How to build drywall

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Drywall: Instructions for assembling the metal stud frame

Whether you want to divide a large room into two rooms, separate a niche or expand a complete attic - lightweight walls in dry construction are a solution that can be used to achieve your goal without a lot of dirt and drudgery. The walls made of plasterboard and stud frames are also structurally problem-free, because they only put little strain on the ceiling and can therefore be implemented almost anywhere. Here we will show you step by step how to build a wall from plasterboard yourself.


Drywall constructions

The construction principle of a drywall is very simple: A load-bearing frame made of squared timber or metal profiles, the so-called stud structure, forms the skeleton of the wall. It is planked with screwed-on plasterboard, if necessary filled with insulating material. So far so easy.

However, you have to make various decisions before starting construction. First of all, the one between the metal framework and the wooden framework. Many do-it-yourselfers tend to use squared timber, as they are used to working with wood anyway and also have the necessary tools for it. However, we have found that metal stud frames are very easy to work with with a little practice. The profiles are inexpensive, always true to size, do not warp and are significantly lighter - this is an advantage especially when it comes to transport, but also when handling during construction.

How the wall is built depends on the use of the separated room. In the simplest case, if there are no special requirements for sound insulation, a single-layer planked wall on both sides is sufficient. For this, plasterboard with a thickness of 12.5 mm should be used - they are sufficiently stable. If you want to improve the sound insulation, you can clad the walls twice. This also increases the stability, which is why double-paneled walls can also be higher than single-paneled ones. Insulation in the wall, for example made of mineral wool, is always recommended. Not only does it make a further contribution to soundproofing, it also ensures that the neighboring rooms are more independent of each other when it comes to heating.

Impregnated panels should always be used in damp rooms. You can recognize them by the green colored cardboard casing. Fire protection panels are recommended where there are increased requirements for fire protection. They are also available impregnated so that moisture protection and fire protection can be combined.

We recommend that you always involve a specialist, i.e. an architect or civil engineer, in the planning before building walls that are supposed to correspond to a certain fire resistance class or have to comply with it according to the applicable regulations in individual cases. You can do a few things wrong and should therefore seek detailed expert advice based on the specific installation situation.

Drywall: build metal stud frames

You need that

  • UW profiles 2x in the planned wall length (floor and ceiling) *
  • CW profiles depending on the panel width and planned wall length *
  • if necessary, door lintel profile and two UA profiles at room height *
  • Connection sealing tape *
  • Tin snips, jigsaw with metal saw blade or angle grinder with cutting disc; Dowels, nails, screws depending on the adjacent building material; Hammer and / or drill; Folding rule or tape measure; if necessary profile connection pliers.

* All system components in the example come from knob.

Here we show the construction of a single-layer planked wall on the basis of a metal framework. Even less experienced do-it-yourselfers should be able to do this. You start by measuring the exact course of the wall and drawing it on the floor, walls and ceiling. It is particularly important that the wall is really vertical later. So you should always check with a straightedge and plumb bob whether you have measured and marked accurately.

In our experience, the following procedure has proven itself: First, you draw the course of the wall on the floor. Then the vertical markings are made on the walls exactly afterwards. Finally, draw the marking on the ceiling from the upper ends. Now you can use the plumb line to check whether the ceiling and floor markings are exactly on top of each other. If necessary, you have to correct, but then you must not get confused with the various marking lines.


Once the course has been marked, apply self-adhesive sealing tapes to the floor and ceiling profiles - they are called UW profiles - which are also available from the supplier of the profiles. They are now attached to the floor and ceiling. How this happens depends on the building material used. You can use nail or screw anchors here, for plasterboard ceilings also cavity anchors, and solid wooden floors can be screwed directly.

Then the vertical profiles adjoining the wall - they are called CW profiles - are cut to a wall height of minus 10 to 15 mm, they are also provided with sealing tape, placed in the UW profiles and attached to the wall. The profiles should be fixed there at at least three points that are less than 100 cm apart.

Tip: cut profiles to size

There are several options for cutting the profiles. You can work with tin snips. This takes a bit of effort, but does not make any noise and above all avoids metal shavings flying around. The profiles can also be cut with a jigsaw or reciprocating saw with the appropriate blade. That works pretty well, it's just very loud. Finally, you can also work with an angle grinder and a cutting disc. Since sparks will inevitably be produced, you should only use the angle grinder when there is no flammable material nearby. Just like when cutting with a jigsaw, wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from flying chips.

You can now place the other CW profiles one after the other in the wall. The open side always points in the direction in which you are working away from the connection wall. The distance between the profiles depends on the width of the panel, as the panels should butt against each other on the profiles. For example, if the panels are 1250 mm wide, the profile spacing is half a panel width, i.e. 625 mm. For the first free-standing profile, measurements are taken from the connecting wall to the vertical center axis of the profile, for the other profiles from center axis to center axis.

Tip: fix the profiles together

Sometimes there are heated discussions about whether to combine CW and UW profiles with each other. This has advantages for inexperienced users: the profile flanks do not recede so easily when the plasterboard is screwed on, and the CW profiles do not slip, but stay where they were once placed. Some DIY enthusiasts use blind rivets for this purpose. In our opinion, this costs a disproportionate amount of time and, depending on the installation situation, can make the wall too rigid. Others use drywall screws, but they cannot be countersunk in the stud frame and then get in the way. The most sensible method, which is also used by drywall professionals, is crimping with composite pliers. These pliers connect the profiles to one another by perforating both at the same time - the bent sheet metal edges of these holes then hold the profiles together (in the picture the profile connecting pliers from wolfcraft).


A peculiarity arises with door openings. Here, both the profile spacing must be retained and the width of the opening, which generally deviates from this (the shell dimension), must be taken into account. This can be achieved in the following way. The width of the door opening is marked with continuous vertical profiles. These can be normal CW profiles; for wall heights over 2.60 m and larger door widths, you should use stronger reinforcement profiles, so-called UA profiles. The UA profiles also allow the assembly of heavier doors weighing more than 25 kg. Before setting up, a horizontal lintel profile is placed on these vertical profiles with the open side facing up. The two profiles that form the door posts are not free-standing in the UW profiles, but are pegged to the floor and ceiling with the corresponding plug-in angles. Once the posts are up, the lintel profile is fixed at the required height with adhesive strips that hold it in place until the plasterboard is screwed on.

It is practical and material-saving if one of the posts is at the standard distance (in our example above it was 625 mm) to the neighboring CW profile. The next distance is obtained with a short profile piece, which is again set at a distance of 625 mm between the lintel profile and the ceiling profile, then the next CW profile follows the second door post from this short piece at a distance of 625 mm. This is easy to see in the picture.

Insulate the stud frame and plank with plasterboard

In the second part, you will find out how to add plasterboard panels and mineral wool insulation to the finished metal framework: Drywall: Planking with plasterboard. [Ha]

Photos: knob (8), wolfcraft (2), djd / Knauf building products (1)

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