The year was 1977 and yours' truly was trying desperately to hold the end of a 12-foot sheet up while trying to finger a nail into the edge of the board and hit the nail instead of my fingers with a roofing hatchet. If memory serves, back then we were using blue ring shank nails. The heads were barely larger than the circumference of the rings, so it was virtually impossible to drive one without ripping the face paper under ideal conditions, and these were not ideal conditions. My unconditioned arms were shaking, my fingers were tenderized from the constant smashing of the waffled face of the hatchet and the top of my head was smarting from the button on the top of my cap being implanted into my cranium each time my arms gave out and I had to "head" the sheet. Oh, those were the days my friends. Not only were we using the most difficult nails to drive, we were driving three sets of two in each stud.

Once in a lifetime

It was in 1982 when I moved east. I was introduced to the cement coat sharp-point cupped head nail. Wow, what a difference. You could actually stick it into the sheet with minimal effort and swat it once, sinking it perfectly (it also helped I was now using the correct hammer). I was also introduced to another new concept: glue.

My first reaction was the usual response to something new, "Oh great, something else I have to do that will slow me down." However, the contractor I was working for demanded the use of glue and so I adapted. It wasn't long before it was no big deal. In fact, it made me faster. Instead of the three sets of two I was used to driving, now all that had to be driven was one nail in the field on walls and two on the ceilings. Again, wow. Although this was the fastening schedule my boss required, I still had my doubts. Well my doubts were quelled after the following experience.

We had finished hanging a house on a Friday and returned the following Monday to hang the bead. Over the weekend, some kids had decided this 2,500-square-foot home would be the perfect spot to have a party. Nice big rooms to slam-dance and plenty of scrap wood lying around to build a bond fire. The plan may have worked out alright-with minor consequences-except for the fact that they built the fire inside the house. The firemen were very quick to respond and the shell was saved.

By the time we arrived on Monday, the charred walls and melted vinyl siding were a disconcerting sight to be sure. While touring this ill-fated rave site, the first thing I noticed was that every stud that had been glued had raw drywall hanging from it. When the firemen had pulled the sheets from the ceilings to make sure there were no embers still alive inside, what happened was the paper was being ripped from the back of the sheet. You could actually see where the sheets had been glued. Mind you, this fire was set one, maybe two, days from the time these sheets had been glued. From that day forward I have been a huge proponent on the use of glue.

I am baffled that debate still exists over the use of glue when you consider the following facts:

  • Helps eliminate nail/screw pops
  • Bridges minor framing irregularities
  • Reduces sound transmission
  • Reduces fasteners by 50 to 60 percent
  • Waterproof/weatherproof

If you are still skeptical, try the following test. Screw or nail a sheet to the wall as you normally would. On a different wall, run a 3/8-inch bead of glue down each stud and attach the sheet by running screws around the perimeter and one in the middle of each field. Come back a day or two later and remove every screw. Then try to pull the sheet off of the wall. I hope you brought lunch-you're going to be there awhile. If that doesn't convince you, try this one. Take a 4-foot scrap of board and measure more than two feet and make a pencil mark down the sheet. Take a nail and perforate the scrap eight times. Once in each bevel and once each place a nail would be driven if your pattern were three sets of two. Stand behind the board and snap it as if it had been scored with a utility knife. Scary, huh? Consider how many walls and ceilings have enough shear force to create a similar load creating a stress crack.

As great as this stuff is, the following list of points have been compiled over the years and should be considered:

  • Never wear new jeans while using glue-you will not be able to make it off the job without fresh "gypper" stains down both legs.
  • If you smoke (and I hope you don't), do not stand too close to a freshly caulked bead while lighting up.
  • If the glue was delivered in freezing weather and your helper stashed the glue tubes too close to the heater to warm them up, do not use these tubes for gluing a ceiling, you will wear some.
  • You will see stars while using glue in a confined area with no ventilation (I'm pretty sure I saw Jim Morrison once). Also a huge headache follows such an encounter.
  • Make sure you pick up all of the cut-off glue tube ends-they are a time-bomb waiting to go off for anyone on stilts.
  • Glue is much like duct tape and bailing wire: You should always have at least on tube in your truck.
  • This is a follow-up to the last point: Glue works extremely well in reattaching a boot sole.
  • Unless you like taking a bath in paint thinner or gasoline, treat glue tubes like a loaded gun-they will get you.
  • If you get glue in your hair, let it dry and have your wife/girlfriend cut it out ... trust me.

OK, enough of the funny stuff. Trust me, try glue. It will make your work look better and you will eliminate most of the pops you are fixing now.

Remember: Sometimes a house has to burn down to prove a point.

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