even chocks and a wedge of timber offcut.  When you have the board positioned as you want ‘tack’ it working centre out and place the first two fixings relatively close to each other, say 100mm apart.  By doing so with just 2 or 3 fixings the board will be held in position and any lifting pressure can be released leaving you to concentrate on fixing the rest of the board correctly. Fix the rest of the boards up and around the studs – 200mm centres for screws and/or 150mm centres if you’re using clout nails.  Take care not to dent the board with a hammer head or screw the fixings in too far, piercing the paper envelope.

If you’re dry lining to a curved wall it is easier to lay the boards down with the narrow side vertical.  Again with a curved wall or indeed a curved ceiling, plasterboard is relatively brittle and it may be far easier to use a thinner board rather than to snap the thicker plasterboards in a threepenny bit or 50p manner.  If your fire rating requires say 12.5mm plasterboard and it won’t bend to the curve, you need to consider using 2 layers of 6mm contour board to give you the same overall thickness to meet the rating.  You must always ensure the board edges drop on a stud or support.  

What is Dry lining? – plasterboarding ceilings:

Timber ceilings can be dry lined in very much the same way as timber stud walls with a few not so subtle differences.  Plasterboards are heavy and it may be worth considering using a smaller board.  As with stud walls it is imperative to set off with the first board square and this can generally be achieved by starting in a corner allowing a small but uniform gap for any building tolerances.  Believe it or not, as with wall boards, ceiling boards can be held in position with just a few correctly placed fixings allowing you to rest your weary arms.