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How do I install gypsum board in the winter?

Cold and damp weather conditions can contribute to joint compound bond failure, delayed shrinkage, beading, nail popping, joint shadowing and board sagging. Observing the following precautions during periods of cold and damp weather will reduce job problems.

  • Gypsum board and joint treatment should not be applied to cold or damp surfaces.
  • For mechanical installation of gypsum board, room temperature should be maintained at not less than 40ºF (5ºC).
  • Not less than 50ºF (10ºC) for adhesive application of gypsum board and for joint treatment, texturing and decoration.
  • Interior temperatures should be maintained at not less than 50ºF (10ºC) for a minimum of 48 hours and the gypsum board should be completely dry before taping and finishing. Subsequent finishing and texturing should not proceed until previous applications are completely dry. Ready-mixed joint compounds and textures shall be protected against freezing in storage.
  • Where materials are being mixed and used for joint treatment or the laminating of one layer of board to another, the temperature of the building should be maintained at not less than 50ºF (10ºC) for 48 hours before and continuously until applied materials are thoroughly dry.
  • When a temporary heat source is used, the temperature should not exceed 95ºF (35ºC) in any given room or area.
  • Ventilation shall be provided to ensure normal drying conditions.
    (Note: Gas-fired heaters generate considerable quantities of water. The use of gas-fired temporary heat equipment may result in unusually high humidity conditions.)
  • The use of setting type joint compounds can help avoid many cold weather related finishing problems.
  • A latex primer should be applied and allowed to dry before decorating. This often takes between 36 and 48 hours when the weather is cool or damp.
  • The proper thicknesses and types of gypsum board should be used to avoid sagging when ceilings are to be textured.
  • Where a vapor retarder is required, it is suggested that foil backed gypsum board or vapor retarder faced mineral or glass fiber insulation batts be used.
  • When a polyethylene vapor retarder film is installed on ceilings behind the gypsum board, it is important to install the batt or blanket ceiling insulation BEFORE the gypsum board; when loose fill insulation is used, install the insulation IMMEDIATELY after the gypsum board.

These recommendations apply to gypsum board installed on interior walls, partitions and ceilings. For gypsum sheathing recommendations, see Recommended Specifications for the Application of Gypsum Sheathing (GA-253).

For information on joint treatment drying conditions, see Joint Treatment Under Extreme Weather Conditions (GA-236).