Hang Drywall Vertical or Horizontal – Is Horizontally or Vertically Better?

If you don’t want to see unsightly seams on your drywalls, you should pay attention to their correct installation. In hanging drywall vertical or horizontal – is horizontally or vertically better?

Horizontally hanging drywalls lessens the seams’ lineal footage by around 25%. Keeping the seams’ footage to a minimum will lessen the taping. It will also result in drywalls that look better. Horizontal hanging also lessens the problem of bowed studs because the drywalls can flow over the framing.

On commercial installations, fire codes usually require seams to fall on the full length of the framing. That situation requires vertical hanging of the drywall. On residential installations, with walls nine feet high or shorter, horizontal hanging is the norm.

Read on to learn more if it is better to hang drywall horizontal or vertical and other information that will help you choose which of the two is better for your situation.

Hang Drywall Vertical or Horizontal

Hang Drywall Vertical or Horizontal

Correctly Hanging Drywall Improves Overall Quality and Durability

If you want robust and high quality, and visually appealing drywalls, you need to know how to hang them correctly. Hanging the drywall in the right direction makes a lot of difference in their overall quality and durability.

Reduce Lineal Footage by Around 25%

You will reduce their seams’ lineal footage by around 25% seams if you hang drywalls horizontally. The minimum footage results in reduced taping and better-looking drywalls. Hanging them horizontally will also enable the drywall to flow over the framing. That will lessen the problem created by bow studs.

Manner of Hanging Depends on Purpose

Whether you will hang drywall horizontally or vertically depends on what you want to use it for. Are you using the drywall for your business or for your house? If it is for commercial use, fire codes require the seams to fall on the full length of the framing. In that case, you have to hang the drywall vertically.

Hang the Drywall Horizontally in Your Home

But if you intend to use the drywall in your home, you have to hang it horizontally. That’s the usual way they do it for residential installations. It seems that for 9 feet or shorter walls, which most home walls are, horizontal hanging of drywalls offers certain benefits.

That said, horizontally hanging drywalls is easier since you’ll only worry about fewer seams. When the drywall is hung vertically, it is also easier to access the top of the wall when the job is finished. The good thing about vertical hanging is that it covers the top and the bottom of the framing.

Things You Need to Consider

You need to consider several things when faced with the question: is it better to hang drywall vertical or horizontal? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

1. Questions You Need to Note

  1. Are you hanging the drywalls in your office or inside your home?
  2. Are you hanging it for a ceiling or for a wall?
  3. What is the type of drywall are you using?
  4. How high is the wall that you are hanging the drywall to?

2. Follow the Fire Codes

You also need to consider that you can be required to follow the fire codes in hanging the drywall. Fire codes determine how you can hang them, especially in commercial establishments.

3. Weight of the Insulation

Insulation is also one of the things you should consider. When measuring the drywall, you need to keep this factor in mind and choose the best way to hang it. It is the weight of the insulation that can affect your choice.

For instance, a typical 1/2 inch drywall can support up to 1.6 pounds per square foot. In contrast, a 1/2 inch interior ceiling board and a 1/2 inch lightweight wallboard can support up to 2.2 pounds per square foot.

Loose-fill Cellulose vs Blown-in Fiberglass Insulation

Suppose you want a point of reference for the weights of different insulating materials, check out the details below:

  • Loose-fill cellulose insulation is slightly over 2 pounds per square foot,
  • Blown-in fiberglass insulation weighs about 0.8 pounds per square foot.

You can apply gypsum boards perpendicularly where their long edges are at right angles to the framing members. You can also hang them parallel to the framing. But fire-rated partitions are usually hung in parallel.

Again, hang drywall vertical or horizontal? Fire codes for commercial buildings require seams on the frame’s entire length. So, in this case, you should vertically hang the drywall. Meanwhile, for residential purpose, drywall on the walls are horizontally hung.

Advantages of Vertically Hanging Drywalls

hang drywall vertical or horizontal basement

There are several reasons why people prefer to hang drywall vertically. Here are some of them:

1. Adds Strength to the Structure

One significant advantage of horizontally hanging drywalls is that they add strength to the structure. When you hang drywall in a longer direction, it will, in itself, become stronger. This will also reduce the chances of getting damaged or sagging over time.

2. Drywall Lasts Longer

Drywalls last longer when you vertically hang them. So, you will save money and effort since you will use it for a long time before you need to replace it. For non-load bearing walls, vertically hanging drywalls is the best.

3. Faster Hanging

You will be able to hang them faster as well. Vertical hanging will be faster for walls 4 feet wide or less because this will result in a single sheet without any joint to make.

4. Seams Are Less Visible

Every drywall that you will hang vertically or perpendicularly will float over the framing members. This enables uneven trusses or joists to blend in with the drywall.

Vertically hanging the drywall will also help if the framing’s center spacing is off because you can just cut back to the previous framing member. This is not possible if you hang the drywall horizontally or in parallel.

5. More Pleasing to Look At

Vertically hung drywall looks more pleasing because there will be no butt joints between the non-beveled edges. These edges can form 4 feet long humps, which you can see if you will scrutinize the drywall.

6. Other Notable Advantages

Vertical hanging will bridge the irregularities in the spacing and alignment of the framing members. This hanging style offers enhanced bracing strength because every board can tie more frame members together than horizontal drywall hanging.

Advantages of Horizontally Hanging Drywalls

horizontal or vertical drywall

If your wall is no more than 9 feet tall or shorter, the recommended method is to hang the drywall horizontally. Most residential structures have walls that are this high. This style of drywall hanging offers several benefits to homeowners.

Here are some of them:

1. Easier to Finish

When you hang drywall horizontally, you will have a horizontal seam that ranges from 48 inches to 54 inches from the bottom of the floor. This means you will have an easier job of finishing the wall. You can easily make a uniform wall because the top is easier to reach.

You will have to reach high and bend down low to finish the job with the vertical hanging method. Incidentally, some drywalls are very long. They are made that way to cover walls with just one board.

Some gypsum drywalls are available in lengths of up to 16 feet and 54 inches wide. These drywalls can cover walls that are nine feet high. These long drywalls, when hung vertically, will be harder to finish than if they were hung horizontally.

If you hang the drywall vertically, you will have to reach more. You will put additional strain on your body doing that. But if you will hang drywalls horizontally, you will be able to finish the job with just a few pieces. The horizontal joints on the wall also provide a more convenient height for finishing.

2. Hides Uneven Studs

Horizontal hanging of drywalls will also enable the drywall to flow over the framing. In that way, the bowed studs will not pose much of a problem. But its advantage over vertical hanging is: when a seam is placed on a bowed stud, it will not be noticeable because there will be no bump in the wall.

You will quickly notice the seam if you hang the drywall vertically with a seam placed on a bowed stud. You will avoid this situation if you hang the drywall horizontally.

3. Reduce Lineal Footage and Seams

Vertically hanging drywalls will reduce lineal footage of joints that will be treated by as much as 25%. By keeping the seams’ footage to a minimum, you will be doing less taping. The finished job will also look better.

4. Adds Strength to the Structure

Some builders hang drywalls horizontally to add strength to the structure. This method connects as many studs as possible together on just one sheet of drywall. So, the structure can more resist the shearing forces on the wall.

It is also possible to optimize strength if you offset the joint. This method is similar to adding a diagonal brace from the lower corner of the lower sheet to the opposite upper corner of the top’s sheet.

More on Hanging Drywalls

The rules you need to follow concerning hanging drywall vertically or horizontally are not hard and fast rules. You can bend them depending on the actual conditions of the job. What is the exception to the rules? It is when the floor-to-ceiling height is very short.

If this is the actual condition of the room, you can hang the drywall vertically. By hanging the drywall vertically, you will be able to avoid the problem of butted seams on your ceiling. However, be sure that the following scenarios are present before you do this:

  1. There should be appropriate spacing or distances between the ceiling joists.
  2. In case you are using a 1/2-inch drywall for the ceiling, you can hang it perpendicularly as long as the joists are at least 24 inches apart. If you want to hang them in parallel, ensure the spacing is no more than 16 inches.
  3. If you want to use parallel or horizontal drywall hanging, you should use a drywall you can use for center spacing.
  4. Consider carefully if you want to use water-based textures. If you are applying them, the procedure may need certain elements added to the drywall to prevent it from sagging.
  5. You cannot install heavy things after the drywall is installed that would make it sag.

Conclusion: Hang Drywall Vertical or Horizontal

If you hang drywalls horizontally, you will reduce the lineal footage of the seams by around 25%. This will also minimize taping because the seam’s footage is kept minimum. The walls will also look better after completing the job.

You will also avoid problems developing with bowed studs since the drywalls can flow over the framing.

Vertically hanging drywalls offer some advantages as well. Generally, you are better off with horizontal hanging of drywall if you do it in your home. But if it is for commercial establishments, vertical hanging of drywall is the usual way it is done.

Horizontally hanging drywalls lessens the seams’ lineal footage by around 25%. Keeping the seams’ footage to a minimum lessens the taping.