Hanging Tips & Techniques
Using a Deadman
A deadman is a temporary brace made of two lengths of 2×3 or 2×4 joined together and braced to form a T. Cut one of these as long as the ceiling is high plus 1 inch (but minus 1 1/2 inches for the crosspiece) and the other about 3 feet long. When hanging ceiling drywall, wedge the deadman beneath a panel to hold it until it can be fastened.
You may find it necessary to use two deadman on a ceiling panel, especially if you're working alone. If so, make sure that you oppose the angles of the two uprights; tilting them the same way creates an unstable situation.
Using a Stepladder
Stepladders are made from three different materials; wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Drywallers tend to prefer aluminum for its low cost and light weight / durability. Ladders a rated according to the weight they can safely hold. Type III ladders can support 200 pounds per rung; Type II, 225 pounds per, Type I, 250 pounds per, and Type IA, 300 pounds. A Type II is fine for most residential work. Remember, howeverthat drywall is heavy; if you weight 200 pounds and lift a 54 pounds 1/2 inch panel, you'll be stretching the limit of a Type II ladder.
Using a Panel Lifter
A panel lifter allows you to raise a panel an inch or so off the floor while keeping your hands free. You'll use this handy device when installing wall panels near the floor. (Floor-level panels are not installed resting on the floor, but rather an inch or so above it. lever with a lip on one end that tucks under the panel. A panel lifter also gives you fairly careful control when positioning the wallboard, especially if the panel above is set. You can buy a panel lifter or make one from a pair of 3-inch-wide lengths of pine. In a pinch you can use a pry bar and block of wood.
Using a Panel Jack / Hoist
A panel jack is a real work-saving device when drywalling ceilings. By mounting a panel and lifting it up into position, you have a near effortless way to provide ceiling-panel installation.
Shoe stilts take some time to get used to, right, and they can be awkward and dangerous. But when mastered, they can provide easy access and mobility to high areas when hanging drywall.