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54" sheetrock

CloudHidden's picture

How likely is it that 54" sheetrock isn't available in a well-populated part of the continental US? I got a "talking" from a builder who didn't like my specifying 9' walls be/c of the 1' "waste" on the rock. I said I was thinking of 54" rock, and he said it's not available there. In my mind, I was thinking, "liar, liar, pants on fire," but I didn't say it. So, is 54" that hit-or-miss around the country? Or is he likely being lazy and just wants to stick with 48 from habit? Or something else? I could call the suppliers in his area, but I don't really like doing the "I told ya so" thing.

While we're at it, he said he can only get 10' metal studs. Every supplier web site I've seen lists other lengths, too, and says anything else is available. Is getting 9' studs that difficult? And does the price outweigh having to pay for 10' and then cut them each down?

(post #57748, reply #1 of 23)


We have 9 ft basement walls and used the 54" drywall. I found that MOST places did not carry it. However, I did find 2 or 3 drywall suppliers that did. That was in the Denver/Boulder area. I didn't call all of them, so maybe every drywall supplier carried it!

9 ft walls are so common anymore. It seems like most drywall suppliers would carry 54" but then again, who knows. I mean, it seemed much easier to hang 2 pieces of drywall rather than hang 3 pieces, one of which had to be cut.

I would call around and I'll bet you find it. The builder didn't have any qualms about "educating" you, so don't feel bad about returning the favor! LOL!

(post #57748, reply #2 of 23)

The 54" stuff is available around here at about half the places that sell drywall.

It's pretty expensive, too. But I think it's worth it.

If there is no wind, row. -- Latin Proverb

(post #57748, reply #3 of 23)

Cloud Hidden,

9' long drywall is an industry standard. Depending on amount of material ordered you can get drywall ordered to any length you want. This usually takes a minimum of a 1/2 stack (aprox. equivalent of 50 sheets 4' x 8' pieces).

You can also just lay down two rows of drywall and add a 1' rip.

9' metal studs are an industry standard, and any supply yard that stocks metal studs will have them.

I don't understand why you're customer is complaining. Have fun dealing with this person, just remember this is why you're paid the "big bucks".

          Cork in Chicago

Edited 7/17/2003 11:17:14 AM ET by cork

(post #57748, reply #4 of 23)


               In the Denver area we can get 54 drywall @ the Home Depot Supply, $13.00 a 12' sheet this week!

(post #57748, reply #5 of 23)

You reminded me of the fact that I could only find 54" drywall in 12 ft lengths. I wonder if that is true everywhere.

(post #57748, reply #7 of 23)


             I have only seen it in 12' lengths, in  1/2 & 5/8 . I have not seen 48 inch wide  drywall in the 14' & 16" lengths like you could find 15 years ago . Now it seem 8' & 12" is all you can find around here, even 10" are hard to find. Did you ever find a drywaller for your project? If not I could give you some names of people we use in the Denver area.

(post #57748, reply #10 of 23)

Names of drywallers would be great. Thanks!

Jim at Great White is working on this for me too. I really

appreciate the help!


(post #57748, reply #6 of 23)

We have a USG plant right here in River City (Jacksonville) and we can't get 54" rock. The supplier says just buy the 9' length we have in stock and install it vertically. I can get any length metal I need. Quoted a job a month ago that would need 18' studs. They had them.

(post #57748, reply #8 of 23)

Here in NJ most distributors carry the 54", if not, order it and they will have it in 7 days.  Used to be available in 14', now only in 12'.  Little more expensive but you save on finishing the seam, so the price is essentially a saving.  Studs are available in any length, even 8'6" can be ordered and you'll have them in 5 days.  Try to avoid standing board up, always better horizontally.

(post #57748, reply #12 of 23)

Hi Zano!

"Try to avoid standing board up, always better horizontally."

I've heard this mentioned on this board before, but don't remember the reasoning.  I thought that by standing the sheets up, butt joints were eliminated.  What are your thoughts?



(post #57748, reply #13 of 23)

I do a little drywall on small jobs that you can not get the rockers to bother with.  I usually hang vertical in a small room and get almost no butt joints. I think the pro rockers like to do the long runs on horizontal joints as it seems faster.  I guess that is less bending but you still have to work all those darn butt joints.

I just helped my daughter paint her cathedral ceiling great room and you could sure see every staggered butt.  Could be the quality of work.  I think that up and down a ladder for a continuous 12' + joint would be a problem.

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #57748, reply #14 of 23)

SR has grain. FHB did a sidebar on this in an article the other year. Cut a 2' x 4' piece widthwise and lengthwise from a sheet. Prop it up at the ends and let it sit. The one cut widthwise will sag more than the other, and thus needs more support when put on the wall.

(post #57748, reply #15 of 23)

SR has grain

True and under appreciated.  Also, its easier to tape & float long horizontal joints than many vertical ones.

Me, I prefer horizontal for two reasons over vertical.  One, the horizontal sheet spans more studs, which (seems) to give more rigidity (a vertical 48" sheet sits on only 4 studs).  Secondly, the next row of horizontal sheets can have the vertical joints staggered.  Which (might) add stiffness to the "diaphram" of the wall.

Will admit that it is mostly the way I learned to rock, so anything else just don't look right.

I may not be able to help you Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)

(post #57748, reply #17 of 23)


Horizontally is  a better installation as mentioned on other posts, the grain is stronger on the horizontal.  More of the rock is also secured to a srud.  Say 16" x 8' on stand up that's about 10.64 square feet that is not secured and will sag more than 16" x 4' horizontally, which is half of the square footage.  The bigger probl;em is trying to have level and flat seam joints on the vertical.  When you join two boards vertically on a stud, one is always higher than the other.  This always happens on wood and on high gauge steel studs.  That vertical seam is never straight as the trwo boards are not evenly aligned on the stuid.  Now, horizozntal seqams all always straight.   Also much easier to hang it horizontally. As far as butts, I have a way to make them flat, 8" wide and all done in 2 1/2 minutes.  I use about 1/10 of the mud in a mud pan for a butt joint.  If your interested, e-mail me privately and I'll  give you a site where it explains it all.

(post #57748, reply #19 of 23)

Thanks Zano, and everyone else.  Next job we will go back to horizontal.


(post #57748, reply #21 of 23)

Your welcome!  Another major problem with standups is the poor joining of the boards.  A wood stud is 1 1/2" wide, now the boards may be in the middle of the stud up on top, but when you come to the bottom, one may be hanging off.  One should at least nail or screw 3/8" from the end of the board.  Many times the fastener is on the edge of the board - that fastener is not holding anything.  When the wood shrinks, ya get a crack.  Now on light gauge steel studs which are 1 1/4" wide - good luck - only time will tell!

Got a small job repairing a basement leak, then they asked me to touch up the entire basement.  Walls are 7'6" high standups and the original finisher used mesh tape - well, 80% of the verticals have cracked!  Job was originally done 3 years ago!

Drywall Butt Seams (post #57748, reply #22 of 23)


My name is Matthew, and I'm a 19 year old learning my way through a fixer-upper house. Your post written 14 years ago caught my eye, and I'm wondering if there's any chance you still do drywall? You mentioned in your post about having a technique to finish butt seams easily, and I'm wondering if you're still willing to share that information. I'd appreciate any help you could give me.



(post #57748, reply #9 of 23)

How funny, we get our 54" sheets from Austin.  Altex stocks channel & studs in just about any length/width combination known.  We had no problem getting 24 footers (or 2 3/8 core-board studs, for that matter).

I may not be able to help you Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)

(post #57748, reply #11 of 23)

so whay does the builder care?

Just price it to get the job done....and hand U the bill....


I'd say the customer would be the one unhappy with the upcharge...then it's their decision....


Buck Construction   Pittsburgh,PA

 Fine Carpentery.....While U Waite                  

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #57748, reply #16 of 23)

The biggest reason for the cost difference on 54" drywall is the trucking costs.  With standard 48" sheets, the trucks can be loaded two bunks across and be 8' wide- standard load width.  With 54" board, you either load two wide and get an oversized permit for most areas, or you only go one bunk wide and get half the quantity on the truck.  Some suppliers aren't buying it yet since the demand isn't quite there yet.

On the install end, the added cost of the material is easily offset by the labor savings in hanging and taping.


"Brilliance!! That's all I can say- Sheer, unadulterated brilliance!!" Wile E. Coyote- Super Genius

(post #57748, reply #18 of 23)

My drywall sub contractor is a first class tradesman. He costs about 20% more than the other guy but the quality is worth it. He will go with the 54",12' sheets throughout. I use the dense pack cellulose insulation that tends to billow on the lids. He likes to use 5/8" for the lids because it will compress the billows better than the 1/2" sheets. It costs more but the final product is flawless. He says that 12' sheets are less work in the long run for the tapers. Ten years ago it was difficult to get 54" width sheets but now everyone stocks them in my neck of the woods.

Hanging drywall vertical is an amateur method and no self respecting rocker would do it unless the wall was less than 54" wide. The objective is always less seams. Vertical sheets will be much more work for the taper because instead of having the seam right in front of him(her), the seam requires a ladder or horse, making it stupidly time consuming.

We may be slow, But we're expensive.

Mike Callahan, Lake Tahoe, Ca.

(post #57748, reply #20 of 23)

Hi Cloud!

You guys are lucky, here in the Bahamas the only size drywall available is 4'x8'.  I import 4' x10' or 12' as needed.  Based on what I've learned here, I think it's time to try some of the big boys - 54" x 10' & 12'.  Do they make a 60" sheet, and do I really want to try and lift it?


I hate the resurection of 13 year old posts, but..... (post #57748, reply #23 of 23)

54" dry wall can only be shipped one unit wide on a truck. This essentially doubles the transportation costs and negates any labor savings.