For remodeling, adding inside walls, building closets, making partitions, and many other purposes, plywood and wallboard are the, modern answer to the handyman’s prayer.
Plywood is a composite board made of several sheets, often of different thickness, which are glued together or stuck together with plastic adhesive, with the grain at opposite angles, although the grain of the outside layers runs in the same direction. This makes plywood strong and durable. It may be purchased in several sizes. In addition to walls, it is excellent for bottoms of drawers and panels.
Wallboard is a general term for composition boards which vary from materials about as durable as heavy cardboard, to tough and strong boards that are suitable for many purposes. Most wallboard is fire-resistant but has no particular insulating value. It is useful for low-cost jobs and temporary construction. Usually it must be sized before it will take paint.
Insulating board varies greatly in thickness and type. Usually thicker than wallboard, it offers little resistance to fire. It can be nailed easily, but will resist screws. When fireproof board is required, it is usually made of abestos or fiber glass or other special materials.
Insulation of a room is well worth while for most people. Look at your house on a winter day. If it is hung with icicles, it will warn you that heat is escaping. Insulation will cut coal or oil bills enough to pay for its cost in a comparatively short time, as well as provide more comfort.
When using wallboard or other composition boards, it is important to make the necessary joinings smoothly enough so that they may be painted or papered over without obvious seams.
Being sure that the pieces of wallboard are nailed firmly to the joists or studs of the wall so that they are solid and secure, the next step is to join the seams. A space about 1/8 or 1/4 inch should be left between the pieces of wallboard. Into this gap, work a special cement that you buy at a hardware or paint store.
When you buy the cement, purchase also a special perforated tape made of open mesh canvas or fine wire netting. Force this into the cement that you have already stuck between the pieces of board and make the edges as smooth as possible. This canvas mesh or wire tape has strength enough to keep the cement from cracking. Smooth off the edges of the cement while it is still damp. If the sections of board have been nailed too close together, you may have to cut out a narrow channel for the cement. You may cover the seams with strips of lath, but this breaks the wall surface into definite panels, for the laths are simply nailed on top of the board.