Home ProjectsExterior Project Workshop: Drywall Edition

Project Workshop: Drywall Edition

by Haylie

Here we go! It’s time to make the four walls a room! This will be the bulk of the project in finishing our workshop. Today is the day that we talk about installing drywall.

Ok so let’s start things off with a disclaimer (I know, off to a good start, right?).  Good intentions and time constraints aren’t friends. We wanted to be those fearless homeowners who jump in and learn as they go and feel accomplished but real life hit us and it hit HARD.  So, understanding our limitations we kept to the things we understood which in this job was the demo, installing insulation, and hanging the drywall.


In case you missed the inspiration and game plan post a few weeks back, you can check out how pretty this space will eventually be. In the meantime, here are a few before photos.

This was Cole’s workspace. We boxed everything up and removed his work desk, the pegboard and the shelf above it. Because there is no extra space in our house we boxed everything in new plastic totes with lids and put them under our deck while we are in the midst of this renovation.  Anything that didn’t fit into the totes went into our crawl space. Highly flammable stuff like spray paint, propane, and stains were boxed and left in the workshop.

This is the wall opposite Cole’s workbench. This is where most of our storage was but in our finished space this area will be my domain!! I’m very excited to have a workspace of my own.  A lot of this stuff we either got rid of, found a better home for, ended up in boxes, or is under our deck until after this renovation is finished. Once it was all packed away we removed the shelves above, which temporarily opened up the space tremendously!
This is the wall that you see when you first walk in. We removed all the recessed shelving and packed all this stuff away. We were also using our rafters for storage. Because the rafters opened up to the space above the carport ceiling which had no insulation, all the heat from the roof funneled itself directly into our workshop. This made the temperature in the Carolina heat nearly unbearable inside our workspace. We had already replaced the door for this space and upgraded it for a more energy-efficient one that also has a proper weather seal.  So the next step was to close off the rafters and give the space a proper ceiling.


There were a million different types of insulation out there but the reason we chose the insulation we did was a combination of cost vs R-value; mostly cost though.  Because the room itself is not heated or cooled by our AC/Heat, we wanted something that would provide some level of solid insulation.

We chose half-inch polystyrene foam board insulation for the walls.  This provided a solid R3 value to the walls which combined with the drywall we would be using would give us about R4-R4.5 on the walls.  This is more than enough and will very likely retain the heat/cool in the room when the room is in use. Most common household walls are built with R13 in the walls but to achieve that the cost for insulation went up dramatically and the payoff did not seem worth it overall to us.

You may be asking yourself, “What is r-value?”  R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of the material. In theory, the higher the R-value, the greater that resistance. We found this site really helpful when determining the best materials for the job. For more information on R-value check it out.

Here’s what we used:

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Straight edge
  • Polystyrene insulation
  • Utility knife
  • Reflective insulation tape

Step 1: Measure the space between each stud; both the height and the width. 

Step 2: Measure the polystyrene to the dimensions of the space between the studs. Mark it with a marker.

Step 3:  Cut on your marks where you measured using a straight edge and utility knife.

Step 4: Press the cut polystyrene into the space. If it breaks or cracks use reflective insulation tape to seal the crack.


There was a good number of different brands of drywall out there for us to choose from just like the insulation. Our main priorities were the strength, sound deadening, and potential R-Value gain. The product that met all our requirements was the Gold Bond Purple Gypsum Board(drywall).

This stuff has really solid sound insulation, is extremely strong due to a patented build process and the R-value was about R1-2. The cost was alright as well considering all the benefits it offered.

Here’s what we used:

  • Drywall Saw – for cutting drywall
  • Box Cutter (with lots of blades) – for cutting foam board and drywall
  • Large Level – for drawing straight lines
  • Markers
  • Tape Measure
  • Drywall Screws
  • Spray Foam Insulation – for small gaps and corners
  • Drywall Tape
  • Drywall Compound Knife
  • Drywall Compound
  • Sanding Paper
  • Sanding Block

Installing the drywall:

We started on one wall and for the most part worked our way around. We tried to do all the areas where we could apply full sheets first and then added the smaller/special cuts. Our first board was added on the bottom of the wall. Once we got it fastened, we used a straight edge or level to mark where all the studs are. Once the whole wall is covered in drywall it’s difficult to tell if you are placing your screws in the right place.

Have I ever told you guys how amazing my husband is? Have I ever told you that he is the most patient and kind person I know? Well, let me tell ya. He is the bee’s knees! He’s amaze-balls! He’s the bomb.com.  He did all this drywall himself and did the ceiling with the help of a friend. This was his first attempt at drywall and while it might not have been the most efficient method he did it and he did an amazing job.

Ideally, the name of the game here is the fewer seams the better. Your drywall will be stronger, more effective and it will be a ton easier to tape and mud the seams. With that said, Cole did the best he knew how and he did it without help for the most part and I am so thankful that he did the work.Side note: You may notice the difference of the lighting from the before photos to now. The old ones needed an upgrade so we swapped them out. I’ll touch on that a little more in a later post. Given that we may have a handful or two of more seams that we should have that meant that we were going to need to spend even more time on the taping and mudding.
As you may know, Cole and I both work full-time jobs and side jobs too. On top of working 40 hour weeks, I photograph weddings and create watercolor house renders for local real-estate agents. Which means 40 hours a week plus no weekends to work on house stuff equals… time to call the pros.  Since we have no extra time this is where we sought out help and found a local handyman who was willing to help finish the job and get us ready for paint.

He and his team mudded and taped all the seams and thank goodness for them because it took them 3 full days to complete the job. There is no way we would have been able to get it all done with our hectic schedules. Unfortunately, our busy schedules kept us away from the project so I can’t even give you a synopsis of what was done. All I know is a lot of layers and a lot of sanding. Poor guys were white with dust from head to toe every day when they left. If you are looking for step by step instructions there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube that we watched before when we were feeling ambitious and thought we would do it all ourselves.

We did have to give the walls a good sanding and cleaning before we could paint it but we were able to knock it out in a few hours after work. After all was said and done this is what the space looked like after it had been cleaned and primed.

We deliberated the decision to hand over the reigns and the second we booked him to finish the job we were instantly 10-15lbs lighter. We still have a bunch of work ahead of us but with the walls done we can actually get in there and start putting the space back together and start on the storage challenge. We are so excited for what is next in this project! We can’t wait to share it with you.

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