Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Drywall makes it easy to produce massive-looking details
such as these arches. Note, however, that it's best not to mix
different styles of arches as has been done here.
Gypsum board—commonly known as "drywall" or "sheetrock"—has taken a lot of hits over the years, but despite its low-rent reputation, it's a marvelously adaptable interior finish. It’s relatively lightweight, easy to work, and lends itself to a variety of complex shapes.

With gypsum board, it's easy to create dramatic interior effects such as coffers, vaults and arches on even the tightest budget. All that’s required is furring (false framing) made from ordinary lumber, and a clear sense of the interior effect you’re after. To wit:

Wood furring or false framing is typically used to provide
a structure for attaching the gypsum board.
There are also many products that make it easier
to create arches and other details.
•  To make walls look more substantial, use furring and gypsum board to increase the “reveal” or thickness of the wall at openings such as archways. In many modern homes, the reveal is only about 4 1/2” (the thickness of a standard 2x4 partition)—one reason for the notoriously flimsy look of many postwar homes. Increasing this thickness to 8” or even 12” will produce a very dramatic effect of mass. Since your eye can only judge a wall’s thickness where it’s penetrated, you don’t necessarily have to furr the whole wall to achieve this illusion—just the area around the opening.

You can heighten the appearance of mass if you give openings a shape characteristic of masonry construction, such as flared sides or an arched top. Avoid designs using acute angles, since they’re seldom seen in masonry work. Also, to maintain the illusion of mass, be consistent—don’t have an archway passing through a supposedly massive wall that also has a skinny standard doorway in it.

Furring make these elliptical arches look massive.
Compare this example to the no-no at the bottom of the page.
•  If a streamlined or Modernistic look is more to your taste, capitalize on gypsum board’s ability to form curves. Curves are created either by slitting the back of the board, or by wetting it to make it more flexible.  Really tight curves usually require two layers of 1/4” gypsum board instead of a single layer of 1/2” board. Special rounded or “bullnose” corner beads are also available to complement the streamlined look.

•  Other effects such as tray ceilings, vaulted ceilings, niches, and complex archways are easy to achieve at modest expense. However, avoid fussy, overcomplicated details; bold, generous proportions usually produce the best results. If you’re unsure of your design, build a mock-up out of white cardboard before committing yourself.

A groin-vaulted ceiling using prefabricated furring
proves that almost anything is possible in gypsum board.
(Courtesy NH Drywall)
When combined with a smooth finish or veneer plastering (a thin plaster coat that yields an extremely flat surface), it’s not that expensive to get really impressive results.

Good results also depend on the accuracy of the furring underneath. Arches and the like must be carefully built up of wood to provide a solid backing for the gypsum board. Prefabricated furring pieces for creating arches and curves are available to simplify the job. Once the furring is complete, the gypsum board should be attached with drywall screws rather than nails—they’re less likely to disturb the position of the furring, and won’t pull out as easily.

Unless you’re experienced in gypsum board installation and tape-and-texture work, leave the creation of curves and special shapes to a professional.  A good tape-and-texture contractor can also help you figure out the most economical way of achieving the effect you’re after.  
To avoid a crackerbox look, don't put arched openings
in standard-thickness stud walls like this one.
Furr the walls out to make the arches more convincing.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well..

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