Should Drywall Joints Be Tight? All You Need To Know

If you’ve ever done any drywalling, you know that one of the most important things is ensuring your joints are tight. But what does that mean, exactly? And how do you achieve it?

Drywall joints should not be tight as they may break due to changes in temperature and humidity. You should leave a 1/8 inch space ideally or, if needed, a 1/4 inch gap. Leaving a large gap will, on the other hand, ultimately cause them to crumble, crack or even break.

Even though it sounds logical to tighten joints so the installation would be neat and tight, it’s unfortunately not the case with Drywall joints.

Should Drywall Joints Be Tight?

No, Leaving a gap between drywall joints is highly advised. Tight drywall joints are certainly desirable. You’ll need to use less drywall compound to cover the joint by butting drywall joints. However, tight joints can cause several issues. In this situation, using an old compound might be ideal since you don’t need much.

What happens If My Drywall Joints Are Too Tight?

If two drywall joints are snuggled side-by-side, they will break due to temperature and humidity changes. For instance, walls expand and contract as the weather changes. If drywall joints are too tight, the expansion and contraction will put a lot of pressure on the panels, causing them to break.

By leaving a gap, you can avoid this very quickly. Yes, you’ll need to use extra drywall mud (if you’re unsure how much you need, read this guide) to cover the joints and obtain a smooth finish, but it will promote expansion and contraction, protecting your drywall from weather changes. If by any chance you’ve decided to caulk your joints, this article would greatly interest you.

Alternatively, you can also use thin wooden strips and drywall rasp to square up cut edges. This will remove excess material, which allows drywall panels to fit properly.

How Tight Should Drywall Joints Be?

You must be diligent about keeping at least 1/8 inch of space between joint compounds to avoid any damage. 

As the general rule, factory joints should be tight to the point where making them tighter raises the ridge of the joint tape. 

This practice will save tape time. Alternatively, create a mock tape joint if you work with non-factory joints. To do so, you can bevel the edge from the drywall joint using a utility knife. 

How Big Of Gaps Can You Have In Drywall?

You don’t want to leave the drywall joint too loose. If joints are too loose, the drywall will crumble, crack, and ultimately break. Alternatively, if the gap between drywall panels is too big, the joint compound will chip away, and the drywall tape will flex. 

Even though a ⅛ gap is ideal, you may leave 1/4 inch of the gap in some circumstances. However, you should always aim for a 1/8-inch gap if you can. That said, if you must leave a bigger gap between drywall panels, 1/4 inch of space is fine.

Compared to a 1/8-inch gap, it would be a little difficult to cover a 1/4-inch gap using drywall mud and compound, but it’s doable. If for some reason, you want to leave a 1/2-inch gap between drywall panels, you must use some sort of filling. Otherwise, your drywall will crumble and break apart.

Some Mistakes To Avoid While Installing Drywall

Drywall installation is both an art and a science. While it’s recommended to follow a specific order (so not backward) to install drywall, some installers like to do experiments, leading to errors that can cost you a lot of money.

While installing drywall, you need to be as careful as possible because even a little error can cause the project to get out of hand. To give you a better perspective, below, we have compiled a list of some of the most common mistakes that beginners make while installing drywall:

Creating Too Many Joints

Drywall panels are available in different sizes. Two of the most popular sizes for drywall sheets include 4×8 feet and 4×12 feet. Most builders prefer 4×8 drywall sheets as they are lightweight and easy to carry and handle.

However, if you are working on a wider surface, you’ll need to use too many panels to cover the entire area, creating too many joints. The more joints involved in a project, the more difficult it will be to cover them. So, although larger panels are heavier and more expensive, they will make the job easier!

Placing Joints Next to Windows & Doors

To get a clean look, most beginners try to line up the edge of a window or door with the edge of a drywall panel. This practice will eventually break with your drywall panels.

As walls expand and contract, drywall joints adjacent to the corners will weaken in the future, causing them to crack, and don’t think by caulking Drywall corners that, this problem will go away. Instead of making joints next to windows, you should notch drywall around the opening.

Screwing Before Trimming

Always trim the openings before securing drywall to the framing. This is because outlet holes do not always fit how you cut them at first. So, if you screw the drywall (make sure to use the right type of screw) and trim it, the panel will crack around the junction box. If you want to know if it’s to Drywall over junction box, you’d be quite surprised with the answer.

Fastening Too Deep

While securing the drywall to the framing, make sure you are not driving screws too deep. If you do, drywall screws will break the paper surface, affecting the holding power of the fasteners. To avoid this mistake, you should screw the drywall only about a quarter past the paper surface.


Once the joint compound dries, you must sand the surface to get a smooth finish. Some DIYers over-sand the surface to eliminate imperfections. Over-sanding drywall will damage the fiberglass or paper tape that hides the seams, forcing you to apply more drywall compounds and retape the surface.


Should Drywall Corners Overlap?

Drywall covers should never overlap as they will leave bumps, making it impossible to obtain an even surface. Instead, it would be best to leave a little gap between corners. You can use fill these gaps using drywall compound during the float and tape process.

Should You Leave A Gap Between Drywall Sheets?

Yes, it’s advised to leave at least a 1/8-inch gap between two drywall sheets. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about expansion and contraction. You can use drywall mud and tape to cover this gap afterward.

Should Drywall Corners Be Tapered?

Absolutely not! You should never have tapered edges on either inside or outside corners. Instead, hang the drywall perpendicular to the studs and leave at least a 1/8-inch gap between the two sheets. This practice will make it easy for you to install corner beads.

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