Though they're a pain, drywall butt joints are a fact of life for most contractors. Avoiding them altogether is best, but there are few jobs where that's possible — and on the smaller remodeling projects I do, they're commonplace.

Usually, butt joints — where the non-factory-tapered edges of two boards meet — land over a stud or joist that both edges get screwed into. The main problem is that the framing is seldom flat. More often than not, the stud or joist is bowed and creates a hump that accentuates the joint. Also, on new construction, the framing is likely to shrink,...

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