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Question DetailsAsked on 10/3/2017

Replace mobile home water heaterCan you put dry wall up in a water heater closetWithout taking the water heater .

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Sure - provided there is room to get partial sheets of drywall in and to tape joints, and enough clearance (including any required air gap between heater and wall). Sidewalls can commonlyo be full sheets - back sheet and ceiling commonly end up being pieced to get them in and to provide joints at the pipe penetrations to avoid disconnecting the pipes to slip the pre-holed drywall over the pipe as one would usually do.

I have done this using full-contact construction adhesive on the studs right next to the heater where there is not clearance to drive drywall screws because the heater is in the way. Will cost more per SF than normal drywalling due to the close quarters of course, and more piecing to get pieces into place (starting at back corner and working toward front or easier access area), and one or more of the ceiling and/or wall pieces will have to be pieced around the pipe penetrations (so they occur on a sheet joint) but probably about $400-600 range for the drywalling (including joint mudding) rather than the probably $200-300 range it might run for an empty closet. Can be a 2 person job at times - one person wedged in alongside the (cold) heater, the other handing materials and tools and helping align drywall pieces and joint tape and such.

Can also be easier if you prime (and paint if desired) the drywall before putting it in - leaving an inch on each sheet at the joint edges for the joint taping which would be sanded and painted afterwards, if painting is desired.

Things to be careful of - maintaining proper clearances from heater, if an older heater (more than a couple of years) checking new heater dimensions for fit because the new energy efficiency regs resulted in generally about 1" larger heater diameters (though if you have headroom there are slender tall heaters for narrow spots). Also, you have to avoid seams tight against the heater where there is not enough clearance to properly mud - though I have done those in locations with only a half inch or so of clearance by doping the exposed back sheet joint edge before pushing it together so the joint compound oozes out, then pressing the tape in place with a long flat trowel, then long flat trowel or bricklayers pointed trowel to reach in for the joint compound layers. Obviously tougher to get a nice looking joint there and sometimes in the back corner, but with an extra hour or so of work should be doable and to code. Also helps a LOT to have 6" and 18-24" screwdriver bit extensions and strong magnetic bit tip for your drill, so you can preload drywall screws and reach into tight locations around the curve of the tank to screw the drywall into place.

Also of course - in addition to clearances and legal thickness of drywall (probably 5/8" Type X required, maybe 3/4" on any wall common with house sometimes), be sure if this is getting a door that there is the required ventilation openings (both high and low) - and in some locales an enclosed closet requires a fire alarm in there - some areas require heat alarm. Also good idea to, assuming no floor drain right there, to put in a collection pan under the heater (though that requires disconnecting piping and draining it to raise heater up to slip the pan in), and a water alarm because you may not notice the start of a leak before it gets serious.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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