Summary: Learn how to dry line a wall and dry line a masonry wall.
Dry lining is an alternative to plastering and is often used on stud walls. But it is also suitable for masonry walls. Dry lining uses the plasterboard surface as the decorative area or the surface that is wallpapered or painted. Dry lining plasterboard differs to ordinary plasterboard as it has a slightly recessed area at the edge of the board, which is also tapered.
There are three methods of fixing the plasterboard to the wall:
- Dabbing out
- Battening out with timber
- Battening out with metal channels
Dabbing out method
This method involves sticking the plasterboard to the wall using dabs of dry wall adhesive. The dabbing out method is not suitable for external walls prone to damp.
- Position a sheet of plasterboard cut to the height of the room against the wall to mark out your starting position.
- From this rough mark use a spirit level to produce vertical lines where the edges of the plasterboard will meet.
- Then add further guide lines every 400mm (1ft 4in).
- Mark the width of the board 10mm (3/8in) on the ceiling by snapping a chalk line from one end of the wall to the other. The chalk line will indicate where the front edge of the board will be.
- A plumb line can then be dropped from the mark on the ceiling to the floor. This will serve as an additional guideline for the front edge of the board.
- Mix up enough dry wall adhesive for one board at a time.
- Use a plastering trowel spread a continuous line of adhesive at the top and bottom of the wall.
- Apply dabs of adhesive at regular intervals down the length of the wall keeping inside the chalk line that indicates the edge of the board. Each dab should be around 75mm (3in) wide 300mm (1ft) long.
- Keeping the edges of the board in line with the guidelines on the wall, floor and ceiling, press the first board in position using wedges under its bottom edge to keep it flush.
- Use a straight edge or darby to gently tap the board into the adhesive.
- Repeat this process for the other boards, ensuring that where sheets of plasterboard meet there should be no gaps visible between the joint.
The batten method involves fixing the plasterboard to a timber framework that has been fixed to the wall.
- Mark the position of the vertical battens on the wall, which should be 600mm (2ft) apart. Use a sheet of plasterboard to ensure a batten is fixed in the position where the two edges of a sheet of plasterboard will join.
- Cut horizontal battens to fit along the top and bottom of the wall.
- Fix the battens to the wall with masonry nails or masonry screws.
- Cut the vertical battens and fix them to the wall.
- Check the fixing surface of the framework is flush. Pushing small offcuts or shims behind the timber battens can rectify any part of the frame that is uneven.
- Nail or screw the plasterboard to the framework with a fixing every 150mm (6in). Only fix the plasterboard to every alternate vertical batten, the other vertical battens are there to provide the new wall with support. But remember that where the edges of two sheets of plasterboard meet, they must be fixed to a vertical batten.
- When fixing the sheets of plasterboard to the frame there should be no gaps visible between the joints.
Metal track method
The metal track method of dry lining is a modern version of the wooden batten method.
- Mark the position of the vertical lines on the wall exactly in the same way as you would if you were fixing timber battens.
- Using a hacksaw or tinsnips, cut horizontal tracks to fit along the top and bottom of the wall.
- Fix the tracks with masonry nails or screws.
- Cut vertical tracks to fit between the horizontal tracks. These will be attached with brackets to the wall.
- Position each bracket so that the centre of the bracket is over the line indicating the position of the vertical metal tracks.
- Fix it to the wall through the centre of the bracket using masonry screws.
- Place the vertical tracks on the brackets and secure them by folding the wings of the bracket around the track.
- Attach all the tracks in this way, securing them as tightly to the wall as possible. Using pliers, bend any bracket edges back to ensure the tracks are flush.
- Fix the plasterboard by screwing it into the tracks. First screw the edges at the top and bottom of the plasterboard to the metal frame. Remember that where the edges of two sheets of plasterboard meet, they must be overlapping the vertical metal track. There should be no gaps visible between the joints.
Covering joints and fixings
When the plasterboard is fixed to the wall you need cover the joints with a jointing compound, which is applied in three layers.
- Cut and stick a length of jointing tape over the first joint using the jointing compound as the adhesive. Allow this to dry.
- Apply the first layer of jointing compound to the joint applying it thinly using a trowel or taping knife. At this stage you can also fill any screw holes.
- After the first layer of compound has dried, apply another thin layer spreading its edges just beyond the first layer. Let it dry.
- Using a caulking blade, apply the third layer, once again feathering the compound beyond the joint.
- Smooth over the joint with a moist jointing sponge.
- When the compound is hard, sand the surface smooth.
- The walls can then be painted with a proprietary board sealant.
- When you come to an external corner apply a thin, narrow strip of compound to both sides of the corner.
- Cut the jointing tape to the required length and fix it over the corner’s edge, folding it around onto the adjoining walls.
- Apply a thin layer of jointing compound with a taping knife over the tape. Feathering the compound into the walls.
- When the compound has dried, smooth with sandpaper.
The main problem with dry lining is when you have to cut the plasterboard to fit and have no recessed and tapered edge. To overcome this, apply the compound to the flush joints and smooth when it has dried. The finished joint may be slightly proud of the rest of the wall’s surface, but so slight it will not be noticeable.
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Chalk line
- Plumb line
- Plastering trowel
- Panel saw
- Claw hammer
- Tin snips
- Trowel OR taping knife
- Caulking blade
- Jointing sponge
- Dry wall adhesive
- Timber batten
- Masonry nails OR masonry screws
- Metal tracking
- Jointing tape
- Jointing compound
- Plasterboard sealant
- Building a metal framed stud wall
- Building a stud partition wall
- Creating an arch
- Closing a fireplace
- Laying ceramic floor tiles
- How to cut pipe