Drywall is a cheap, useful material for creating interior walls or ceilings in a home. Generally, drywall – also known as gypsum board, plasterboard, or sheetrock – comes in panels of 4 x 8 feet. Drywall is thin (usually between 3/8 of an inch and 5/8 of an inch thick) and therefore light.
You can install drywall yourself, although it’s usually faster and easier to hire a contractor to do so for you. In some states, you may legally be required to have a permit to install drywall, meaning you either have to apply for the permit yourself or hire a contractor who already holds it.
The costs involved in installing and hanging drywall are fairly standardized; assuming you don’t have any abnormally-shaped rooms, you can usually be fairly certain what an installation project will cost.
This guide will discuss the costs, breaking them down so you can see potential areas of savings. In particular, this involves doing the work yourself or using an economy of scale. Knowing the cost breakdown will help you make an informed choice.
The Cost of Installing Drywall
Including the cost of labor and materials, the cost of installing a drywall panel is between $60 and $90.
A standard-sized 12 feet by 12 feet room, with standard dimensions and no additional features, will require 18 panels and will cost $1,200 to $1,650.
PRICE PER PANEL
In general, you can expect to pay between $60 and $90 per drywall panel.
|1||$60 – $90|
|10||$600 – $900|
|20||$1,200 – $1,800|
|30||$1,800 – $2,700|
|50||$3,000 – $4,500|
Before undertaking any drywall work, you should get a detailed estimate from a few contractors. When you are getting a quote, be sure to get the following information included.
This will give you the best sense of the bottom-line price:
The panels that will be used – dimensions and the types (thickness, material, etc.)
Transporting all materials to the site and transporting any debris or materials away
This includes laying down protective coverings, ensuring no damage to existing structures
Labor Cost Distribution
How the labor will be divided – how many people will be working on the project. It’s also important at this stage to get a time estimate.
All of these will give you a final price that encompasses all aspects of the job. You can use the below figures to help you calculate a ballpark figure for an estimate as well.
Breaking down the cost of labor, it’s possible to see that the bulk of the expenses of drywall installation comes from labor. The cost per panel of drywall is between $12 and $35.
Here’s an example of a price breakdown for 200 square feet of drywall installation:
|Drywall||$300 – $500|
|TOTAL||$326 – $526|
Using different finishes or drywall types will change this price slightly, although again, the bulk of the cost will be in the labor required.
Labor makes up the majority of the costs when it comes to installation. Hiring a contractor equates to a cost of around $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot, constituting between 50% and 75% of the final cost. Of course, you can complete the work yourself, although in this instance you need to factor in the cost of your time.
In some cases, the specific circumstances of your installation will drive up the costs. Throughout this guide, the assumptions have been based on a standard room with no ornate details or non-standard elements. If either of these assumptions is wrong, then the costs change.
Two very common additional costs are for working with older homes and adding in additional upgrades. Both of these will increase the costs of both materials and labor.
If your home was built prior to the 1980s, there’s a chance it has asbestos or lead paint in it. In either case, you will need to take additional safety precautions (and your contractors will charge a higher rate).
- The cost to remove asbestos is between \$1,200 and \$2,900.
- The cost to remove lead paint is typically between $1,200 and $4,800.
- The cost to remove mold is between $1,200 and $3,400.
In all three cases, these costs are in addition to that of installing and hanging drywall. You may be able to negotiate a combined price, although you should assume all drywall costs are on top of this.
Some homeowners decide to undertake additional work while they are in the process of having their drywall replaced. The most common jobs are to check for pests, to install new wiring, or to install new plumbing.
The costs for these are as follows:
- The cost to check for pests is between $125 and $275
- The cost to install new electrical wiring is between $600 and $2,200
- The cost to install new plumbing is between $400 and $1,900
Again, all of these costs are on top of what you can expect to pay for drywall installation.
If you are just placing drywall in a temporary structure, can’t decide on the finish, or want to do the finishing yourself, you can pay for just hanging. Drywall hanging is when the drywall is simply hung and isn’t taped, sealed, or finished.
If you decide to do this, you will pay between $1 and $1.50 per square foot. This is the same cost as a 0-level finish (see below for more information on finishing). This is the most basic level of installation.
The cost of finishing the drywall depends on what level you are looking for. There are six levels of drywall finishing available.
COST OF DIFFERENT LEVELS OF DRYWALL FINISHING
|LEVEL||FINISH||COST PER SQ. FT.|
|0||Drywall is attached to the wall frame||$320 – $600|
|1||Tape is used to seal seams andjoint compound over the tape||$1 – $4 per ft.|
|2||Coat of compound is added to the panels||$120 – $375|
|3||Two coats of compound – provides a smooth finish||$300 – $500|
|4||Three coats of compound – suitable for some types of paint||$800 – $1,450|
|5||High finish levels – suitable for gloss or enamel paints||$100 – $300|
If you want to save money on the process, you may be able to pay for a lower level of finish and get the drywall to your required standard yourself.
ROOM BY ROOM
The room that you are having drywalled also impacts the price. For a standard-sized 200 square foot room, you will pay around $1,500 for drywalling (assuming the room has standard dimensions and layout). However, different rooms throughout your home will have different prices because of the slightly different requirements.
There is a slight economy of scale involved, meaning that if you have a 100 square foot room drywalled, it will cost more than half of a 200 square foot room. Similarly, a large room ends up costing slightly less per square foot.
For a simple basement drywall installation job, a basement finishing project for example, you can expect to pay somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 (this is based on a standard 1,000 square foot basement).
What drives up the cost is that there is often a requirement for a moisture-resistant panel in the drywalling because basements are susceptible to water intrusion. These cost roughly 10% more than standard drywalling.
For a garage, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,200 and $5,100 for drywalling. As a rule of thumb, the more cars your garage can hold, the more it will cost to drywall.
$1,200 – $3,600
$1,400 – $4,200
$1,700 – $5,100
The price tends to be higher for this type of drywalling because of the need for fire-resistant panels. These are about 50% more expensive than standard panels.
As mentioned above, the more drywalling work you have at once, the cheaper the per-square-foot final cost. This means that you will get a discount for having your whole home drywalled at the same time.
Generally, the prices break down as follows:
|House Size (Sq. Ft.)||Drywall Required (Sq. Ft)||Price|
|1,500||5,000 – 6,500||$5,000 – $19,500|
|2,000||6,500 – 7,900||$6,500 – $23,700|
|2,500||7,900 – 9,400||$7,900 – $28,200|
|3,000||8,000 – 10,000||$8,000 – $30,000|
The overall range, therefore, is between $1 and $3 per square foot, although the higher the square footage being drywalled, the closer you will be to the lower end of this range.
Installing drywall is not an expensive process, particularly when it comes to other parts of building a home. While this may seem like an area where you can cut expenses, it is in fact a great area to save time by hiring contractors.
For contractors, installing drywall is a straightforward task, and the time you save – for relatively little money – can be better used to complete other tasks in the home building process.
Furthermore, if you hire contractors, you can be sure that the job will be done to a professional level. That way the stress is taken out of the task and you can rest assured that your home is built to a high-quality standard.