How Much Does It Cost To Install, Hang, Or Finish Drywall?
$1.60 – $2.35 per square foot
The average cost to install drywall is between $1.60 and $2.35 per square foot. For a typical 12’ x 12’ room with a wall height of 8’, the price averages around $815 for just the walls, or a total of $903 if including the ceiling drywall. This cost would go down to about $1.60 per square foot on larger whole-house jobs. Get free estimates from Drywall Contractors near you.
Drywall Installation Cost
The average cost to install drywall is between $1.60 and $2.35 per square foot. For a typical 12’ x 12’ room with a wall height of 8’, the price averages around $815 for just the walls, or a total of $903 if including the ceiling drywall. This reflects a cost of $2.12 per square foot for walls and $2.35 per square foot if including the ceiling.
This cost would go down to about $1.60 per square foot on larger whole-house jobs, and change again entirely if there are non-standard features in the wall—like curves, or drywall with higher-grade fire resistance or soundproofing features.
|Drywall Prices||Cost Per Square Foot|
|National Average Cost||$2.12|
|Average Range||$1.60 to $2.35|
The final cost factors of drywall installation include:
- Job site preparation and installation labor costs
- Drywall costs
- Supplies & materials
- Job site clean-up
Table Of Contents
- Cost To Hang And Finish Drywall
- Drywall Panel Sizes and Costs
- Drywall Cost By Type
- Drywall Plaster Application Prices
- Drywall Cost Calculator
Cost To Hang And Finish Drywall
Cost To Drywall A Room
The average costs to hang and finish drywall in a standard 12’ x 12’ room is $872.
|Drywall Hang & Finish||Average Cost|
|Total||$872 per room|
*Expect to pay an extra 15%–20% on labor if a contractor oversees the project.
Drywall Cost Per Sheet
Depending on the brand and the thickness of drywall needed for installation, the per sheet price is going to range from $9.50 to $18 each, average price $11.25 each. Installers can often get access to lower unit prices for drywall if they buy in bulk.
- A 12’ by 12’ room = 12 panels for the wall, 5 more for the ceiling
- $11.25 per panel x 12 = $135 for the walls
- $11.25 x 5 = $56 for the ceiling
Drywall Panels Cost = $191
Drywall Labor Costs
The national average labor costs for a drywall installer is $36 per hour. A standard output average (on a wall that already has studs) is to hang between 4 and 5 sheets of drywall per hour, or between 35 and 40 sheets in an 8-hour day. If the installation is being done by a team of one, then a drywall lift or hoist will be used to move, rotate, and hold panels to aid in their installation. The joints are usually taped, left overnight, and sanded the following day.
A 12’ by 12’ room = 2 days labor, which includes the installation and cleanup.
Drywall Labor Cost = $576
Cost to Tape and Mud Drywall
The main installation supplies needed are joint compound, joint tape, drywall screws, and drywall adhesive.
For this 12’ by 12’ room, the following is the estimate for the materials needed:
|Drywall Materials||Average Cost|
|13 Tubes of Drywall Adhesive @ $4 each||$52|
|3 Rolls of Joint Tape @ $3 each
(197 feet of tape needed for 528 sqft + 1 extra roll)
|Two 3.5-gallon Boxes Mud & Joint Compound @ $8 each
(350 sq. ft. per box)
|4 Boxes of Drywall Screws @ $7 each
(180 per box)
Drywall Materials Cost = $105 or $125 including ceiling
Drywall Panel Sizes and Costs
Drywall is typically available in panels of
- Width - 4’
- Length - 8’ to 16’
- Thickness – 3/8” to ½” thick
The drywall size most commonly used in residential walls is 4’ wide, 8’ tall, and ½” thick—the average wall height. Ceiling drywall tends to be made lighter due to significant gravitational forces, and some are labeled “sag resistant.” Roughly speaking, prices range from $13 to $16 for a standard drywall panel.
Drywall Cost By Type
Depending on different needs within the various rooms in a home, boards are made to suit a number of applications and are sold in the following formats:
|Drywall Type||Average Cost|
|Eco-friendly Drywall||$8.49 /board|
|Fire-resistant Drywall||$9–$12 /panel|
|Moisture-resistant Drywall||$11–$25 /panel|
|Traditional Drywall||$10 /panel|
|Soundproof Drywall||$51 /panel|
One significant way to have a greener home is in the choice of drywall used in the walls.
Green E-Board - 3’ by 5’ by ¼ @ $8.49. Green E-Board is a combination of recycled wood fragments and the natural mineral elements magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, which are brought together in a slurry process. According to their website, “Because it is made with magnesium it is naturally mold, mildew, water, termite and fire resistant. No harmful chemicals nor any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are added to Green E-Board™ making it ideal for anyone with allergies or sensitivities looking for a drywall alternative.” It contains no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like formaldehyde or silica, and because it is not covered in paper and because of its pH level, neither mold or mildew can grow on the boards. To further its positive environmental footprint, Green E-Boards only consume 50% of the energy required to produce traditional gypsum drywall.
The gypsum in the drywall is chemically combined with water molecules which turn to steam in the case of a fire, thereby acting as a fire retardant. While it can be effective for around 30 minutes, it doesn’t qualify it to be fire rated; but when there are extra additives included in the production of drywall, the resulting product is effective enough to be fire rated. This UL/ULC safety rated version is available in two levels of fire resistance - Type X and Type C.
- Type X - $9/panel. Holds backfire for one hour.
- Type C - $12/panel. Rated for three hours in ceilings and four hours in walls.
These are mostly installed in areas where moisture is a daily occurrence, such as in a bathroom.
- Blue, purple, and green board drywall $11–$16
- Cement board drywall $10–$11
- Paperless drywall $25
$10. This white drywall is available with either square or tapered edges, and historically it has been the most prevalent type of drywall used in residential construction for living rooms and bedrooms.
$51 per panel. Typically built with the soundproofing materials sandwiched between two layers of gypsum, this is by far the most expensive type of drywall. In locations that demand any degree of soundproofing, these can have a stunning ability to drastically reduce noise in a home, allowing you to even place your home theater next to a kid’s bedroom.
Drywall Plaster Application Prices
This will either be done by hand or with a sprayer. Choose between orange peel, slap brush, skip trowel, knockdown, popcorn, smooth, or sand float finish plastering. Smooth finish is becoming very popular.
- By hand will cost an average of $30 per square yard ($3.33/sq. ft.) for 2 coats on ceilings, $28 per square yard ($3.11/sq. ft.) for 2 coats on walls.
- With a spray application, it will be $20 less per hour for the labor and an additional cost of $300 per day for the sprayer.
Drywall Cost Calculator
Drywall can be hung either horizontally or vertically. While the vertical placement is easier for a DIY install, professional industry wisdom points to a horizontal format for a number of reasons, including hiding uneven studs and having fewer vertical seams. If a room has 8-inch ceilings, it’s easy to figure out how many 4’ by 8’ panels are needed if installing them vertically or horizontally.
Calculate Wall Panels
- Add the four 12’ walls together to get the perimeter = 48’
- Divide 48’ by 4’ (panel width) = 12 panels
Even though this room will have at least one door and one window, and if we assume the room as one door (32” wide) and one window (4’ by 4’), we have planned enough panels to allow for errors or accidents.
Calculate Ceiling Panels
- Ceiling square footage = 12’ x 12’ = 144 sq. ft.
- A 4’ by 8’ panel = 32 sq. ft.
- 144 divided by 32 = 4.5 panels
For this, at least 5 panels of ⅝ drywall panels will be needed.
Calculate Supplies - Screws, Tape, & Mud
- 12 panels x 48 screws per panel = 540 screws
- 540 screws / 180 screws per box = 3 boxes
Walls & Ceiling
- 12 wall panels + 5 ceiling panels = 17
- 48 screws per panel = 816 screws
- 816 screws / 180 screws per box = 5 boxes
Drywall vs. Sheetrock
Even though there are many other names that get used for drywall, drywall is the all-encompassing category title use by homeowners.
Who makes drywall?
There are over 40 companies who make drywall, but there are only a few brands whose products are widely known like
- Sheetrock from USG (United States Gypsum Corporation),
- ToughRock from GP (Georgia-Pacific) or
- Hardi Board from James Hardi.
Most contractors use the term sheetrock rather than drywall.
Drywall vs. Plaster
What we refer to today as drywall was originally called Sackett Board when it was invented by U.S. Gypsum Company in 1916. Prior to its release on the market, the standard solution for creating wall surfaces, both residential and commercially, was to use a mix of lime and sand or concrete called plaster to sculpt a wall surface to coat a board. As widespread as the use of drywall has become, it is not suitable for every construction need, especially when more elaborate work is required or the wall features curved surfaces.
- Materials – Drywall materials at $1.69/sq. ft. is cheaper than plaster, which typically starts at around $5/sq. ft.
- Labor – For labor costs, the national average for a drywall installer is $35.95 per hour, and a plasterer is $36.99/hour.
- Pros and Cons – Drywall is installed much faster. Plastering could double the labor time.Plaster has to be sanded and finished. Drywall is eco-friendlier as it doesn’t need sand plastering, although it does need the dried joint compound sanded. Plaster carries a more significant repair cost. Damaged drywall is cut out and easily replaced.Plaster improves soundproofing and fire resistance. Drywall is available with soundproofing and fire-resistant qualities.Plaster tends to have more ornamental and textural finishes. Smooth finishes is the most popular choice these days.
Drywall Finish Levels and Texture
To wrap consistency around the business of finishing a drywall installation, the Gypsum Association maintains the standards publication, GA-214.
- Level 0 - For temporary construction or whenever the final decoration has not been determined.
- Level 1 – Used in smoke barrier applications and areas not normally open to public views, such as plenum areas above ceilings, attics, building service corridors, and other areas generally concealed from public view.
- Level 2 - Typically used as a substrate for tile; or in garages, warehouse storage, or other similar areas where surface appearance is not a concern.
- Level 3 – Used if they are to receive heavy or medium‐texture finishes (spray or hand applied) before final painting, or where heavy‐duty/commercial-grade wallcoverings are to be applied as the final decoration. This level of finish is not recommended for smooth wall designs or applications where light textures, noncontinuous textures, or lightweight wallcoverings are applied.
- Level 4 – For smooth wall designs decorated with flat paints, light textures, noncontinuous textures, or wall coverings. This level of finish is not recommended where non‐flat or dark/deep tone paints are applied.
- Critical Lighting ‐ In critical lighting areas, flat paints applied over light continuous textures tend to reduce joint photographing.
- Wallcoverings ‐ The weight, texture, and sheen level of wallcoverings applied over this level of finish should be carefully evaluated. Joints and fasteners must be adequately concealed if the wall covering used is of lightweight construction, contains a limited pattern, has a sheen level other than flat, or any combination thereof. Unbacked vinyl wallcoverings are not recommended over this level of finish.
- Level 5 - For smooth wall designs, this level of finish is the most effective method to provide a uniform surface and minimize the possibility of joint photographing and/or fasteners showing through the final decoration.
Additional Drywall Prices
- Removing drywall - Unless the drywall is being installed in a new home, or to finish out a basement where there was no drywall installed previously, either you or your contractor will have to remove the existing drywall. You can save some money if you do the work yourself, and your costs will include the rental of a dumpster and disposal costs. If you want someone else to take care of tearing out the old drywall, the costs typically average somewhere between $4 and $6 per square foot, and another $400 to $600 to have the debris taken off-site for disposal.
- Drywall cleanup - While it is normal for a contractor to expect that any and all site cleanup will be their responsibility, if you don’t see it mentioned on any bids you get for the work, it would be prudent to address the subject so there are no hidden surprises once the drywall has been installed. This is more of an issue if they are replacing previously installed drywall, since there will be a significant amount of waste material.
- Drywall permit – A permit for installing drywall is usually only required if alterations have been made to an existing floor plan or if there are utility or structural changes. Professional installers who work in your area should know if one is needed. Permits are likely to cost anywhere from $200 to $600 for your project.
- Drywall framing costs – If you’re remodeling and either adding a wall or an extension to the home, the wall structure will need to be framed prior to hanging the drywall. This typically averages around $4.50 per square foot, including labor and materials.
- Asbestos in drywall products - Asbestos has had a roller coaster of a ride in relation to bans, phased bans, and partial bans. While completely banned in more than 50 countries, in the US, this still hasn’t been completely put to bed, so if you are unsure about the presence of asbestos in any walls that are to be worked on as part of your drywall project, you should get them inspected before you get started. Onsite inspections can cost $250–$1,200.
What Is Drywall?
Referred to by a range of names including gypsum board, gypsum panel, plasterboard, sheetrock, or wallboard, drywall is a board made to be mounted to the structure studs in a building as a wall surface. Depending on the application the product will be used for, according to Wikipedia, “The plaster is mixed with fiber (typically paper, fiberglass, asbestos, or a combination of these materials), plasticizer, foaming agent, and various additives that can reduce mildew, flammability, and water absorption.” It is then wrapped in paper or fiberglass to create the outer shell, which prevents damage to the gypsum structure.
How much does drywall cost per sheet?
The type of drywall you need will define the cost. Do you need it for a wall or a ceiling? Is it needed in a high-moisture environment like a bathroom or are you building a home theater that needs soundproofing? Your cost per panel will typically fall between $9 and $17 or as high as $50 each (for soundproofing drywall).
How much to frame and drywall a room?
A 12’ by 12’ room with 8’-high walls is a total of 576 square feet. With framing at $4.50 per square foot, it will cost $1,728 to frame, and another $872 to hang drywall for a total cost of $2,600.
How much does it cost to finish drywall?
A drywall installer is $36/hour and a plasterer is $37/hour. Plastering by hand will cost an average of $30 per square yard ($3.33/sq. ft.) for 2 coats on ceilings, $28 per square yard ($3.11/sq. ft.) for 2 coats on walls. With a spray application, it will be $20 less per hour for the labor and an additional cost of $300 per day for the sprayer.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Depending on your construction experience and the project at hand, this could be a task you handle yourself, although if you don’t have experience hanging drywall, doing it well, and ending up with a wall that has no visible seams, you might regret trying it. It is not as straightforward as simply screwing boards on a frame. Even before you get to the point of trying to have a flawless finish on your new walls, the boards themselves are around 60lbs in weight and not the easiest items to move around the install location, especially when being installed by one person. And without the drywall hoist, you are almost certainly forced into a vertical install format instead of horizontal.
Find a licensed drywall installation contractor
Get bids from 3–5 licensed contractors for the work to be done. Look for companies who show as many as possible of the following criteria:
- In business for a number of years
- A/A+ rated on Better Business Bureau
- Great reviews on HomeGuide and Google
- Licensed, insured, and bonded
- Long history of excellent compliance with worker safety laws
- EPA approved and certified
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