How to dot and dab plasterboard

Date: 10 December 2018

Dot and dab plasterboard installation is a quick and easy way to achieve smooth, sturdy walls that are ready to decorate.

Here we show you how to dot and dab plasterboard, and answer lots of questions about the dot and dab method.

How to dot and dab plasterboard

To start with, here’s an overview of each step involved in dot and dab plasterboard installation.

  1. Mark the ceiling and floor at the thickness of the board plus the adhesive. Also mark the wall to show where the centre of each board will be.
  2. Cut the plasterboard 15mm short of the wall height.
  3. Mix the plasterboard adhesive to a thick consistency. Using a trowel, apply a continuous band around the perimeter of the wall, ceiling edge, and any services or openings.
  4. Apply the adhesive in dabs that are 50mm to 75mm wide and around 250mm long. Use three vertical rows for each board, with one in the middle and two at least 25mm from the edge. Also apply a band of adhesive at skirting level.
  5. Place the reverse side of the board against the dabs, resting on plasterboard packers. Tap it using a straight edge until it aligns with the marks on the ceiling and floor.
  6. Using a board lifter, raise the board until it’s tight against the ceiling. Wedge the board into place using plasterboard packers, then remove the lifter.
  7. Follow the same process for the rest of the room, then remove the plasterboard packers from underneath the boards when the adhesive has set.

Want to see the process in action? Watch our video about 'How to dot and dab Gyproc Habito plasterboard to blockwork'.

Dot and dab adhesive

What is dot and dab?

The dot and dab plasterboard method is also known as drylining, and involves directly bonding plasterboard to flat and secure walls that have a key, such as masonry and blockwork. ‘Dot and dab’ refers to the way the plasterboard adhesive is applied in evenly spaced dots and dabs across the surface of the wall.
Dot and dab is popular because it’s quicker, easier and less messy than methods such as wet plastering. It also means you can finish and decorate walls straight away.

Dot and dab adhesive

What you need to dot and dab plasterboard

To dot and dab plasterboard, you will use plasterboard, adhesive, and a number of different tools.

Choose boards that are at least 12.5mm thick as they are more rigid, making your walls robust. They should also be as wide as possible to reduce the number of joints you’ll need to cover later on. Consider whether you need extra moisture resistance, thermal performance or sound insulation.

If you’re going to skim with plaster, you can use either square edge or tapered edge plasterboard. If you will be jointing, use tapered edge boards so it’s easier to get a smooth finish.

You’ll also need equipment for measuring up, cuttings the boards, applying the adhesive, and installing and fixing the boards. Make sure you have the right personal protective equipment, including safety shoes, gloves, eye protection, a dust mask, and a hard hat.

Gyproc Dri-Wall Adhesive

How much dot and dab adhesive to use

When calculating how much dot and dab adhesive you’ll need, remember that dabs should be between 50mm and 75mm wide, around 250mm long (the length of a trowel), and about 10mm thick. You’ll need three vertical rows for each board, placing each dab 6 to 8 inches below the last one.

As well as this, you need enough adhesive to apply a band around the perimeter of the wall, ceiling edge, services or openings, and at skirting level.

With Gyproc DriWall Adhesive, each bag will fix approximately two boards. If you don’t use them all immediately, don’t worry; bags last for four months.

How to mix dot and dab adhesive

Using a mixing stick, mix the dot and dab adhesive to a thick consistency so that it provides a firm hold for the plasterboard. This means you need to be careful when adding water; follow the instructions on the packaging for full guidance.

You’ll need a clean bucket so that dirt from previous projects doesn’t mix with the adhesive and make it less effective. Only mix enough for one board at a time, giving you plenty of time to fix each board before the adhesive starts to set.

How long does dot and dab take to dry?

Dot and dab adhesive takes between three and six hours to set, which means you could carry out jointing or skimming the same day. In contrast, plaster takes two to three days to dry.

Gyproc DriWall Adhesive sets fully after approximately three hours, and can be used for up to 90 minutes after applying.

See our Gyproc DriWall Adhesive, or take a look at our plasterboard range.

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