What Is Buttboard and Why Should I Use It?

Trim-Tex's drywall backing solution, Buttboard™, is the subject of a lot of the questions Trim-Tex's award-winning customer service team gets on a daily basis — not to mention the comments and DMs we get on our Instagram page and Facebook profile. People from all over want to know: What is Buttboard? How do I use it? Why do some of my drywall buddies talk about it like it's the cure for the common cold?

While we can't verify that Buttboard is going to do anything for a runny nose, there's a good reason why this solution has so many absolute fanatics — long story short, it's all about saving time, labor and material. We thought we'd take a moment to answer a few of the burning questions we receive so frequently about Buttboard, once and for all.


What Is Buttboard?

Let's begin by understanding what, exactly, Buttboard and butt joints are.

Buttboard is an OSB (oriented strand board) engineered wood solution used to create flat butt joints using less mud, saving users both time and money. It's not just a regular plank of wood, though; it's uniquely engineered to be slightly thicker on each side than it is in the middle. (We'll explain why in just a sec.)

Typically, for tapered “factory edge” joints, the intersection of two drywall sheets forms a recessed cavity. In that case, when tape and mud are applied on that joint, you're still generally left with a pretty flat, even surface. Meanwhile, a butt joint forms anytime two cut ends of drywall sheets meet, or “butt up,” against each other. Butt joints are formed from these cut ends of drywall, meaning, without that cavity made by factory-finished edges, your finishing work will form a hump that must be feathered out properly to get a smooth, paint-ready surface. And hiding that joint is a slow and fussy process, requiring a considerable buildup of mud.

Buttboard Callouts

What does it do?

Since Buttboard has that sunken middle section, attaching your drywall sheets to this backing material instead of just your studs means it's able to pull back the cut edges of those sheets, simulating a factory edge. This way, we still get that recessed joint in the drywall, helping you to create perfectly flat walls using around half the time and material you would otherwise.

You don't have to take our word for it — check out how our pal The Muddy Girl of TK Drywall (previously featured in an installment of our "Women in Drywall" series) used Buttboard for a recent job of hers:

How do I install it?

buttboard cutsheet diagram

Installation is simple, as long as you're able to get in before the drywall is hung.

  • Center joint between the studs — do not attach the drywall to the studs on either side of the joint.

  • Install Buttboard with the black dotted line (which you'll find running down the center of the plank) facing the drywall.

  • Install screws every eight to 12 inches, one inch back from the drywall butt edge.

  • Butt the end of the second drywall into place, leaving a slight gap, and attach to the Buttboard.

  • Finally, install the screws on the adjoining studs.

Backing You Up: How to Use Buttboard
Backing You Up: How to Use Buttboard

More frequently asked questions:

Why are there two different lengths of Buttboard?

Buttboard comes in 48" & 54". Both sizes can be used on walls & ceilings. However, some people like to overlap, so using the 54" is the better option. Plus, if you are using 54" drywall sheets the corresponding Buttboard is perfect!

Can Buttboard be laid on a ceiling?

Yep! These same time-and-material savings apply to most drywall ceilings. Proper installation is required for best function and use.

Can I use Buttboard four to six inches from the ceiling joist?

No, it needs to be more centered — the joist will not allow the Buttboard to pull up the drywall. Six inches is your border line. This is also true for using Buttboard near a stud.

Convinced? Hit the button below to locate a dealer near you to pick up a box of Buttboard, and start getting back time and material on butt joints.

Find Your Local Dealer

Trim-Tex beads are flying off the shelves at a dealer near you. Snag a box or a truckload of your favorite corner profiles today.