Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers
Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboards to walls and ceilings inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboards for painting, using tape and other materials. Many workers do both installing and taping.
Drywall installers typically do the following:
- Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
- Measure the location of electrical outlets, plumbing, windows, and vents
- Cut drywall to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
- Fasten drywall panels to interior wall studs, using nails or screws
- Trim and smooth rough edges so boards join evenly
Ceiling tile installers typically do the following:
- Measure according to blueprints or drawings
- Nail or screw supports
- Put tiles or sheets of shock-absorbing materials on ceilings †
- Keep the tile in place with cement adhesive, nails, or screws
Tapers typically do the following:
- Prepare wall surface (wallboard) by patching nail holes
- Apply tape and use sealing compound to cover joints between wallboards
- Apply additional coats of sealing compound to create an even surface
- Sand all joints and holes to a smooth, seamless finish
Installers are also called framers or hangers. Tapers are also called finishers. Ceiling tile installers are sometimes called acoustical carpenters because they work with tiles that block sound.
Once wallboards are hung, workers use increasingly wider trowels to spread multiple coats of spackle over cracks, indentations, and any remaining imperfections. Some workers may use a mechanical applicator, a tool that spreads sealing compound on the wall joint while dispensing and setting tape at the same time.
To work on ceilings, drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds.
Insulation workers install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings and their mechanical systems to help control and maintain temperature. Workers are often referred to as insulators.
Insulation workers typically do the following:
- Remove old insulation and dispose of it properly
- Read blueprints and specifications to determine job requirements
- Determine the amounts and types of insulation needed
- Measure and cut insulation to fit into walls and around pipes
- Fasten insulation in place with staples, tape, or screws
- Use compressors to spray insulation into some spaces
- Install plastic barriers to protect insulation from moisture
- Follow safety guidelines
Properly insulated buildings save energy by keeping heat in during the winter and out in the summer. Insulated vats, vessels, boilers, steam pipes, and hot-water pipes also prevent the wasteful loss of heat or cold and prevent burns. Insulation also helps reduce noise that passes through walls and ceilings.
When renovating old buildings, insulators often must remove the old insulation. In the past, asbestosónow known to cause cancerówas used extensively to insulate walls, ceilings, pipes, and industrial equipment. Because of this danger, specially trained workers are required to remove asbestos before insulation workers can install the new insulating materials. For more information, see the profile on hazardous materials removal workers.
Insulation workers use common hand tools, such as knives and scissors. They also may use a variety of power tools including power saws to cut insulating materials, welders to secure clamps, and staple guns to fasten insulation to walls. Some insulators use compressors to spray insulation onto walls.
Workers sometimes wrap a cover of aluminum, sheet metal, or vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the insulation. Doing so protects the insulation by keeping moisture out.†
The following are examples of insulation workers:
Floor, ceiling, and wall insulators install insulation in attics, floors, and behind walls in homes and other buildings. Most of these workers unroll, cut, fit, and staple batts of fiberglass insulation between wall studs and ceiling joists. Some workers, however, spray foam insulation with a compressor hose into the space being filled.
Mechanical insulators apply insulation to pipes or ductwork in businesses, factories, and many other types of buildings. When insulating a steam pipe, for example, the temperature, thickness, and diameter of the pipe are all factors that determine the type of insulation to be used.