Dry lining stud partition walls is a project any homeowner can take on. All you need is the right tools, materials, and this dry lining guide.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the dry lining process, from selecting the right plasterboard to taping and jointing.
Note: If you’re dry lining brick walls, please check out Plasterboarding Brick Walls – The Complete Guide, or if you’re looking to plasterboard over an ugly ceiling, check out How To Plasterboard Ceilings.
In a Hurry? Find top-rated plasterers in your area by clicking the button below:
Dry Lining Tips — Prerequisites
Before you start, this guide assumes that you already have fitted stud partition walls.
Timber Stud Partition Wall
If you’re installing a timber stud partition wall, check out this video:
Metal Stud Partition Wall
If you’re installing a metal stud partition wall, check out this video:
Important Note: If you have a metal stud wall, you must fix the plasterboard with screws instead of nails.
Tools & Materials
Ensure you have all the tools and materials below before you start dry lining.
For Preparing and Fitting Plasterboard
Remember to wear safety goggles, a dust mask and gloves before doing any dry lining work.
- Tape measure and spirit level.
- Knife with replaceable blades. I recommend that you use specialist plasterboard blades, as these are quicker, safer and give you a cleaner cut.
- Plasterboard rasp.
- Board lifter.
- Step ladder.
When buying the right materials, the key decision is selecting the right plasterboard.
Before you make your selection, you must consider which type of room you’re creating. For example, your plasterboard must have solid sound insulation if you’re building a new bedroom. However, your plasterboard must be moisture-resistant if creating a new bathroom. Other important plasterboard attributes include resistance from impact and fire.
You should also look for tapered-edge boards, making it easier to get a smooth finish when taping and jointing.
Another consideration is how much weight the board can handle per screw, especially in areas where wall-mounted items cannot be directly screwed into a noggin or stud.
Attributes To Consider When Selecting Board
- Impact resistance.
- Fire resistance.
- Look for tapered-edge boards.
- How much weight can the board handle per screw?
Take your time, and consider all the attributes above and the room you’re creating before purchasing your plasterboard.
Other Materials Required
- 32mm galvanised plasterboard nails.
For Taping and Jointing
See our ‘Plasterboarding a Brick Wall – The Complete Guide‘ for a full list of tools required for taping and jointing.
Storage and Handling
Plasterboards typically come with a protective plastic coating, Don’t remove this coating until you’re ready to start work.
Keep the boards in a dry room and on a flat surface, as this will prevent bowing. If the boards become damp, don’t use them until they completely dry out.
When handling plasterboards, wear gloves and carry the boards on their edge to minimise the risk of damage.
Having some help is also important, as even experienced plasterers can damage boards when working alone. If you cannot get anybody to help, another option is to buy smaller boards that one person can easily handle. The trade-offs are the cost (you must buy more boards) and time (you must fit more boards).
How To Cut Plasterboard
You’ll need to cut the sheets to fit, especially if your walls and ceilings are not straight.
1. Measure, Mark and Cut Plasterboard
- Lay a plasterboard sheet on the floor and measure 12mm less than the floor-to-ceiling height.
- Mark the cut line with a pencil and a straight edge (e.g. steel ruler or spirit level).
- Using a sharp knife and straight edge, cut along the marked line. Only cut through the top paper layer, no deeper.
2. Fold Over and Snap Plasterboard
- Lift the sheet off the floor and firmly push one side of the cut. You should find that it snaps along a clean line.
- Use the knife again to cut through the paper layer on the other side.
- If necessary, use a plasterboard rasp to smooth out any rough edges.
Follow the steps below to fix plasterboard like a pro!
1. Position Plasterboard
Important note: Standard plasterboard has a grey side and an ivory side. Make sure that the ivory side of the plasterboard is facing outwards when fixing boards.
- Starting at the door studs, carefully position a full-size board vertically to cover half the width of the door stud and half the width of the next stud. To put it another way, ensure that the joins align at the centre of a stud.
- Place a floor lifter at the foot of the board. Use your foot to press down and force the board against the ceiling.
2. Fix Plasterboard
Important note: When fixing plasterboards, start at one side of the plasterboard and work your way across. If you fix the corners first, it can over-stress the plasterboard.
- Fix the boards in place with 32mm galvanised plasterboard nails at roughly 150mm intervals and 15mm away from the edges.
- Test that the fit is solid by ensuring the board does not flex when applying pressure.
- Carry on fitting boards the same way as before, cutting them to fit above doorways and adjacent walls.
Taping and Jointing
See our ‘Plasterboarding a Brick Wall – The Complete Guide‘ post under the heading ‘Taping and Jointing‘ for a comprehensive guide on finishing dry lining with tape and jointing.
Also, here’s a great video by Silver from Siniat on how to tape and joint:
Don’t fancy doing this job yourself? Find top-rated plasterers in your area by clicking the button below:
Dry Lining Tips — Final Thoughts
There are faster ways to cut and fix plasterboard than described above. For example, you could use an electric saw to cut the plasterboard and/or a pneumatic nail gun to fix them.
However, these advanced techniques add cost and require more skill. Therefore, the dry lining tips described in this guide best suit first-time DIY enthusiasts. If you plan to do lots of dry lining, please consider these time-saving tools.
For more dry ling tips, check out our guide to using scrim tape.