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Drywall ‘Kicker’

‘Modern’ platform framed houses have walls that start out being over 8′
tall. the 92 5/8” for the vertical stud, the 4 1/2” of the bottom and
top plates, giving you 97 1/4” roughly. Most  drywall is 48” tall giving you 96”. Hold that thought. No we are not having the 54” drywall discussion, since why the hell would you build a house that 1/3 of your cubic footage has to be cooled and heated that you get no benefit from (and how many of you are between 6 and 8 1/2 feet tall?) except being able to brag to the neighbors that your utility bill is bigger. This is not on your top ten list of things to accomplish on remodeling.

Hanging drywall is a procedure, that goes ceiling then walls. Drywall doesn’t care which way you hang it. I do. You can hang drywall parallel to your framing, but it is not recommended as wood moves, and on ceilings if it does you will have cracks that run the entire length of the sheet, requiring you to fix over your head. Trust me, you are not going to like taping the first time around, the second time around there is more stuff to work around.

If you stand the sheets up on your walls, not only do you have a crack problem, but it is a lot harder to tape. By hanging your drywall perpendicular to your framing, you will minimize  cracking and being able to tape the wall seam at 4′ is a lot easier than getting up and down sawhorses and ladders.

One of the lesser known drywall tools is the ‘kicker’, or floor drywall lifter.

Remember the 48” tall drywall? Two sheets are 96”. Even with 5/8” drywall on your ceiling, your wall is around 96 1/2” high. the top sheet gets pressed to the ceiling and nailed off. The bottom sheet sitting on the floor has a serious gap. This is where the ‘kicker’ makes its entrance.

Kicker1
This is the most common variety. It is a noisy steel contraption whose sole purpose is to lever the bottom wall sheet tight to the upper sheet on your walls. You kick it into place, and push down with your leg and nail or screw the sheet tight to the upper sheet.
Kicker2

Better seams, better taping, better job.

This is also handy for short lifts like lining up solid doors to slip in hinge pins, lining up cabinet faces.

It is one of those tools that most folks do not need for small projects. Check with your neighbors. There is an alternative using a wonderbar.

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