, ,

How Much Does Drywall Installation Cost?

Last Updated on February 18, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Drywall, also known as gypsum board or sheetrock, is an essential component of interior construction and renovation projects. Understanding the factors that influence drywall installation cost is key to effective budgeting and planning.

This guide provides a deep dive into pricing for materials, labor, and other expenses related to drywall installation.


  • For standard drywall expect to pay around $2.25 per square foot installed
  • Materials account for $0.50–$1.25 per square foot
  • Labor adds $0.75–$2.00 per square foot depending on complexity factors
  • Room size markedly affects pricing, larger areas cost less per square foot
  • Carefully match drywall type to the application and hazards
  • DIY provides major cost savings but requires skills and patience
  • Hiring professionals ensures quality results, but verify credentials
  • Upgrade planning, bulk purchases, and off-season scheduling assist cost control

How Much Does Drywall Installation Cost?

On average, professional drywall installation costs $1.50–$3.00 per square foot for materials and labor. This range accounts for standard 1/2″ drywall on walls and ceilings in typical room sizes.

Costs per square foot often fall in the middle around $2.25. For DIY projects, materials alone run $0.50–$1.25 per square foot.

Several variables affect exact drywall prices:

  • Drywall type: Standard, moisture-resistant, fire-resistant, etc.
  • Thickness: 1/4″, 1/2″, 5/8″
  • Labor rates and complexity: Experience level of installers, simple vs. intricate detailing

According to Homewyse, the basic cost to install drywall is $1.98 – $2.35 per square foot but can vary significantly with site conditions and options.

The website also states that the total cost to install drywall, including materials, labor, and supplies, typically ranges from $230.75 to $245.77 per 534 square feet.

HomeAdvisor argues that the cost to install or hang drywall ranges from $700 to $3,500, with an average cost of $2,100.

According to them, the cost per square foot for materials and labor ranges from $1.50 to $3, depending on the number of rooms and the level of finish.

Forbes writes that the national average cost of drywall installation projects is $1,500.

According to Fixr, standard drywall costs $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot installed, with the material averaging between $0.42 and $0.50 per square foot.

They also state that the national average cost to install drywall is between $1,600 and $3,500, with most homeowners spending around $2,000 on 1,000 square feet of standard ½” drywall, hung and finished in a remodel.

Angi mentions that the cost to install drywall ranges from $1 to $3 per square foot, with an average cost of $1.50 to $2 per square foot.

Drywall Materials Cost Factors

Drywall itself represents a significant portion of project costs. Prices depend on the type, thickness, size, and quantity purchased.

Types of Drywall

  • Standard: $0.25–$0.50 per sq. ft.
  • Moisture-resistant: $0.30–$0.70 per sq. ft.
  • Fire-resistant: $0.35–$0.90 per sq. ft.


Thicker drywall has better soundproofing and fire resistance.

  • 1/4″ drywall: $0.20–$0.40 per sq. ft.
  • 1/2″ drywall (most common): $0.25–$0.55 per sq. ft.
  • 5/8″ drywall: $0.35–$0.75 per sq. ft.

Sheet Size

Larger sheets cover more area but are heavier and harder to install.

  • 4 x 8 ft: $7–$15 per sheet
  • 4 x 10 ft: $10–$20 per sheet
  • 4 x 12 ft: $13–$25 per sheet

Buying bulk drywall sheets typically offers 10-20% discounts per sheet.

Labor Costs per Square Foot for Drywall Installation

Hiring professional installers adds $0.75–$2.00 per square foot for labor. DIY installation saves significant costs but requires more time and skill.

Hourly Labor Rates

Experienced professionals charge $50–$70 per hour per installer. Less experienced helpers cost $35–$45 per hour. Expect to pay 20–30% more for specialty finishing techniques.

Cost per Square Foot

Labor prices often range from $0.75–$1.25 for simple drywall panel installations to $1.50–$2.00 for more complex projects. Textured or hand-troweled finishes add $0.25–$1.00 per square foot.

You might also like our articles on the cost of tape and mud drywall, remodeling a garage, or removing old wallpaper.

Regional labor costs also cause pricing variations. Major metro areas are typically 15–30% more expensive.

Additional Drywall Installation Costs

Aside from the drywall itself and labor, several other expenses factor into the total project cost.

Permits and Inspections

Large drywall jobs usually require permits and inspections, adding $200–$500 in fees depending on location.

Drywall Disposal

Removing and disposing of old drywall costs $0.35–$0.75 per square foot, or $150+ per ton at landfills.

Tools and Supplies

Drywall tools like lifts, hoists, joint compound, corner bead, tape, and screws can cost $300–$700 upfront. Rental fees for lifts run $75–$150 per day.

Design Extras

Upgraded backerboard, insulation, or soundproofing materials add $0.25–$5.00 per square foot depending on the product.

How Room Size Impacts Cost

Larger rooms and whole houses cost proportionally less per square foot since setup and base labor charges are spread across more area.

Average Costs for Rooms:

  • Small bathroom (~35 sq.ft.): $350–$700
  • Medium bedroom (~150 sq.ft.): $700–$1,500
  • Large living room (~250 sq.ft.): $1,200–$2,500
  • Garage (~500 sq.ft.): $2,000–$4,500

Whole House Cost to Hang and Finish Drywall:

For a 2,500 sq. ft. house, the total generally ranges from $7,500–$15,000. Costs scale up for larger homes.

Factors That Increase Project Complexity

Standard DrywallComplex architectural details, ceilings, repairs, and other complexity factors can increase drywall installation costs.

  • Ceilings: 20–40% more labor-intensive than walls
  • Repairs: 30–50% more labor per square foot than new drywall
  • Textures/patterns: $0.25–$1.00 more per square foot
  • Arch details: $3–$8 more per linear foot for complex designs

Careful planning and competitive contractor bids help minimize these expenses.

Choosing the Right Drywall Type

Selecting suitable drywall improves durability and prevents problems that ultimately increase costs.

Standard Drywall – General purpose for walls and ceilings. Avoid direct water contact.

Moisture-Resistant – Bathrooms, laundries, and basements. Resists mold and mildew.

Fire-Resistant – Required in garages, furnace rooms. Up to 2-hour fire rating.

Soundproof – Reduces noise transmission. Ideal for home theaters and studios.

High-Impact – Withstands damage. Used in playrooms, hallways, offices.

Greenboard and purpleboard drywall also provide mold resistance. Talk to local building suppliers about options.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

In older homes, take precautions for asbestos and lead paint. Licensed inspectors can test for contaminants before starting demolition. Removing hazardous materials involves extra costs.

For a healthy indoor environment, look for mold and mildew-resistant drywall. Proper installation and climate control also help prevent mold growth.

DIY Drywall Installation: The Pros and Cons

With some carpentry skill and time, DIY drywall installation can save 50% compared to hiring professionals.

DIY Pros

  • Significant cost savings on labor
  • Greater flexibility in scheduling
  • More control over the project

DIY Cons

  • Learning curve with techniques like hanging, mudding, taping
  • Physically demanding work
  • Achieving smooth finishes takes practice
  • Drywall work goes slowly for inexperienced DIYers
  • Tool and equipment rental costs

Careful planning and research helps DIYers achieve quality results. Patience is vital.

Hiring Drywall Contractors: What to Expect

Professional drywall contractors have the skills, tools, and experience to complete installations efficiently.

What to Look for in a Drywall Company:

  • Strong references and proven experience
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured
  • Competitive pricing with detailed quotes
  • Responsive project management and communication
  • Attention to safety protocols and building codes

Benefits of Professional Installation

  • Faster project completion, especially for large jobs
  • Higher quality finishes and detailing
  • Ability to handle complex designs and ceilings
  • Warranties against defects
  • Smoother overall process

Get multiple bids and check backgrounds carefully before hiring.

Tips for Controlling Drywall Costs

With good planning, it’s possible to control costs for your next drywall project.

  • Compare material prices from different vendors, look for bulk order discounts
  • Consider lightweight drywall to reduce labor time
  • Get multiple installation bids, negotiate pricing
  • Schedule projects during slower seasons
  • Order 10-15% extra boards to prevent shortages
  • Clearly communicate finishes and expectations to contractors
  • Inspect installed drywall thoroughly before payment
  • Rent equipment rather than buying for one-time DIY projects

Avoid cutting corners or inexperienced installers to save money as this often leads to bigger expenses down the road.

Upgrades and Additions

Drywall installation presents a prime opportunity to add wiring, plumbing, insulation, and other upgrades economically. However, this can impact the project timeline and costs significantly.

If you plan to do other work, build in extra time and budget at least 15–25% more for drywall access, repairs, and coordination with other trades. Consult with contractors early in the planning process to map upgrades efficiently.

Final Words

With careful budgeting, planning, and contractor selection, your next drywall project can provide long-lasting beauty and functionality without breaking the bank. Use this guide’s cost factors to estimate pricing accurately as you plan.

How do I estimate drywall installation costs?

Accurately estimating drywall installation costs involves several steps:

  • Measure the total square footage of walls and ceilings needing drywall. Calculate separately if using different materials in certain areas.
  • Research material prices for the needed drywall type and thickness from building supply stores. Estimate 10-15% extra for wastage cuts.
  • Determine if you’ll DIY or hire pro installers. Get bids from contractors or estimate labor costs yourself based on hourly rates.
  • Add up expenses for tools/equipment, disposal fees, permits, and other incidentals. These often total 10-20% of material and labor costs.
  • Consider potential cost adders like complex designs, texture finishes, or existing repairs. Build in a 10-20% buffer if uncertainties exist.
  • Use a cost calculator to estimate total expenses based on your square footage and price factors researched. Compare this to any bids received.

Accurate measurements, current material prices, and realistic labor estimates get you closest to true costs. Build in buffers for surprises!

How much is labor to hang drywall?

On average, professional drywall hanging or installation labor ranges from $0.75–$1.25 per square foot. For a basic wall or ceiling install without complex detailing, costs usually fall right around $1.00 per square foot.

Several variables affect exact labor pricing:

  • Contractor experience level – Drywall pros charge $60–$70 per hour vs. $35–$45 for helpers
  • Project size – Per square foot labor prices drop on larger jobs
  • Complexity factors – High or angled ceilings cost 20-40% more than simple wall installations
  • Location – Labor rates run 15-30% higher in major metro regions
  • Specialty techniques – Textures or intricate finishes add $0.25–$1.00 per square foot

Get multiple bids from contractors to compare rates in your area. Ask about their pricing factors. With smart planning and negotiation, quality installation labor doesn’t have to break the bank.

Is it hard to install drywall?

For inexperienced DIYers, installing drywall well can prove challenging. Key difficulties include:

  • Lifting and fastening heavy, awkward sheets on ceilings and high walls
  • Achieving clean, smooth seams and finishes takes practice
  • Estimating material needs accurately to avoid wastage or shortages
  • Accessing tools like drywall lifts/hoists and learning proper handling
  • Correctly applying joint compound without gaps, cracks or excess buildup

However, with research and preparation, DIY drywall installation is very doable. Helpful tips include:

  • Watch online tutorial videos on techniques before starting
  • Start small with a closet or non-critical area to build skills
  • Consider renting stilts and lifts to make the work easier
  • Budget extra time and materials for a learning curve
  • Focus on safety – wear masks, goggles, knee pads
  • Use moisture-resistant drywall in baths, basements to avoid issues later
  • Don’t skimp on joint compound and be patient with coats
  • Inspect seams carefully and address flaws before painting

With the right expectations and effort, DIY drywall installation can save thousands over hiring out. Maintaining high quality just requires extra diligence.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *