Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to tape, mud, and finish drywall?

$1.50 – $3.50 cost per square foot
$580 – $1,800 cost to finish a 12’ x 12’ room

Get free estimates from drywall contractors near you, or view our cost guide below.

October 22, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert drywall installers on HomeGuide.

Cost to finish drywall

The average cost to finish drywall is $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot for labor and materials. The cost to tape and mud drywall is $0.35 to $1.10 per square foot and is typically included with finishing. Finishing drywall in a 12x12 bedroom costs $580 to $1,800.

Texturing drywall costs another $0.80 to $2.00 per square foot.

Cost to finish drywall - chart
Cost to finish drywall - chart

Cost to finish drywall
Project Average cost
5x8 Bathroom $300 – $1,000
12x12 Bedroom $580 – $1,800
12x20 Master bedroom $750 – $2,600
16x20 Living room $850 – $3,100
20x20 Garage $1,000 – $3,900
1,000 SF Basement $1,500 – $7,000
1,500 SF Whole house $5,500 – $22,000
2,000 SF Whole house $8,000 – $30,000
2,500 SF Whole house $9,000 – $35,000
3,000 SF Whole house $10,000 – $45,000

*Costs are based on the wall and ceiling surface square footage, not the square footage of the floor space.


Cost to tape, mud, and finish drywall per square foot

The following table shows the average cost to hang, tape, mud, and finish drywall per square foot.

Cost to tape, mud, and finish drywall per square foot
Cost to tape, mud, and finish drywall per square foot

Cost to tape, mud, and finish drywall per square foot
National average cost $2.50
Minimum cost $1.00
Maximum cost $6.50
Average cost range $1.50 to $3.50

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Cost to tape and mud drywall

The average cost to tape and mud drywall is $0.35 to $1.10 per square foot, not including sanding or the final finish to prime the surface for paint. Taping and mudding drywall joints for a standard 12' x 12' bedroom costs $180 to $580.

Room with tape & mud drywall ready for finishing
Room with tape & mud drywall ready for finishing

Labor cost to finish drywall

The labor cost to finish drywall is $0.85 to $3.50 per square foot, depending on the level of finish and room usage. There are five levels of drywall finish. The labor cost to hang and finish drywall is $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot for a standard level 3 to 5 finish.

Labor cost to finish drywall
Level Cost per square foot Usage
0 $0.85 – $1.90 Drywall with no tape, mud, or finish
1 $1.15 – $2.15 Concealed areas or attics
2 $1.30 – $2.60 Storage areas or walls that will be covered in tile
3 $1.50 – $2.75 Walls that will receive a medium to heavy texture
4 $1.70 – $3.20 Walls that will receive a light texture or flat paint
5 $1.75 – $3.50 Walls that will receive satin or glossy paint

Level 0 drywall finish cost

Hanging drywall without finishing costs $0.85 to $1.90 per square foot. Drywall with a level 0 finish is hung with fasteners to the studs but not taped, mudded, or sanded. Level 0 is typically used only for temporary construction.

Level 1 drywall finish cost

A level 1 drywall finish costs $1.15 to $2.15 per square foot. Level 1 is used in concealed areas or attics and includes drywall tape embedded in joint compound with no additional mudding or sanding.

Level 2 drywall finish cost

A level 2 drywall finish costs $1.30 to $2.60 per square foot. Level 2 is used in warehouses, storage areas, or for walls that will be covered in tile. A level 2 finish includes drywall tape with a thin coat of joint compound on the tape and drywall screw holes.

Level 3 drywall finish cost

A level 3 drywall finish costs $1.50 to $2.75 per square foot. Level 3 is free of tool marks and ridges and is used on walls that will receive a medium to heavy texture. A level 3 finish includes one coat of drywall compound on the tape and two coats on the screw heads.

Level 4 drywall finish cost

A level 4 drywall finish costs $1.70 to $3.20 per square foot. Level 4 is recommended to prep walls for flat paint, a light texture, or a lightweight wall covering. A level 4 finish includes two coats of joint compound on the tape and three coats of mud on the screw holes.

Level 5 drywall finish cost

A level 5 drywall finish costs $1.75 to $3.50 per square foot. Level 5 is recommended to prep walls for satin or glossy paint. A level 5 finish includes two coats of joint compound on the tape, three coats on the screw holes, and a skim coat over the entire surface.

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Frequently asked questions

What is drywall tape?

Drywall tape is a sturdy paper or fiberglass tape that creates a strong bond and seals the joints between sheets of drywall. The tape holds drywall mud in place and prevents the compound from sagging before it dries.

  • Paper tape is non-elastic, non-adhesive, and is set with joint compound. Most drywall installers recommend paper tape.
  • Fiberglass mesh tape is self-adhesive and sticks to the drywall before joint compound is applied.
  • Preformed tape is used for outside wall corner beads and comes in paper, plastic, or metal.

What is drywall mud?

Drywall mud is a gypsum paste used to strengthen and smooth sheetrock and joints. Drywall mud is also called joint compound and comes in pre-mixed and powdered forms. Powdered joint compound has a faster drying time.

How much drywall mud and tape do I need?

  • One gallon of ready-mix joint compound covers 100 square feet.
  • Five pounds of powdered joint compound cover 100 square feet.
  • Each 4' x 8' sheet of drywall requires 10 to 16 feet of joint tape. Drywalling a standard 12' x 12' bedroom requires 120 to 250 feet of tape.

How long does it take to finish drywall?

Finishing drywall takes 2 to 3 days after hanging the sheets. Applying the joint tape and drywall mud is a quick process, but the mud must dry for at least 12 hours between each coat. Most projects require 2 to 3 coats of drywall mud and sanding.

Do you have to tape drywall seams and joints?

Taping drywall joints is crucial because it improves their strength and eliminates visible seams. Drywall mud applied without tape will warp or crack and fall out of the joints. Tape also provides a uniform surface, allowing for a smooth finish after joint compound is applied.

Can I finish drywall myself?

Fishing drywall yourself saves on labor costs, but an experienced contractor can create a smooth finish that does not show the seams between drywall panels. Small sheetrock patch jobs are ideal DIY projects, while larger drywall finishing jobs are best left to the pros.

Sheetrock prices are $200 to $400 to cover the walls and ceiling of a 12' x 12' bedroom (500 SF).

Practice on a hidden area like a closet wall before finishing the drywall in a highly visible location.
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Tips for hiring a drywall finisher

Before hiring a drywall company near you, be sure to:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.
  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Look for a drywall contractor who is a member of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry.
  • Ask for references and browse their portfolio of similar completed projects.
  • Select companies that are licensed, insured, bonded, and have been in business for at least five years.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Avoid choosing the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask drywall finishers

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • Which level of drywall finish do you recommend for my project, and why?
  • Will you finish the drywall yourself or use a subcontractor?
  • How many people are on your crew, and what hours do they work?
  • Does the estimate include cleanup costs?
  • What other costs should I expect?
  • How long will the project take?
  • How do you handle damages that happen on the job?

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