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Dry lining – cutting and fixing plasterboard

by Brett Hawkins features@algarveresident.com

Brett Hawkins is the Managing Director of GMT 24:7, the first Home Emergency Response Service in the Algarve, delivering a rapid response to any household emergency, 24:7.

Series Seven:

Dry lining – cutting and fixing plasterboard

In this series, I demonstrate how to cut and fix plasterboard. The advantage of dry lining with plasterboard is that it can be used without a skim coat of finish plaster. By simply taping and filing the joints a smooth surface ready for decoration can be achieved.  

So here’s your GMT 24:7 Handy Hints step-by-step guide to cutting and fixing plasterboard:  

• Measure the position of the timber studs and mark these on the plasterboard using a pencil and straight edge.  

• Position your first board with the longest edge aligned along the centre of the vertical timber stud.  

• Fix the board to the studs using drywall screws, or galvanised clout nails – screws offer superior grip and fixing.  

• Drive the screws/nails in so that they are just below the surface.  

• Apply fixings at 300mm centres along all the timber studs, no closer than 10mm from the edge of the board.  

• Fix the plasterboard sheets, butting the joints along the vertical studs as you go.  

• Cutting plasterboard:  Lay it on a clean flat surface.  



Measure and mark the required width.  

• Lay a steel straight-edge along your marking and use a Stanley knife to cut into the surface, just enough to cut the paper and a little way into the plaster.  

• Lift the board and snap it back from the cut line, neatly breaking the board leaving only the paper on the underside. Run a Stanley knife along the underside to finish.  Note, plasterboard is quite fragile, so handle it carefully.  

• Cutting a right angle section (e.g. around a door opening):  Measure the shape and mark it on the board.  

• Cut the shortest line with a standard saw, to the point where the two lines join.  

• Cut the other line as before and snap it back.  

• Tidy the ragged sawn underside by running a blade edge backwards along the cut.  

• Making cut outs within the plasterboard, e.g. around electrical sockets: Measure and mark the position of the socket. Use a pad saw to cut around the perimeter. Hold the pad saw at a slight angle so that the back of the opening is slightly larger than the front, giving extra clearance to make it easier to align and fix the board.  

My next article will demonstrate how to tape and fill the joints to achieve that all important smooth finish, ready to decorate.  

With more than 15 years experience in the Algarve, GMT 24:7 are experts in all areas of general building and property maintenance. Call Lagos office on 282 098 600, Almancil office on 289 392 745,

email brett.hawkins@gmt247.eu or visit www.gmt247.eu