The average cost to install drywall is one of the first things to consider before starting a drywall project.
Whether you’re repairing a single panel, replacing drywall in an entire room, or drywalling an entire house, a basic understanding of average drywall costs is essential.
Because many of our readers are DIYers, we break down the average costs for both installing drywall on your own as well as hiring a drywall pro to do the job for you.
We also include links to our favorite drywall cost calculator which will help you more accurately calculate the final price (largely calculated by drywall square footage).
Here’s how much it costs to install drywall in 2021.
DIY vs Professional
Cost of labor is one of the main factors that influences drywall price.
In fact, aside from materials this is the largest expense when it comes to calculating the cost of a drywall project.
Of course, you can always install drywall on your own. That’s actually what we advocate here on DIY Painting Tips – to take control of your own home renovation projects.
If you do hire a drywall contractor, expect the average cost of professional installation to sit around $3 per square foot, although this varies widely.
This cost breaks down to roughly $100 per drywall panel that you hire professionals to hang – and this figure doesn’t include the cost of the panel itself.
Of course, the best way to get an accurate drywall installation estimate is to contact a local drywall contractor with the specifics of your project.
But, what we’re really trying to say here is that going the DIY drywall route can save you a whole lot of money (even factoring in the cost of any drywall tools you’ll need to buy or rent).
Installing drywall yourself is certainly more difficult than hiring the pros, but it’s a relatively quick and painless process with just a little know-how, the right tools, and a helper (seriously though, find a helper – drywall panels are heavy).
If you’re drywalling the walls of a single room or even several rooms, most homeowners can safely and effectively complete the project themselves.
Where we usually recommend hiring a pro over the DIY route is when it comes to hanging drywall on the ceiling.
Cost of Installing Drywall Yourself
Hanging drywall yourself will save you a lot of money on the installation costs.
Think of it this way – you no longer have to pay for the associated labor, just for the cost of the materials.
Of course, most homeowners will have to invest in some specialized tools. But these costs are relatively low (especially compared to calling in the pros). And the more expensive tools, like a drywall lift, can be rented from most home improvement stores.
Luckily, standard drywall works well for most residential projects. 4×8-foot panels at 1/2-inch thick standard drywall can be used for most applications and costs around $10 to $15 per panel (although this varies widely).
Remember to check local building codes for any drywall requirements (such as using fireproof drywall in furnace rooms). You also need to use thicker drywall on ceilings, usually 5/8-inch thick does the trick, which runs at around $15+ per panel.
Finally, know that installing drywall isn’t just about hanging it…
After you’ve hung all the drywall panels, you also have to tape, mud, sand, and finish the drywall for a great looking final product.
So, just remember to factor in every expensive into your drywall estimate before diving into the job.
Cost of Hiring Professionals for Drywall
As we’ve mentioned several times already, hiring drywall contractors to do the job is more expensive than completing it on your own.
But this additional cost is easily justified if you’re just not up for a DIY job.
Of course, hiring drywall professionals is also the far easier route – and will also likely have better results (although cleanly hanging, mudding, and finishing drywall is a task most homeowners can complete).
If you do decide to go with the pros, remember to factor in roughly $3 per square foot for labor on top of the cost of each drywall panel.
For a standard drywall panel, that comes out to around $100 for labor plus about $10 to $15 for the cost of the panel.
Remember that speciality drywall raises this cost significantly. If you need soundproof, fireproof, or moisture-resistant drywall panels, expect to pay a premium.
Although hiring pros for drywall installation is certainly a great choice for many people, we do strongly recommend it for anyone that needs to hang drywall on the ceiling as this is a much more difficult (and, potentially, dangerous task).
How to Calculate How Many Panels You’ll Need
If you’re installing drywall on your own, coming up with an accurate estimate relies primarily on how many drywall panels you’ll need to use.
This is a fairly simple calculation if you remember that a standard drywall panel is 4×8-feet. So, grab a tape measure and a calculator and get started.
When using standard 4×8-feet sheets of drywall, simply divide the total square footage of the area you plan to remodel by 32.
Home Depot has an extremely useful drywall calculator to help you figure out how many drywall panels you need for your project.
Remember that it’s more difficult to calculate exactly how many panels you’ll need if you’re working with irregular shaped walls, such as slanted ceilings, alcoves, and the like. Expect some degree of error when making these cost estimates.
We recommend buying about 10% more drywall than you think you’ll need to account for any irregularities or odd cuts.
Average Cost to Install Drywall
Most homeowners in the United States pay an average of $1,500 on drywall projects.
For 1,000 square feet of standard drywall installed by professionals, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $1,500 to $2,000, including mudding, finishing, and other associated tasks.
You can cut this cost dramatically by installing and finishing the drywall yourself.
For special projects, such as installing fireproof, soundproof, or moisture-resistant drywall panels, you can expect the overall cost of the project to raise dramatically.
For 1,000 square feet of specialty drywall installed by professionals, you can expect to pay $2,000+, possibly even up to $5,000 or more.
Remember that the best way to accurately estimate drywall costs is to contact a local drywall contractor for a quote on your specific project.
Final Thoughts on Drywall Installation Costs
Want more drywall information? We’re here to help you make installing drywall as easy as possible. Check out our Drywall section for all things drywall-related, from removing drywall, installation, how tos, tool guides, and more.
For even more info about installing, buying, and repairing drywall, check out DIY Painting Tip’s Drywall Repair Guide
I started painting in 2001 and have seen just about everything in my painting career. I started in production and commercial painting, then moved over to new construction and remodeling during the boom of the early 2000s. Post 2010, I niched down into residential painting where I have done everything from exteriors, decks, interiors, furniture and more. Over the last few years, I’ve had a focus on kitchen cabinets.
I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves.
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