Dry Lining a Wall

Dry Lining involves applying plasterboard sheets to a masonry wall and using the face of the boards as the surface for decoration. Plasterboards are either fixed using dabs of adhesive plaster or battening (both timber and metal). Dry Lining a wall is a good alternative to plastering, particularly if the wall is uneven. Another benefit is that it creates a insulating cavity that can help to keep a room warmer.

Dry Lining Options

The method you use to dry line your wall depends on a variety of factors. If the wall is reasonably flat and in good condition, the dabbing method is the quickest method. If the wall is uneven, using battens will allow you to correct some of the flaws in the surface. The joints where the plasterboards meet will need to be filled with joint compound and then sanded flat. Because of this, you must use tapered-edge plasterboards with the tapered face outwards. You should also ensure that there is a small gap at the bottom of the plasterboard. This will be covered by the skirting.

Dot and Dab Method

This method involves using dots and dabs of adhesive to fix the sheets of plasterboard to the masonry of the wall. You should treat the whole wall with PVA bonding agent, and allow this to dry completely, before applying the adhesive. Start to apply the adhesive to the wall in dabs around 250mm apart over the whole surface the first board will cover. Make each dab quite thick as it will spread out when the plasterboard is pressed against it. Apply a single strip of adhesive all the way along the top and bottom of the wall. This ensures a solid fixing for the skirting board and may be required by building regulations.

Press the plasterboard firmly and evenly onto the dabs of adhesive and use a spirit level to make sure that the board is flat to the wall and squarely in position. Repeat the process for the next plasterboard, making sure that the edges are butted up closely and the face is level with the previous board. When you have covered the whole wall and the adhesive has set, use joint compound to fill the joints. When this is dry, sand it back flush to the boards.

The Dot and Dab method is not suitable for external walls where there is the possibility of damp or water penetration.

Battening Method

An alternative method uses timber battens fixed to the wall to form a framework that the plasterboard can be attached to. The cavity this creates will help with insulation even if it is not filled with insulating material. Battens are also useful for levelling a wall, allowing you to even out flaws by using packing behind the battens to ensure they are all level. Using battens can also get around the problem of surface-mounted pipework or cables.

The battening should be fixed along the top and bottom of the wall, as well as where the joints between the plasterboards will sit. Use a spirit level to ensure that the battens are even and level, and use thin strips of timber to pack out any battens that need it. As with the previous method, fix the plasterboards with the tapered face outwards. Plasterboards should be attached using plasterboard nails as these have wide, flat heads that hold the board firmly in place. Ensure the first board is perfectly upright or you will make things hard for yourself as you progress along the wall.

If you prefer, you can use metal battens instead of timber ones. These are easily cut to size and fix to the wall using fixing plates are regular intervals along their length or masonry adhesive. Once the metal batten framework is in place, the plasterboard is fixed to them using drywall screws.