Plasterboard offers an affordable alternative to wet plastering for smoothing walls before painting. The material also enhances thermal – and sometimes acoustic – insulation, and it can be used in all areas of your home, even in the bathroom.
Fixing plasterboard to walls may seem challenging, but it’s actually easier than plastering. If you don’t want to hire a contractor, the steps below will help you install the panels yourself.
How To Fix Plasterboard To Wall
There are various ways to install a plasterboard wall. The method below will teach you how to fix plasterboard to bare brick, concrete block, or plastered walls – yes, you can install plasterboard over plaster.
However, you can also install plasterboard on a stud wall or wooden battens if you want to use the boards to build a partition wall or box in pipes, for example.
What You’ll Need
- Plasterboard adhesive
- Tape measure
- Laser or spirit level
- Plasterboard pad saw
- Marker pen
- Marker spray
- Marking chalk
- Builder’s float
- A heavy batten (50x100mm timber)
- Board lifter
- Plasterboard rasp
- Paper-faced metal angle beads
- Jointing compound
- Filling knife
- Internal corner trowel
1. Decide The Plasterboard Sheet Dimension
Finishing off a wall with plasterboard is easier if you buy the right plasterboard sheets.
The panels come in various dimensions, and not all of them are standard.
In the UK, the standard plasterboard dimension is 2400mm x 1200mm x 12.5mm. However, this size panels also come in other thicknesses if you need a thinner or thicker board.
The 2400mm height is ideal when you have to cover a wall from floor to ceiling – most homes have a ceiling height of 2.4 metres.
However, you can find plasterboard in a variety of sizes, ranging from 1220mm x 900mm to 3600mm x 1200mm. To avoid unnecessary cutting, measure the wall you want to cover and decide which size is best for you.
2. Prepare To Dry-Line Your Wall
Measuring and drawing guidelines on the wall is essential if you want to ensure the plasterboard sheets are straight.
Start measuring the board widths from one side of the wall. Work your way to the other side, marking where each width ends.
Now, use a level – preferably a laser one – to draw vertical guidelines from floor to ceiling.
If there is a window on the wall, start measuring the board widths from the window opening instead. Use separate plasterboard pieces to cover the area above and under the window.
Lastly, mark a finish line along the ceiling, allowing 10-15mm of thickness for the adhesive, plus the thickness of the board. So, if the board is 12.5mm thick, you should allow for a thickness between 22.5mm and 27.5mm.
3. Mark Out Switches And Sockets
If you’re installing plasterboard on a finished wall, you must also take into account any openings for the sockets and switches on that wall.
If you plan to install plasterboard on an unfinished wall (without sockets and switches in place), it is a good idea to plan the room ring main and mark the spots where the electrical fixture will go. In this way, you can prepare the plasterboard sheets beforehand.
Apply transferring marker pen to the edges of all switches and sockets on the wall. Place the plasterboard sheet in position and use the heavy batten to press it against the wall.
Remove the plasterboard and use a pencil and ruler to draw the openings that are now marked on the sheet.
4. Cut The Plasterboard
You can now cut all openings with a plasterboard pad saw. Use a plasterboard rasp to remove the burrs.
If you have to make other cuts – to fit the board around a windowsill or to allow room for exposed pipes, for instance – measure the openings you need and cut them out.
Store the plasterboard scraps in a bag and contact your Local Council regarding disposal. Like most construction materials, plasterboard can’t be disposed of in kerbside bins.
Plasterboard is made of gypsum and is not biodegradable, meaning that you have to dispose of it responsibly or recycle it if possible.
5. Fix Plasterboard To Wall
With the guidelines marked and cuts made, it’s time to fix the plasterboard to the wall.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cover the entire wall with adhesive. Use your tape measure and a marker spray to mark the spots on the wall where the adhesive will go – the dabs must be about 40 centimetres apart.
Prepare the plasterboard adhesive as instructed on the tub.
Apply the adhesive to the wall with a builder’s float. Now, lift the plasterboard sheet and place it on the wall, in line with your guidelines.
Use a heavy batten to press the sheet flat against the wall. If your floor or ceiling is not perfectly straight, you may have to place a board lifter or a bolster under the sheet to level it with the ceiling.
6. Finish The Corners
Like the floors or ceiling, wall corners are rarely straight. You can fill in the gaps with paper-faced metal angle beads. Use the same type of beads to finish the edge between the plasterboard and ceiling.
Fix the beads in place with a jointing compound and press them in place with a corner trowel. This will smooth out the corners.
How To Fix Plasterboard To Stud Walls?
Fixing plasterboard to a stud wall is similar to fixing it to brick or plastered walls. The main difference is that you have to fasten the sheets in place with screws.
Fastening with screws is necessary because the gaps between the studs are often too wide to allow for proper adhesion with a plasterboard adhesive.
How To Fix Plasterboard To Ceiling?
You can glue plasterboard to the ceiling following the instructions above. However, you’ll have to use battens or studs to hold the plasterboard sheet in place until the adhesive cures.
Can you screw the plasterboard to a wall?
Yes, fixing plasterboard to brick with screws is possible. You can screw plasterboard on plaster or block walls too. However, the project would become more laborious because you’ll have to drill the screw holes first, install wall plugs, and then follow the steps above to prepare the plasterboard.
Screw recesses must also be filled with a poly filler and sanded before painting.
Can you stick plasterboard with no nails?
Yes. In fact, you don’t need nails at all when fixing plasterboard to walls. You can either use adhesive or fasten the sheets with screws.
Can I hang curtains or objects on the plasterboard?
Yes, you can generally hang curtain poles and objects, such as a TV, heavy mirror, and even a handrail on plasterboard, as long as the sheet is installed correctly.
If you want to hang objects, do so after at least 24 to 48 hours after installing the sheet. This would give the adhesive sufficient time to cure properly.
Fixing plasterboard to walls is an easy DIY project. Gluing the sheets is the quickest way to install plasterboard on most walls. However, you should screw it in place when installing it on a stud wall.
No matter what surface you want to cover, we hope this guide can help you complete the project successfully.