Should There Be a Gap Between Drywall Sheets? (Explained!)

When it comes to drywall, there are a lot of factors to consider. One important factor is the size of the gap between sheets. While it might not seem like a big deal, the truth is that the gap size can have a major impact on the overall quality of your drywall job.

There should always be a gap between Drywall sheets. Weather changes, and this causes your wall to expand and contract. Drywall sheets that are too close will start to crack and eventually break because of this.  A 1/8 -inch gap is therefore ideal and also necessary to prevent that.

You’ve probably heard the 1/8inch gap rule before. But sometimes, homeowners tend to bend this gap rule and don’t think about the consequences

Is Gap Between Drywall Sheets Necessary?

Even though installing drywall tightly might look like a good idea. Because you don’t have to use much drywall mud to cover the joints to get an even surface, this approach, unfortunately, creates several issues.

If your drywall sheets are butt together tightly, they might crack and break apart due to pressure on your sheets because of weather changes which cause your walls to expand and contract.

For instance, if you don’t leave a gap between two drywall panels, they will more likely break during the expansion and contraction of the wall. 

Moreover, you’ll need to apply drywall mud over your panels, creating a bumpy surface. So, if you don’t leave a gap between two drywall panels, it would be, in fact, impossible to achieve a smooth finish.

What Happens If You Don’t Leave Any Gap Between Drywall Sheets?

Well, we’ve already discussed briefly that they will eventually crack and break apart due to weather changes. But that’s not all. Not leaving any gap between sheetrock can also lead to a crappy finish. This is because you cannot finish Drywall installation without applying Drywall mud and tape. 

So, if there is no space for drywall mud to settle, the tape will create an uneven surface, making it impossible to sand, prime, and paint your drywall!

How Big Should Drywall Gap Be?

As the general rule, you should leave a 1/8-inch gap between two drywall panels. A 1/8-inch gap is easy to cover and hide using the drywall compound and drywall tape. Any adhesive (drywall tape or mesh) can cover this big gap without using too much drywall mud.

The gap between two drywall panels will determine which Drywall material you should use. For a gap less than 1/2 inch, you can use a regular old joint compound without worrying about consequences. So, a 1/8-inch gap is actually an economical option as well.

If for some reason, you have to create a bigger gap between two drywall panels, you should stick with a 1/4-inch of the gap. You can use drywall mud directly for a gap of less than 1/24 inch.

How Big Of A Drywall Gap Is Too Big?

Sometimes in certain circumstances, a 1/4 inch gap between sheetrock is also acceptable. However, any gap bigger than 1/4 inch is considered too big.

For example, leaving a 1/2-inch gap between two sheets will force you to use a lot of joint compounds, and you’d have a hard time getting an even surface. This is not only a hassle, but it’ll also cost you extra money. Moreover, you cannot use joint compound directly on a 1/2-inch gap. Instead, you’ll need to use drywall mesh tape to offer additional strength, which is not a budget-friendly product.

The problem with the drywall compound is that it doesn’t dry immediately. Even a high-quality drywall compound will take at least 24 hours to drywall under conditions of a temperature of 700 and 70% humidity. So, if you create a bigger gap, your drywall will be more vulnerable to cracks and failure.

Furthermore, if you create a bigger gap, the drywall mud will chip away, allowing drywall tape to flex. This will compromise the integrity of your entire drywall.

How to Fill a Larger Drywall Gap?

There are some scenarios where you’ll need to leave a bigger gap between two drywall panels. In that case, you’ll need to fill the gap using one of the following products:

Plaster of Paris

This one is certainly not for beginners. You’ll need to have some experience if you want to cover bigger gaps using plaster of Paris. You’ll need to apply this material in a one-time coat. Plus, you need to be extra careful and precise as it’s not sandable.

To use plaster of Paris over drywall, it’s recommended to make the powder sticky using water. Afterward, use a thin layer of the paste to cover the gap. You can fill the gap using a putty knife!

Caulk with Filler Rope

This one is the best method to fill bigger drywall gaps. High-performance caulk with filler rope hides the gaps perfectly.

For this method, fill the gap with filler rope and crop it from the ending side. Afterward, use a putty knife to cover the rope with caulk!

Expansion Foam 

You can fill even 1-inch gaps between two drywall panels with expansion foam. Using expansion foam is quite straightforward. All you need to do is spray the material on the gap. It dries quickly and looks like popcorn after drying.

Once the expansion foam dries out, you can remove the unnecessary foam easily. Once done, apply the first layer of drywall mud to cover it. Afterward, you can use drywall tape over drywall mud to obtain a smooth surface.


Do Drywall Sheets Need To Be Staggered?

Yes, drywall panels should be staggered. By doing so, you can make sure the joints in one row don’t match up with the joints in the next row. At the same time, it provides additional strength and makes the drywall installation process simple!

Do You Leave A Gap Between Drywall And Floor?

Yes, you must leave at least 1/2 inch of the gap between the drywall and the floor. With this practice, you can stop worrying about expansion and contraction. Moreover, as floors are known to be wet, you’ll also protect your drywall from moisture damage and mold growth. If you wish to know more, check out this ‘Can drywall touch the floor?’ article. 

Should There Be A Gap Between Ceiling And Wall Drywall?

Your drywall must support your ceiling, meaning the drywall should be installed tightly against the ceiling. If there is a gap between the ceiling and drywall, you’ll need to cover it using joint compound and mesh drywall tape.

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