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Whether you call it drywall, gypsum board, or sheetrock, drywall is one of the most important parts of interior construction. This innovative wall building material is primarily made of a gypsum core with a paper covering. It is used to create finished interior walls and ceilings faster and more easily than the older methods involving plaster. Drywall can be finished in various ways and comes in several sizes, thicknesses, and subtypes for use in multiple areas. For this reason, drywall installation has a range of associated costs.
The national average cost to install drywall is between $1,500 and $2,000, with most homeowners spending around $1,750 on 1,000 sq.ft. of standard ½” drywall, hung and finished in a remodel. At the low end, you can install 500 sq.ft. of ½” finished standard drywall in an addition for $690. On the high end, you can install 1,000 sq.ft. of ½” finished soundproof drywall in a remodel for $7,500.
|Drywall installation prices|
|National average cost||$1,750|
|Average range||$1,500 - $2,000|
Drywall has a range of installation costs, depending mostly on the drywall type and job size. Most drywall installers charge less per square foot for entire house drywall installations than for small installations. Labor starts at around $1 a square foot but can go as high as $2.50 a square foot, depending on the job size and level of finish. This means that with the cost of standard drywall, the total cost of drywall installation is around $1.50 to $3.50 a square foot, including all materials, installation, and finish.
There are many drywall types. In most applications, standard or traditional drywall is used unless otherwise specified. However, when installing drywall in a basement, bathroom, or other wet area, you may want a different type. If you are installing drywall in a commercial building or apartment building to meet codes, you may need a different type. The exact drywall type differs by your personal preference, room type, and building codes in your area.
|Type||Drywall Cost per Sheet (Material Only)|
|Traditional/Standard||$10 - $12|
|Plaster Blue Board||$11 - $14|
|Fire-Rated (Type X)||$12 - $21|
|Moisture-Resistant (green)||$13 - $15|
|Moisture-and-Mold-Resistant (purple)||$13 - $15|
|Eco-Friendly||$14 - $20|
|Paperless||$15 - $22|
|Soundproof||$50 - $75|
Standard drywall is the material most people have installed in their homes. This material makes up most interior walls and ceilings. It has a gypsum core and paper covering. Standard drywall is fast and easy to hang and has a flat surface that makes most finishes easy to achieve. It is also the least expensive. Unless you have specific needs for a room that requires another type, this is likely what you will have installed. It costs between $10 and $12 a sheet.
While this is not technically a type of drywall, blue board or plasterboard is sometimes used in place of drywall. While drywall can be finished in various ways, it is not ideal for the heavier plaster and Venetian plaster finishes that complement some homes. When opting for a traditional plaster finish on your walls, you need blue board instead of traditional drywall. This material is sometimes called plaster base, plaster baseboard, or plaster blue board. Expect to pay between $11 and $14 a sheet.
There are certain areas within a home and in many high-occupancy buildings like apartments and dormitories that require the use of flame-resistant and flame-retardant materials. For the indoor walls, this means using fire-rated drywall, sometimes known as Type X drywall. Many drywall types can also be fire-rated. Look for the “X” in the description to see if the type is in this category. Fire-rated drywall is made of non-combustible fibers like fiberglass. This material is harder to cut and work with than other types of drywall, so it is not usually used unless required. It costs between $12 and $21 a sheet.
Sometimes known as “green board,” moisture-resistant drywall has a special coating to prevent moisture absorption. This is often used in bathrooms, basements, and other areas with high moisture. Some green board types are ideal for use with tile in areas like kitchen or bathroom backsplashes or the bathroom walls outside of the shower. The material is usually easy to work with and installs like regular drywall. Prices range from $13 to $15 a sheet on average.
If you need extra protection against moisture and potential mold growth, you want “purple” drywall. This drywall has a coating to prevent moisture absorption, like green board, but it also inhibits mold growth. Purple board usually offers superior performance against moisture as well, so if you have had issues with mold in the past, purple board may be the better choice. Sometimes, the coating on purple board is not as flat as the standard and green board, making it more difficult to finish. Purple drywall costs between $13 and $15 a sheet on average.
The vast majority of drywall is considered eco-friendly and sustainable. That is because most drywall is made from gypsum, which is a highly recyclable material. Most drywall contains some recycled content. However, if you want to ensure that the drywall you are using contains the most post-consumer material for higher sustainability, look for brands that sell eco-friendly or “recycled” drywall. Expect to pay between $14 and $20 a sheet.
Traditional drywall is covered with a layer of paper over the gypsum core. Paperless drywall has the same core with a fiberglass exterior instead of paper. This exterior makes the drywall moisture and mold-resistant and stronger and more durable. It can be more difficult to cut and install than traditional drywall. It is also more difficult to finish because the texture is not as smooth. These two attributes mean that it can be more expensive to install than other drywall types. It costs between $15 and $22 a sheet on average.
If you want to make your walls soundproof, it is possible to install drywall that absorbs and deadens sound. This drywall is laminated, or made in layers with a mixture of wood pulp and polymers along with the gypsum. This makes the drywall incredibly dense so that sound does not pass through it as easily. It is very difficult to cut and install and costs much more per sheet than other drywall types. For this reason, it is usually used only in areas where sound control is very important. Prices range from $50 to $75 a sheet on average.
Drywall comes in a few standard sizes. It is the easiest to work with in the 4’x8’ size, so this is the size most often used by installers unless a larger size is required. For ceilings and rooms with high ceilings, there are also 4’x12’ and 4’x16’ sheets.
|Size||Average Cost per Sheet (Material Only)|
|4’ x 8’||$10 - $15|
|4’ x 12’||$12 - $18|
|4’ x 16’||$16 - $25|
4’x8’ drywall is the most common size, readily available in all types. It is the easiest to handle and the least expensive to buy and install. If you plan on tackling a DIY drywall project, this is also the size that you want to work with. Oversized sheets require special handling, while this size does not. Prices range from $10 and $15 a sheet on average.
4’x12’ drywall is most commonly used for ceilings. It may also be used in rooms with higher-than-average ceiling heights. This is because the longer pieces make it easier to complete the wall without a lot of cuts. This drywall size starts to become difficult to handle, however, so it is not recommended for DIY. At this size, your installation costs also increase slightly because the sheets are heavier and harder to move. Expect to pay between $12 and $18 a sheet.
4’x16’ drywall is the least common of the three sizes. It is used for oversized rooms and ceilings. This drywall size may have to be thicker than average to accommodate the height without risking breakage. It is also heavier and more difficult to handle. Installing this size costs more due to the difficulties in handling it. This drywall size costs between $16 and $25 a sheet on average.
Drywall comes in thicknesses ranging from ¼” to ⅝”, with ½” being the most popular. The sheet thickness is usually tied to the drywall type and overall size. Not all drywall thicknesses are right for every project. Sometimes, building codes dictate the drywall thickness.
The most common drywall thickness used in wall and ceiling applications is ½”. Water-resistant drywall of the same thickness is used in bathrooms. Thicker drywall, often ⅝” fire-resistant drywall, is used in garages and furnace rooms.
|Thickness||Average Costs per Sheet (Material Only)|
|¼”||$10 - $12|
|⅜”||$10 - $15|
|½”||$10 - $20|
|⅝”||$13 - $75|
The ¼” sheets are typically used for repairs in existing walls and ceilings. They can also thicken a wall or ceiling by overlaying the thinner drywall over the existing sheets. In some instances, ¼” drywall may also be used for ceilings. This thickness is also easier to bend, so it is most commonly used to create curved walls. This drywall type typically costs between $10 and $12 a sheet on average.
⅜” drywall is one of the least common thicknesses. This is slightly under ½”. It is not quite thin enough to overlay other sheets. While it can be used to create curves, it must be dampened first. The most common use is in specific areas where ⅛” makes the difference in spaces meeting one another. For example, when remodeling and framing a new wall that is slightly too close to an adjoining wall, ⅜” drywall fills the space more easily. Prices range from $10 to $15 each.
½” drywall is by far the most common thickness. Most drywall types come in this thickness, including standard, green, purple, and eco-friendly. At ½”, the drywall is sturdy enough to cover most load-bearing walls without issue. If needed, it can still be installed around a curve when dampened first, and it is not too bulky for use on ceilings. For most applications, this thickness works unless otherwise specified by building codes. These sheets cost $10 to $20 on average.
⅝” drywall is slightly thicker than ½”. This is the thickness that 4’x12’ sheets are most likely to have for added structural stability. This thickness is also common on fire-resistant and soundproof drywalls because of the added thickness. This also means the material becomes heavier and more difficult to cut and work with. For this reason, unless it is required for code or requested for soundproofing, it is not common to use this drywall thickness. Expect to pay between $13 and $75 a sheet.
A carpenter or contractor can install drywall for you, and it will likely involve a team of at least two people because drywall sheets can be heavy and unwieldy. The total cost per square foot to install drywall is $1 to $2.50 in labor, with the variation coming primarily from the job size and finish level. Large jobs have lower costs overall per square foot than smaller jobs, which may have higher costs per square foot than this average range.
For a remodel, the old drywall first needs to be removed, which increases costs. In new construction, costs are slightly lower, starting at around $0.80 per square foot for labor since no removal is necessary.
Before the drywall can be put up, the area should be inspected for any potential issues, such as insulation, electrical, and plumbing problems. If framing is needed, that is the next step, and then the drywall can be installed and finished. The level of finish depends on the final decorations and room purpose. For example, a garage wall does not need the same level of finish as a bathroom.
Drywall installation is broken down into steps. Each step has a general cost breakdown range, so the cost to hang drywall may be separate from the cost to mud and tape drywall, depending on how your contractor prices it out. In general, the cost breakdown for installation includes:
|Installation Stage||Cost of Labor (per sq.ft.)|
|Hanging Drywall||$0.15 - $0.65|
|Taping and Mudding||$0.40 - $0.70|
|Sanding and Priming||$0.10 - $0.50|
|Finishing||$0.35 - $0.65|
|Total Labor Costs||$1.00 - $2.50|
With the cost of material, the total cost range to install drywall is between $1.50 and $3.50 a square foot, depending on the job type and size.
Drywall can be installed both vertically and horizontally. Vertically is the most common installation, particularly in homes with 8-foot ceilings. Some installations call for a horizontal application, which can be easier to tape. There is no cost difference between the two.
Your drywall needs to install on the wall frame or the studs. The wall needs to be framed with drywall in mind. Because drywall is usually installed vertically, this means that each piece is 4-feet across. Most stud walls for drywall are framed every 16 inches, which allows you to attach the drywall in three places - each edge and the centerline. An interior stud wall frame costs around $9 - $12 a square foot installed. Drywall costs between $1.50 and $3.50 fully installed and finished, making the cost to frame and drywall an area like an addition between $10.50 and $15.50 a square foot total.
There are six levels of finishing when it comes to drywall installation. The first few levels are simply parts of the total installation, while the last few levels are designed for getting it ready for painting or decorative textures. The following costs are what the labor costs are to install the drywall to each of the various finish levels. There is a great degree of overlap, depending on the job size and drywall type.
|Finish||Average Costs per Square Foot (Labor Only)|
|Level 0||$0.15 - $0.65|
|Level 1||$0.55 - $1.35|
|Level 2||$0.65 - $1.35|
|Level 3||$0.75 - $1.75|
|Level 4||$0.85 - $2.00|
|Level 5||$1.00 - $2.50|
Level 0 means that your drywall is completely unfinished. It has been hung but not taped and mudded, primed, or finished in any way. The drywall is simply screwed to the studs. This is most commonly used for temporary walls when remodeling a part of your home, and you need a temporary wall to block it off from your living area. It is not meant for long-term use. The cost to hang the drywall and not finish it in any way is $0.15 to $0.65 a square foot for labor.
At level 1, your drywall has been taped and mudded, but it does not have any joint compound. Only the seams are done, and it is common to see ridges and tool marks. This is a tighter finish, but it is still not meant to be seen. This is how your drywall may be hung in an unfinished attic space. You can always go back and finish this drywall later, but in this state, it is a good partition for rooms. The cost to hang the drywall to this finish level is $0.55 to $1.35 per square foot, depending on the job size.
For areas that will have a layer of flat paint or a layer of primer and nothing else, such as the inside of a garage or utility closet, a level 2 finish is usually fine. The walls are hung, taped and mudded, and usually skimmed with joint compound. They are not likely to be sanded, however, so they often show tool marks, ridges, and other imperfections. The price for this level of finish is between $0.65 and $1.35 per square foot for labor.
When you plan to have your walls done in a decorative texture that is heavily applied or this is a workspace that you do not want nicely finished, a level 3 finish can work. This drywall is completely covered in a joint compound, which has been lightly sanded. It may be primed if you are not planning on texturing, or it can be unprimed if you will apply a textured finish later. This is usually the bare minimum finish used in residential areas. It costs between $0.75 and $1.75 a square foot in labor.
If you are using flat paint or having a thinner, lighter finish applied, a level 4 finish is usually the best choice. This finish has minor surface imperfections, but it has been smoothed and sanded. If you are not texturing, it will be primed and possibly painted with a single coat. This is also a good texture if you are unsure of what you will do with the area but know that you will do something, such as if you think you may tile or wallpaper that space. Expect to pay $0.85 to $2 in labor for this level of finishing.
Most interior rooms within a home have a level 5 finish. This finish has a thin layer of joint compound over the entire surface. It has been thoroughly sanded, primed, and maybe painted. This is the level of finish when you just want to paint the walls. This finish works for even very glossy paints because it is smooth with no ridges or potential imperfections. To hang and finish drywall to this level costs between $1 and $2.50 a square foot in labor for most jobs.
When the joint compound is applied to your drywall, it can be done in a few ways. Depending on the method, whether it is hand-applied or sprayed on and what tools are used, it can give your drywall different looks. The most common method of finishing drywall is to sand it and ready it for painting. However, ceilings and some walls may benefit from added texture.
The costs to texture usually range from $0.35 to $0.65 for light and sprayed texture, but it can approach $1.25 to $1.50 a square foot extra for heavy, hand-applied, and decorative textures. Hand-applied textures include hawk and trowel, Santa Fe, skip trowel, swirl, rosebud, and stomp knockdown.
This refers to the tools used in the process, but essentially the texture is unique to the tools and is relatively uncommon. The texture it produces varies tremendously based on the size of the tools used. The texture is large, uneven, and good for rustic-style interiors. The irregularities in the texture create shadows on the wall that add depth to the design.
This is common in the Southwest and Florida and resembles adobe structures. The texture varies depending on the tools and the finisher. It can have smooth areas between highly textured areas, or it can be textured all over. This texture is not often seen outside of the Southwest, and it is a good texture for adding depth to home interiors.
This random pattern is made by pressing and releasing the trowel against the wall as it moves in a circular pattern. This means that the trowel is essentially “skipping” over the wall so that it creates different levels of depth and texture, depending on how heavily the trowel is pressed at any given time. This texture is very popular in the U.S. Southwest but uncommon elsewhere.
Swirl texture is common in ceilings, and the effect creates half circles. In this texture, a trowel with a fairly small key depth is turned on end and dragged in repeated circles across the ceiling. The ceiling is “keyed” to the same depth, and the marks show up as a repeating swirl. Depending on the finisher, this can create several smaller patterns like scallops or full circles.
To create this pattern, a round brush is used. It is repeatedly stamped or “stomped” into the drywall. The bristles of the brush clump up and spread out as the brush is repeatedly knocked on the wall. This creates the effect of a flower pattern in the compound. To really achieve this texture, look for someone who specializes in finishing textures, rather than a general handyman or installer.
The stomp knockdown texture is most popular in the Midwest. In this pattern, a stomp brush is used to create random patterns on the wall. The brush is knocked or hit repeatedly into the compound to create a unique texture. The high points of the texture are cut off with a knife, which is where the term knockdown comes from. The high points are knocked down toward the wall, finishing the look.
Spray applied textures are usually a little thinner. They are faster and easier to apply, so they are less expensive than the thicker textures. Many homes that have a texture have one of these in their homes. Spray-applied textures include knockdown and orange peel.
The knockdown drywall texture has a random, splattered appearance. While the stomp knockdown is random, it is still applied by a person who may introduce some definition. With a spray knockdown texture, the texture is sprayed uniformly, and then the high points are cut with a knife. This makes the pattern looser and more even across the wall.
The orange peel texture has gained in popularity over the last 30 years. This is a light texture that is achieved with a thin, uniform layer of compound. When done correctly, the walls have a slightly stubbled texture that resembles the peel of an orange. When painted, the texture is not very noticeable from a distance, but it adds depth to the room.
Drywall is least expensive when you cover the entire home at one time. Large areas tend to be less expensive per square foot than smaller areas. For some smaller rooms, installers charge by the sheet rather than by the square foot. Costs are around $120 to $130 a sheet for most single rooms, fully installed. Below are the average costs to drywall and finish various rooms, based on their average sizes.
|Bathroom||$430 - $500|
|Living Room Ceiling||$600 - $700|
|Bedroom||$675 - $725|
|Garage||$700 - $750|
|Living Room Walls||$960 - $2,800|
|Basement||$1,380 - $1,500|
Drywalling a bathroom has a range of costs, depending on the type of bathroom and what you intend to do with it. For example, a half bathroom that will be painted has different costs than a master bathroom that will have tile on most of the walls. In most bathrooms, you need green or purple drywall to inhibit mold and prevent moisture problems. If the walls will be tiled, your drywall costs are lower than if they will be painted. The average cost to drywall a bathroom is around $430 to $500, depending on the size and use.
Drywalling a ceiling can be less than the cost to drywall the perimeter walls of the same room. For example, a living room has an average size of 300 sq.ft. This means that the ceiling size is 300 sq.ft., but you may have two 10-foot walls and two 30-foot walls that are 8 to 10-feet high. So, the cost to drywall the ceiling is usually lower than the cost to drywall all the walls of the room. The average cost to drywall a living room ceiling is around $600 to $700, fully finished.
Costs to drywall a bedroom must take into account the square footage of each individual wall. Costs for only drywalling a bedroom, which are generally smaller rooms, will be higher per square foot than when drywalling several rooms at a time. In most cases, the bedroom walls will be fully finished, and you will likely use standard drywall. This makes the average cost range from $675 to $725, depending on the finish.
Drywall in a garage is often left mostly unfinished, with just a bare skim coat of joint compound. This makes the cost per square foot significantly lower than the cost to drywall a room on the interior of the home. While garages are larger than some rooms, they are often less expensive to drywall in general because they usually do not need specialty materials or have high finishing costs. The average cost to drywall a two-car garage is around $700 to $750 on average.
Installing drywall in a room means taking the measurements of each wall. For the average living room of 300 square feet, this may mean two 10-foot walls and two 30-foot walls, for a total square wall footage of 640 to 800 sq.ft. on average. While standard drywall is typically used in this space, the level of finish is usually the highest. This makes the average cost to drywall a room of around 300 sq.ft. about $960 to $2,800 on average.
Drywalling a basement has a wide range of costs. The ceilings are generally low, making the wall square footage slightly lower than in other interior rooms. And the walls may not be finished to the same degree as the rest of the house. However, you may want to install either green or purple drywall, which has a higher cost per square foot for the material. Your installation and finishing costs will likely be lower. This makes the average cost to install drywall in a basement around $1,380 to $1,500 on average.
The cost to replace drywall is only slightly higher than the costs to install new drywall. This assumes that there are no major structural changes, and that nothing is discovered once the walls are opened that needs to be changed or fixed. In this case, the old drywall can usually be removed for around $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot. The average cost range to replace drywall starts at around $1.50 to $1.60 a square foot but can go as high as $3.50 a square foot on average. Costs can be higher if you discover mold behind the old drywall because mold remediation must occur first.
While drywall is a fairly durable material, it can be easily damaged by nails, hard knocks, and sometimes the house settling. You can have old nail holes patched, larger holes taped and repaired, and cracks refinished. Occasionally, the seams or a corner may fail, which may also require repairs. The cost to repair drywall depends on the area requiring repair. Nail holes can be patched for around $75, while water damage can cost as much as $345 to repair.
If you currently have a drop ceiling and want to replace it with drywall, you first need to make sure that it is possible. Sometimes, drop ceilings are installed to cover pipes, wires, or ducts. To drywall, you need to frame the ceiling first, which can lower the ceiling dramatically if you need to accommodate existing pipes or ductwork. After the ceiling is framed, then it can be drywalled. The average cost for this is around $15 to $17 a square foot fully installed, including the removal and disposal of the old drop ceiling. This assumes that the ceiling does not contain asbestos, which increases costs.
If you currently have wood paneling, it is possible to remove it and replace it with drywall. The biggest issue is that there are many kinds of wood paneling. Thin wood veneer is fairly easy to remove and dispose of, while a thicker hardwood panel is more difficult to work with. While the cost to install drywall is between $1.50 and $3 a square foot, the cost to remove wood paneling and install or replace any framing behind it can be as high as $30 a square foot. For the average 300 sq.ft. living room, this can cost as much as $20,000 for the total job for hardwood paneling. Thinner veneer may only cost $5 a square foot for removal and disposal, making total costs closer to $4,000 for the total job.
Replacing plaster with drywall is often done in older homes. Although it changes the value of a historic home, many people opt for drywall. Consider your choices before taking this step. Plaster has some distinct advantages over drywall, including durability and lifespan. Also, plaster contains lime that is naturally resistant to mold. The presence of asbestos should certainly be investigated before removing plaster to install drywall. The cost to remove plaster walls is $2.10 to $3.20, with an additional cost of $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot to add the drywall.
Drywall is the most common method of creating interior walls. It is fast, easy, and inexpensive to put up. Plaster is more time-consuming, consisting of a mixture of gypsum dust that is made into a paste. It is applied in three separate coats onto a wood lath. This creates a different texture and a cooler-feeling wall to the touch. It is also much stronger and more durable than drywall. However, plaster is extremely expensive to install, mostly due to the amount of labor involved in installing first the lath and then the three coats of plaster. This costs between $15 and $20 a square foot in total, compared to the costs of installing drywall, which is around $1.50 to $3 in total.
Installing a drop ceiling costs around $9.35 a square foot completely installed. The cost to frame a ceiling and then drywall it costs around $15 to $17 a square foot fully installed. If you have an existing framed ceiling and only need to drywall it, this costs around $2 a square foot on average, making this a more affordable option. However, drop ceilings can more easily accommodate ducts, wires, and pipes than a framed ceiling, which must be lowered to accommodate these.
When the wall is finished to the level you desire, you can have it painted. An average-sized bedroom (12’ x 12’) costs $400-$800 for professional painting. If the drywall finish level is lower with more visible seams, the paint may not hide them entirely.
In the case of replacement, the old wall needs to be removed, taking care to avoid electrical and plumbing components. Wall demolition costs around $700 on average for a non-load-bearing wall, but it can cost as high as $3,000 if the wall is load-bearing or needs plumbing and wiring rerouted.
Insulation should be replaced if necessary or installed if the wall is new. Batt insulation is the most common. Wall insulation costs between $0.10-$30 per square foot, depending on the type.
Drywall can also be installed on the ceiling. There may not be an additional cost in many cases, but if your ceiling is particularly high like cathedral and vaulted ceilings, it may come with a 10%-30% upcharge.
If there is pre-existing drywall, the old wall must be removed. Carpenters typically charge $70 per hour, and the cost to remove old drywall costs $400-$700.
Either will work, and each has benefits. Vertically hung drywall means secure attachment to the studs, while horizontal placement means cleaner seams and easier finishing.
This depends on the drywall type. Standard drywall costs around $10 to $12 a sheet, but specialty types can be as much as $75 a sheet.
Drywall installation can take as little as one day or as long as four weeks, including the time it takes to prep and clean up debris. The amount of time depends on the project size, framing needs, and level of finish.
The cost varies depending on the room size, but the average cost to frame and drywall a room ranges from $12-$15 per square foot.
A level 5 finish means few, if any, visible seams and a uniform finish. Level 5 drywall costs as much as $2.50 per square foot, depending on the type.
When using standard 4’ x 8’ sheets, you need approximately 32 sheets.
A 2,000 sq.ft. home needs a wide variation in the amount of drywall, depending on several factors. An open floor plan requires less drywall than a home cut into many rooms. The ceiling height also impacts the amount of drywall needed. Which ceiling type and whether you have any paneling, such as cement backer board or wood paneling, also impact the amount of drywall. You may need anywhere from 8,000 sq.ft to 9,000 sq.ft. of drywall to complete the interior.