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Green Basics

Video: How to Hang Airtight Drywall (3 of 3)

Hanging the Walls: Install polystyrene Energy Blocks behind electrical boxes, and cut back the cured spray foam before taping

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Justin: Hanging drywall on an exterior wall uses the same fundamentals as hanging the ceiling, but there are more holes: electrical outlets, windows, doors, and service chases. Before hanging the walls, cut back all of the canned foam applied to the ceiling perimeter, any obstructions around windows, and if not done on the pre-construction walk-through, seal all of the gaps between framing members. Myron: Remember, you want to keep things clean, because wherever the adhesive is going to be used, it won’t stick as well if it is dusty and dirty. We’re going to have a seam up here, and then another seam right down here. That way, our butted seams are falling in the window frame area. Justin: Again, the face of the studs gets a thick bead of adhesive. Windows get the royal treatment. Use both latex caulk and polyurethane construction adhesive. Myron: I’m going to be careful that when I apply the adhesive, I want it to actually intersect with the caulking that we have on here so that we get a continuous seal. You’ve probably noticed that I am really piling on the adhesive and the caulking. The tip here is: this is not the place to skimp on materials. Use plenty of it, because we really want to make a good seal. Justin: Place the left edge of the sheet into the corner and then lay the rest of it flat against the framing, caulk, and adhesive. Myron: Looks good. It’s important that when you fasten the drywall, you put it right into place without moving it around and smearing the adhesive. Let’s be careful not to smear it. I want to go right where I want to put the top edge in first. I’m good here. I know that we have used drywall adhesive…


  1. Jeremy Spencer | | #1

    Drywall air barrier video question
    Hi there,
    I don't quite why all the internal caulking to each stud is required. I can understand perimeter caulking, but once the joins in the drywall are taped and coated it forms a continuous air barrier, so don't you just need to focus on edges and penetrations? Am I understanding this correctly?
    - Jeremy Spencer

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Response to Jeremy Spencer
    You are correct. I agree with your suggested method, which complies with the traditional interpretation of the Airtight Drywall Approach.

    I think that Myron Ferguson's caulk-heavy method has more to do with a desire to adhere the drywall to the studs than any need for air sealing.

    If you want to read more about the traditional methods used for the Airtight Drywall Approach, you can check out my article on the topic, Airtight Drywall. In that article, I describe some of the locations that need sealing:

    "• Drywall perimeter. Use a continuous bead of caulk or drywall gaskets along the bottom plates and top plates of exterior walls, along the top plates of partition walls under insulated ceilings, and around the perimeter of all rough openings.

    "• Intersecting walls. On partition walls that intersect exterior walls, seal both sides of the stud nearest the intersection. With caulk, seal the crack between the first stud in a partition wall and the partition’s bottom plate and top plate.

    "• Windows and doors. Seal between window frames and window rough openings using low-expanding foam, gaskets, or backer rod and caulk. If your windows have drywall returns, install gaskets on the faces of the rough-opening studs (behind the drywall jamb extension) rather than the edges of the stud. Caulk window and door casings to the drywall."

  3. ChristaC | | #3

    flash and batt insulation
    how would spray foam/batt insulation change the need for air tight drywalling? Myron used batts in the walls and I think he said the ceiling was getting blown in insulation.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Response to Christa Campbell
    If you choose to insulate with the flash-and-batt method, the spray foam insulation layer creates a good air seal -- assuming, of course, that the spray foam installer is competent. The means that you don't need to follow the Airtight Drywall Approach if you are using flash-and-batt.

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