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How Much Does It Cost To Install Or Hang Drywall?

Typical Range: $956 - $2,529

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On This Page:

  1. Cost to Install Drywall
  2. Drywall Panel Sizes & Their Costs
  3. What is Drywall?
  4. Drywall vs. Plaster
  5. Drywall Finish Levels & Textures
  6. DIY or Call a Pro?
  7. Final Considerations

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National Average
Typical Range
$956 - $2,529
Low End - High End
$450 - $4,700

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 7,394 HomeAdvisor members in .

How Much Does It Cost to Install Drywall?

The cost to install drywall is about $1.50 per square foot. After material and labor are added in, the cost per panel can range from around $40.00 to $60.00. A typical 12x12 room, for example, will use 12 panels. This would put the cost at $480.00-$720.00. If you have a large job that you need finished in less time than you can muster for yourself, or if you want a truly professional look, it's time to hire a team. The cost of having a contractor hang your drywall can vary depending on size and complexity of the job. A basic rectangular room, for example is a simpler job than a room with arches and non-standard dimensions. Some contractors will vary their price per square foot based on the size of the job. Some of them charge more per square foot on smaller jobs to offset the cost of transportation, insurance, etc. It's not unusual for a small bedroom to cost almost $3.00 per square foot while a 14,000 square foot home is priced at $1.15 per square foot. Other factors that can influence the cost of your project include:

  • Location of the job site
  • Environment
  • Non-standard features of a room such as arches and curves

These can cause your costs to increase by as much as double. The estimate for your drywall construction job should include the following:

  • Cost for materials specifying the dimensions and types of the panels to be used
  • Cost for transporting materials and equipment to the job site
  • Job site preparation including protecting existing structures, finishes, etc.
  • Labor setup and mobilization time
  • Clean-up and removal of debris

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Drywall Panel Sizes and Costs

A basic drywall panel measures 8' tall and 4' wide with thicknesses varying from 1/4" to 5/8". Some drywall can measure up to 16' tall and is used for guaranteeing smooth finishes for very tall ceilings, but it requires several people to hang. As for thickness, 1/2" to 5/8" is normally used for ceilings as it is more resistant to sagging. Some walls of a home, such as those between the garage and living spaces, may be governed by local ordinances as to how thick they must be. The natural moisture content in gypsum tends to make thicker panels more fire resistant, though this should not be taken to mean that drywall is fireproof or is a substitute for proper insulation. A standard 8'x4' drywall panel costs between $10.00 and $20.00, depending on the thickness and brand as well as certain characteristics such as mold resistance. For small repairs such as patches, 16"x16" squares can be found for around $5.00 each. Compound, or "mud," costs from $5.00 to $9.00 for unmixed, dry material, depending on how much you need. Premixed compound is about $15.00 for 5 gallons. If you're just making a small repair, drywall patch kits can be purchased for $5.00 to $10.00 and have everything you'll need except for the drywall. Usually, these kits are used for small holes that could be punched in by a door knob, for example. A wire mesh with spackle is often enough for these repairs. Drywall joint tape varies widely in price depending on if you just want basic joint tape, mold-resistant, fiber mesh, laminated, etc. Most typical rolls will cost you around $3.00 to $5.00, with some rolls as cheap as $1.75 and others up around $15.00, so shop wisely!Return to Top

What Is Drywall?

Drywall is the construction method. The actual product is called "gypsum board." Gypsum is a soft, sedimentary mineral that is used in plaster, fertilizers and construction. The gypsum is flattened into a sheet and then wrapped in heavy paper. The panels are most commonly found in 3/8" to 5/8" thicknesses and normally measure 8' by 4'. As the name suggests, drywall is used to create walls and ceilings inside a house or other structure where it will not be exposed to the elements. In the US, houses older than 1917 will not have drywall unless later remodeling was done. 1917 was when the U.S. Gypsum Company introduced the product to the US market. Prior to this, walls and ceilings were made with lathe (slat board) and plaster, a very time-consuming process. Drywall turned this multi-week process into a job that could be done in a couple of days.Return to Top

Drywall vs. Sheetrock

All sheetrock is drywall, but not all drywall is sheetrock. Sheetrock is a trademarked name from the U.S. Gypsum Company. It includes many different pieces with different thickness. You can get fire-resistant walls and panels that prevent moisture buildup. variety of different pieces of drywall that come in different thicknesses. While it specializes in drywall, it also provides specialized panels to suit homeowner needs. Professionals can also purchase tools and other accessories related to the sheetrock installation process. However, the trademark name has become the generic word for the product itself. You can use "sheet rock" or "drywall" interchangeably. Other names for drywall include Gibraltar board, wallboard and plasterboard, among others.

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Drywall vs. Plaster

Plaster still sees some use in construction. One of its biggest uses is in curved walls. Some of its other benefits include that it is:

  • Thicker than drywall
  • Good for sound-deadening
  • Fire-retardant

Some of plaster's drawbacks are that it is:

  • Rigid and prone to cracking in new construction or as a result of earthquakes
  • More expensive than drywall

Plaster is generally only used for aesthetics or accurate restorations on vintage or historic homes. Curved panels are possible with drywall, but the technique requires a good degree of expertise to moisten and shape the panels just right. For time and economy, most construction since the 1950s has used drywall. Not only is it cheaper and faster to hang or install, it's easier to maintain. Damage to a plaster wall can involve fixes from the simple (a little plaster to cover a crack) to major reconstruction of the wall. Drywall, by comparison, often involves only cutting the damaged section out and replacing it with a new cut section, smoothing and then re-applying texture and/or paint. The average homeowner can often make these small repairs on his or her own.Return to Top

Drywall Finish Levels and Texture

Drywall has five levels of finish depending on where it's being installed and the preferences of the homeowner. They range from 0 to 5:

  • Level 0 -- This is the bare minimum of drywall installation. At this level the drywall is hung, attached to the wall frame, and that's all. Joints and fasteners are exposed.
  • Level 1 -- Level 1 is the sort of finish you might see in a basic utility room, such as water heater closet. The drywall is hung as in Level 0, but the seams between the panels are taped to seal the seams, and joint compound covers the tape and any fastener heads.
  • Level 2 -- This level is similar to Level 1 except that the panels will have one coat of compound. This is normally used to prepare a surface for tiling. It's also the most common finish for a garage or work room where appearance is not a primary concern.
  • Level 3 -- At Level 3, the panels receive a second coat of compound. This is used where appearance is going to matter. It's a smooth finish that should be free of ridges and tool marks. A panel with this finish is usually going to receive a medium or heavy texture finish.
  • Level 4 -- This level receives three coatings of compound. Level 4 is used where flat paints or light texture finishes will be used, or where the effects of strong lighting could reveal imperfections.
  • Level 5 -- This is the highest level of finish. As well as three coatings of compound, the panel gets a skim coat of compound as well. This level is generally one that you specifically have to ask for. It's used where walls will have gloss or semi-gloss paint or enamel or non-textured paints. It also is recommended for areas of severe lighting as it provides the best protection against joints and fasteners showing through (known as "photographing").

Which texture you apply is a matter of what you want. Textures come in two types: hand applied and sprayer applied.

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Hand Applied

These textures are usually applied with a trowel, brush or roller. Some applications may use a sprayer to apply the basic material. This is then swirled, brushed or "stomped." Stomping refers to applying the material and then using a knife or flat implement to smooth the high spots. Because they are applied by hand, it's best to see examples of the contractor's work. Different effects are obtained depending on techniques. The more popular hand textures are:

  • Hawk and Trowel -- This is basically layers of texturing over layers of texturing. Some have likened it to "waves of water."
  • Santa Fe -- This is popular in the American Southwest. It resembles the stucco and adobe finishes of older homes and pueblos.
  • Skip Trowel -- Skip trowel resembles Santa Fe but is a very light texture with less coverage.
  • Swirl -- As the name implies, swirl is a pattern of overlapping circles. The compound needs to be considerably thin to get an even pattern, so this is normally applied with a sprayer first. It's used most often on ceilings.
  • Rosebud Stomp -- This texture is popular in the American Midwest. Named for the flower-like patterns it creates, it's very easy to apply and is very effective at hiding imperfections.
  • Stomp Knockdown -- With this texture, an oval-shaped brush with stiff bristles is used to stomp patterns in the compound. This is then smoothed out with a long, flat knife. In the American South this is called "French Lace."

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Spray Applied

Spray textures go on fast through use of a spray gun. The texture material is fed into a hopper and then forced through a hose and out the barrel of the gun. These textures can?t be reproduced without the use of a spray gun.

  • Spray or Splatter Knockdown -- This texture is most often seen in new construction, but for repairs and remodels it is very hard to accurately match even for a skilled contractor. Small globules of compound are sprayed onto the surface and then lightly smoothed.
  • Orange Peel -- A very common texture up to the early 90?s, orange peel is applied the same way as splatter knockdown. However, it uses a smaller tip on the gun and is not smoothed out. It?s left to dry as-is. This gives the wall a texture like the peel of an orange, hence its name.
  • Popcorn -- This texture is one of the most common, and most reviled, textures. Found mostly in apartments, hotels, motels and rental homes, it has a good sound-deadening quality and a great ability to hide imperfections. Unfortunately, it also traps free-floating dust quite handily and is very difficult to paint and clean. Unlike smooth textures, it is very prone to damage, which is why it?s found on ceilings and not walls.

Something you might notice about drywall is that it has a taper at the edges. This is so when the joint compound is spread, it can leave a smooth finish instead of showing through as a ridge of material between the panels.Return to Top

DIY or Call A Professional?

Whether a drywall job is something you can handle yourself or should be left to a professional depends mostly on the job itself and how much time you want to spend on it. If you?re just putting some paneling up in your garage because you?re tired of looking at exposed timber, you can probably do some basic measurements and head on down to the hardware store for what you need. If you?re building a new house, adding a floor to an old house, or undertaking any major repair or renovation, you?d probably do better to call a contractor. Not only will a contractor get it done faster, they?ll have the tools and talent to make it look like it?s always been there.

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Some Final Considerations

Do You Need A Permit To Install Drywall?

Whether you (or your contractor) need permits just to hang drywall is largely dependent on the community in which the work is being done. Most don?t require a permit just to replace damaged drywall. However, if a previously uninhabited room, such as an attic, is being turned into an occupied space (an office, a spare bedroom, etc.), then permits and inspections may be necessary.

Older Homes

If you are working with an older home, be mindful of asbestos and lead-based paint. If you aren't sure whether or not it's safe to work, shop around for an inspection service. Most can inspect for molds and bacteria as well.

While You've Got the Walls Off

If you are replacing drywall, you can take advantage of things to check out your wiring, timbers, and other potential trouble spots. Look for evidence of pests, aging electrical components, moisture, and other symptoms of upcoming problems so you can deal with them before they become a larger situation. It's cheaper to do this while the old panels are off than to have to tear it all down and pay for another replacement later. Return to Top

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