labor cost to hang and finish drywall

Average Cost of Sheetrock or Drywall Installation

The average cost to hire a professional to hang drywall is $2.40 per square foot using standard ½” drywall. The cost includes hanging the drywall, taping the seams and applying three coats of “mud,” or compound.

When specialty drywall such as drywall resistant to mold or fire is used, cost rises to $3.00 or more per square foot.

Average Do It Yourself cost

$0.75 – $2.00 / Square Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$1.65 – $3.15 / Square Foot

Typical Cost Average

$2.40 / Square Foot

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Overview of Drywall Installation

Sheetrock vs. Drywall: what’s the difference?

Like Kleenex, Sheetrock is a brand name that has become synonymous with the product. Sheetrock is a brand of drywall manufactured by the U.S. Gypsum Corporation. Besides the name, there is no difference between sheetrock and other brands of drywall.

If you are considering a drywall project, make sure to check out our cost guide for ceiling drywall as well. Note that in some cases, when a company is hired to remove popcorn from a ceiling, they may also suggest a rough scraping, then covering it with new drywall to eliminate the wavy look in older homes.

This drywall cost estimate looks at the cost factors that will determine the total expense for your project, including the cost to hire a professional contractor and the tools and materials you will need if you do the project yourself.

While this isn’t the easiest DIY project, it can be done by ambitious homeowners who are willing to learn. We offer some tips for DIY drywall hanging below!

Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details

Drywall Installation Cost Factors

The list below offers a comprehensive look at the cost factors that will determine the price of your drywall project. These cost factors can help you to know what to expect before you begin.

  • Room Size – Total cost obviously goes up as the room size increases, but cost per square foot falls when more drywall is installed. To measure your room, multiply length x width x wall height. If you’re drywalling the ceiling too, then consider length x width and add that to your total.
  • Drywall Type – Most projects require standard ½” drywall. But there are lots of different types of drywall and each one has a specific use. The type of drywall you use can radically change the cost of your project, so it’s important to know beforehand what type you plan to use! See the types and material costs in the Retail Cost section below.
  • Finished or Unfinished or In Between – The level of finish you want on your drywall will depend on the end goal of your project. If you are drywalling a garage or basement, you may not care so much about the level of finish. However, if you would like to be able to use high-quality paint on the finished drywall and end up with a superior look, you will need to pay for a higher level of finish. Drywall finishes range from 0 to 5. Level 0 costs about $1.00 per square foot, while level 5 costs around $3.00 or more per square foot.
    • Level Zero: drywall is attached to framing
    • Level One: seams are sealed with tape and concealed with “mud” compound
    • Level Two: one coat of compound is applied to walls, ready for tile
    • Level Three: two coats of compound are applied to walls, ready for texture
    • Level Four: three coats of compound are applied to walls, ready for paint with little to no gloss
    • Level Five: high-quality skim coat is applied to walls, ready for enamel or high-gloss paint

For ceilings, a knock-down finish is also offered – dry compound is dabbed or sprayed on the ceiling and allowed to dry. You can leave the texture “as is,” or have it sanded lightly to create a knock-down finish. Both cost less than full three-coat-and-sand finishes.

Retail Drywall Costs by Type

Here is a list of the most common drywall types and the approximate cost for each:

  • Standard: Most common, basic drywall type used for walls and ceilings. It is available in several sizes starting at ¼”, though that thickness isn’t rigid enough for ceilings and will sag in time . | $8 – $12 per panel
  • Mold Resistant: Mold resistant drywall is most commonly used in damp, mold-prone areas like bathrooms and basements. Some contractors call it “greenboard” due to the moisture-resistant paper used on many brands. | $12 – $16 per panel
  • Moisture Resistant: Similar to mold resistant drywall, moisture resistant drywall is used in bathrooms, basements, unfinished garages in humid regions as well as any other moist areas. | $14 – $26 per panel
  • Fire Resistant: Building code requires fire resistant drywall to be installed between the garage and main house. It is also used near furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, etc. | $13 – $15 per panel
  • Soundproof: As the name suggests, soundproof drywall is also called acoustic drywall and sound-control drywall. It is used to reduce sound from other rooms or the outdoors. It is the most expensive drywall type. | $45 – $55 per panel

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $0 – $400 | If you’re re-doing a bedroom or similar project, don’t bother with a permit. However, if you’re building an addition, drywalling the wall between the garage and house or remodeling a bathroom, local officials will want to inspect the job to ensure the right drywall type has been used. For large construction projects, inspecting the drywall is part of the construction permit.

Approximate Installation Time

  • 3 days – 2 weeks for most projects | It is very difficult to estimate how long a drywall project will take without knowing the size of the project. If you hire a professional to hang drywall in a 12 x 12 room, he may be able to finish in a few days using fast-drying compound and doing a couple coats per day. If you are installing the drywall yourself, or having an entire house drywalled, it could take several weeks.

Who Does the Installation?

Hiring a trusted professional to hang drywall will guarantee that you receive a professional-level installation. You can rest easy knowing that your time is being saved while someone else completes the drywall installation. A professional drywall hanger will also take care of any cleanup, and will be able to finish the drywall to your specifications. However, all of this comes at a price, since labor is the bulk of the cost. The cost to hire a professional to hang your drywall will be based on the square footage of the project. Contractors charge about $50 – $100 per hour, or about $1,500 for a 200 square foot room.

If you do the installation, you skip the contractor costs, but you have material costs and you have to budget in all the extra time it will take to do the project. To DIY drywall installation, you will need drywall panels, drywall tape, mud, drywall putty knife, drywall T-square, sharp utility knife, drywall screws, drill, and sandpaper. These supplies aren’t cheap, so make sure to factor in those extra costs before you decide to DIY!

Costs of Related Projects

Below is a list of related projects that you might be interested in.

  • Ceiling Drywall Installation
  • Popcorn Ceiling Removal
  • Drop Ceiling Installation
  • Mold Removal
  • Laminate Flooring 
  • Solid Hardwood 
  • Crown Molding
  • Baseboard Molding

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Finishing drywall is something that people spend years learning how to do just right. A good drywall job takes skill and experience, and you can’t expect professional-level work without putting in the time.

If your priority is to have a high-quality drywall job that is ready for nice paint by the end of the project, it’s best to hire a pro. Don’t waste precious time and materials doing something yourself that isn’t going to turn out the way you hoped it would.

However, if your priority is to get some drywall experience and learn a new skill, and you aren’t too worried about the outcome, by all means give this popular indoor project a shot! Drywall hanging is a great skill to have, and many people enjoy the process.

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