Most homes incorporate some drywall. It’s a standard wall and ceiling surface material.
Our readers include people who love to do home improvement projects themselves as well as people who prefer hiring a contractor to do it. For that reason, our drywall costing calculator below provides “materials-only” cost estimate as well as the additional costs for hiring a professional.
Please note our calculators for guideline purposes only given there are many variables involved. Moreover, the resulting calculations are not a cost quote. We do not offer, provide or broker home improvement services.
Drywall Cost Calculator
Below is a calculator to estimate the cost to drywall a room or rooms based on the total surface area (square footage) to be drywalled. Please note that the calculator is based on assumed material and contractor costs. We used mid-range cost figures. Accordingly, the actual cost may vary depending on materials, your location (drywall professional fees vary by location) and other factors. This calculator is intended to be a guideline only. It is not a professional quote.
At the bottom of this article, we set out the assumptions made to generate the calculations.
Drywall Sq. Ft. Calculator
Below is a calculator to determine the total square feet you wish to drywall. If you plan on drywalling more than 8 walls (or surface areas), simply note down the total and then use the calculator again. If you have oddly shaped surface areas to be drywalled you may not get a precise result.
The first calculator above (Drywall Cost Calculator) is based on the following assumptions:
- Drywall sheet: $13 USD per sheet which comes to $.40 per sq. ft.
- Screws: $6.50 per pound.
- Mud: $15 per bucket.
- Tape: $.02 per sq. ft. (based on $2.00 per linear foot).
- Contractor: $1.50 per sq. ft. Includes mud and taping labor as well. Does not include the cost of materials. Please note a drywall professional may obtain materials at a lower cost due to buying power or they may charge a mark up that results in materials costing more than the calculation. You will want to discuss the breakdown of labor and materials costs with any professional you hire. Moreover, if you have a huge amount of surface sq. ft. to drywall, this assumed labor cost may be lower per sq. ft.
First, determining the type of drywall you need will help to narrow down a price point. Drywall is a relatively inexpensive material but is priced based on the necessary square footage. Different drywall types are used for various purposes, so be sure to choose your project’s right drywall type.
Standard drywall is the most economical option and is the type of drywall that is commonly used to finish a space. Standard drywall can be used on the walls or to finish a drywall ceiling. Smooth standard drywall is also used to refinish a popcorn ceiling with a smooth ceiling. This type of drywall begins at 3/8 inches thick and also comes in thicker drywall options up to an inch thick. Standard drywall usually comes in sheets that are 4 feet by 8 feet. This size is a very typical drywall size. One sheet of drywall is about $12.
Similar in size and shape to standard drywall, purple drywall is designed to be moisture and mildew-resistant. This drywall option makes it ideal for finishing spaces that see high humidity, such as the bathroom. Purple drywall comes in a range of thicknesses and can be used on the walls or for a drywall ceiling. This drywall is a specialty type of drywall that is more expensive. A 4-foot by 8-foot sheet will cost about $15.
Type X Drywall
This type of drywall is a specially designed material that is made to be fire-resistant. The drywall itself is made of fireproof materials and is usually 5/8 inches thick. The drywall thickness is increased by adding multiple layers of this material, which can also make it even more fire-resistant.
Type X drywall is harder to cut but can also have soundproofing abilities making this drywall multi-functional. Between the special fire retardant fibers and the added drywall thickness, this drywall is more expensive. On average, a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of Type X drywall will cost about $18.
Soundproof drywall is a particular type of material that is made of laminated drywall mixed with pieces of wood fibers. The combination of materials gives this drywall a special soundproof quality that is perfect for people creating a movie room, a music room, or who simply want to improve their home acoustics. This material is the most expensive drywall option and will usually cost about $54 for a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet.
Blue Board Drywall
This type of drywall is sometimes called plaster baseboard. That is because this drywall is made of a special material that is necessary for plaster applications. The material is used as a veneer for plaster, and the paper used to make blue board drywall has special moisture absorption properties.
This drywall is a special type of drywall that doesn’t use drywall tape or mud. It can be especially useful if it is installed in a bathroom or other high moisture areas. This type of drywall also has special soundproofing properties. Blue board drywall is a special type of material that costs more than a standard drywall board. Expect to pay about $20 per 4-foot by 8-foot panel.
New Drywall vs. Drywall Repair
The size of your project, and the overall cost, will often come down to the scope’s size. New drywall can be added to your space, like a basement, to make it finished. Drywall installation will allow you to install added insulation between the studs to make a room warm and temperature controlled.
Plus, added drywall gives you the option to run cables and wires behind the drywall making your room complete. Often, when installing new drywall to space, you will have to start from scratch, requiring the necessary materials to piece together the multiple drywall pieces seamlessly.
Alternatively, drywall repair is usually much smaller in scale. This project means that just a small section of drywall must be replaced or repaired. Often, this means cutting out the damaged, existing drywall and replacing it with a smaller, new sheet.
This repair may be necessary if the old drywall has been water damaged or has a hole. Drywall repairs often cost less because fewer materials are needed. Sometimes, depending on the repair’s size, a small section of drywall coupled with some drywall mud is enough to create a seamless repair.
An added cost to your drywall project will be the many necessary supplies needed to give your room a finished and polished look with fresh new sheetrock. Just as the drywall cost is based on square footage, materials will be based on how large or small your project is. Larger projects will require more material to finish the job.
At the base of your drywall project, you will need sheetrock or drywall. This product is the actual hard material that creates the finished wall in your room. Sheetrock comes in several available types, sizes, and thicknesses.
While most sheetrock is sold as a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet, it is sometimes possible to buy a small 3-foot by 2-foot section if you are simply doing a drywall repair. Expect to pay about $12 per sheet for standard drywall and up to $50 per sheet for high-end, specialty, soundproof drywall materials.
Drywall is attached to the wooden studs in your house and is usually installed in large sheets. To firmly affix the drywall pieces to the wooden studs, you must use special drywall screws. These screws are generally longer, about 1.5 inches or more, so they firmly secure into the wooden stud.
These screws have a flat head that allows them to screw down flush with the drywall’s surface. Each stud will require several drywall screws to make sure it is firmly in place. Expect to put between 32 and 34 screws into a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of drywall. Drywall screws will cost $6 for a one-pound pack.
Drywall is typically hung in large sheets until the entire area of your room is covered. Between each piece of drywall is a large seam. If left unfinished, this seam would look unsightly and could be a perfect place for hot or cold air to enter your home.
Plus, leaving a large gap between drywall sheets could cause unwanted moisture to enter your walls. To give your room a finished look and seal up the seams between each drywall piece, you must use drywall tape.
Drywall tape is a specially designed product that can bridge the gap between two drywall pieces, filling the drywall joint. While drywall tape comes in many sizes, it is most commonly found in 2 inch thick rolls. This tape will give you enough room to create a sound seam between sheets. Drywall tape will cost $10 per roll, and each roll contains around 300 linear feet.
Drywall Mud vs. Joint Compound
Between the seams created by various sheetrock pieces and the added drywall tape, the finished product is left jagged, bumpy, and rough to the touch. But the drywall we see in homes and buildings is always smooth and finished. To get a smooth finish to your walls, you must use drywall mud or joint compound. This product gives drywall the finished feel and creates a smooth surface.
Drywall mud and joint compound are effectively the same product. Both materials are made of crushed gypsum mixed with a thin adhesive. The texture and consistency of drywall mud are similar to toothpaste, and it is easily applied to the walls as wet material. Once the joint compound dries, it can be sanded to create a smooth finish that can be painted with your favorite color.
The joint compound should be added to the uneven parts of the drywall or anywhere there is a seam. The product should go over the drywall tape, tapering out to the edges to make the seam invisible. A joint compound is also added to the drywall screw heads to create a smooth finish. Each layer of joint compound should go on thinly, left to dry, and then sanded.
Expect to make several passes with the joint compound, layering each pass extremely thinly and sanding between layers. This routine is a process that will take time but will give your walls a great result. Joint compound is sold in a bucket and comes in a range of available sizes. Expect to pay about $17 for an all-purpose joint compound in a 4.5-gallon bucket size.
To be able to assemble the drywall, you must have the necessary tools. While some required tools may already be in your arsenal, expect to purchase some specialty drywall tools necessary for the job. At a minimum, you will need:
- Measuring Tape
- Drywall Knife (Various Sizes Necessary)
- Utility Knife
- Drywall Sanding Sponge
- Jab Saw
- Mud Pan
While you may already own a drill and a tape measurer, you may find the need to purchase specialized drywall knives in various sizes to finish the job. There are also specialized corner tools that will allow you to make nice and even seams in the corners of your room. Different size mud pans can also help you move through the space using different drywall knife sizes.
Many of these tools come in a plastic or metal variety. Plastic is easier to clean, but metal tools will last longer if you have other drywall projects on the horizon. On average, you can expect to spend about $100 on the necessary tools required to complete a DIY drywall job yourself.
DIY vs. Drywall Contractor
Probably the highest hidden cost for your drywall calculator is the labor cost necessary to have a professional drywall installer come to your home to help with the work. Drywall is a very specialized skill, and it takes a person with this skill set to make quick work of a drywall project. But it follows that hiring a professional for your drywall installation can be expensive.
Expect the labor costs for drywall installation to run you about $3 per square foot. This cost includes the labor as well as the necessary materials. While this seems affordable, keep in mind that a single 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of drywall has 32 square feet and will cost about $100 per drywall panel to hang by a professional.
A drywall contractor does have plenty of advantages, though. First, you know that you are getting a trained and experienced professional to help with your drywall installation. Not only will you have a great finished product, but you will have a fast and convenient installation.
A professional can make short work of even the largest room, meaning that you will be up and running in a fraction of the time it would take you to make your own DIY attempt at hanging drywall. This fast completion time means you can start using your finished space faster.
Plus, a professional drywall installation is also a great idea if you have to drywall a ceiling. The average weight of a drywall sheet is about 51 pounds. This weight can be challenging to hold above your head to hang into place.
A ceiling drywall piece is challenging to maneuver and manage into place, especially if you are doing the job alone. A professional contractor has the help provided by additional crew members and has specialized tools and scaffolding necessary to lift the regular drywall sheets into place.
Lastly, a drywall pro will already have the tools necessary for installing drywall. This fact alone can be a great saving for your drywall installation cost. Even more so, a drywall general contractor will have the right tools for the job, making the drywall work easy, and fast. A drywall contractor will likely have leftover parts and pieces from prior jobs making the total material cost less. If you do a DIY installation, you will have to buy everything brand new, costing more money.
But, if you want the satisfaction of finishing your drywall yourself, you can end up saving a great deal of money with a DIY project. If working on your drywall alone, you will only have the cost of materials to worry about in the total drywall cost.
Suddenly, a drywall panel that would cost around $100 for a professional to install will cost just $5 to install on your own. Depending on your project’s size and scope, this could end up saving you thousands of dollars.
Expect a big learning curve if you are installing drywall by yourself for the first time. Applying drywall tape and drywall mud has a certain feel and art form required, taking time to practice and perfect. Further, expect the work to be slow-going.
Moving through a drywall project by yourself can take much longer than a simple DIY project for the weekend. Drywall, depending on the project’s size and scope, can take days or even weeks to complete.
Drywall Cost Estimate
Three main factors can influence your drywall installation cost. First, the type of drywall material you choose will impact the price. If you select standard drywall, expect to pay about 12 per 32 square feet or one 4-foot by 8-foot panel. Specialty drywall that is moistureproof, soundproof, or fire-resistant can cost more money and be over $50 per drywall panel.
Next, the drywall installation cost will largely depend on the size of your project. Most of the material needed to install drywall is based on your total square footage. Large rooms and projects will end up costing more money. Remember to include the square footage needed to cover your room with gypsum board sheets and the cost of added materials and supplies to finish the drywall.
Lastly, the choice to hire a drywall pro can increase the cost of your drywall cost calculator. While a professional will work quickly and professionally, they do come with quite a price tag. A professional will usually work for about $3 per square foot, including labor costs and materials. To finish a 1,000 square foot basement, expect to spend about $3,000 by hiring a professional.
Hanging drywall in your home is a big project and a great way to increase the usable space in your home. Often, drywall is a great investment adding overall value to your home. Drywall can be complicated, especially with the several available types and the necessary tools and materials needed to complete a drywall job. We took a closer look at some commonly asked questions surrounding drywall installation cost to help you make an informed decision about completing your next drywall project.
How do you estimate the cost of drywall?
The drywall cost estimate for your home is largely based on the materials you choose to use and your project’s size. First, determine the type of material you want to use for your drywall. Usually, standard drywall is used for most home and building installations. This drywall option will cost about $12 per drywall panel and comes as a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet.
Next, determine the cost for any necessary supplies. At a minimum, you will need drywall screws, drywall tape, and joint compound. These materials will help you seal the drywall joints, making smooth and barely detectable seams. These items can be purchased in bulk supplies but still will cost more if you require more material for a larger job. You may also need to purchase about $100 in specialty tools to complete the drywall project.
Lastly, the biggest deciding factor for how much your drywall will cost is whether you choose to bring in professionals. A professional drywall contractor will usually charge about $3 per square foot in your home. This cost will also include the cost of materials. Compare this to the price of a DIY project, but you may also need to purchase tools, adding expense.
What should be included in a drywall installation estimate?
When getting a drywall installation estimate from a professional, it is always a good idea to see an itemized list of everything included in the project’s scope. This estimate should also include a timeline for the work. At a minimum, your drywall contractor should include the cost of labor as well as the cost of supplies. This itemized list of materials includes drywall, screws, tape, and drywall mud.
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the old drywall from your home. If this is the case, you want to see a line item for the cost of demolition and potentially the cost to dispose of the old drywall properly. Having an itemized list not only gives you peace of mind knowing what you are paying for, but it can help you compare similar estimates from other drywall contractors.
How do you calculate how much drywall I need?
Drywall is sold by the sheet, so it is easy to calculate how much material you will need. First, measure the square area that you need to cover. You can do this by taking the room’s height (usually 8 feet) and multiplying it by the length of the wall you are trying to cover. If you measured in inches, be sure to divide your total calculation by 144 to give you a measurement in square feet.
Next, take this number and divide it by 32. (A standard sheet of drywall is 4 feet by 8 feet, a total of 32 square feet.) This number will give you the total number of drywall sheets that you much purchase. Be sure to also add in the cost of any materials, including screws, tape, and mud, to finish your project.
How much gap should be between sheets of drywall?
When installing drywall sheets in your home, you want to leave a space between the sheets. This gap will give you some flexibility as the house settles or expands and contracts with changing temperatures.
You will want to leave about 1/8 inch between drywall sheets from top to bottom, as well as from side to side. 1/8 inch is about the width of a drywall knife, so using the knife as a spacer will help keep your drywall gaps consistent throughout the room.
Should drywall touch the floor?
Just as you want to leave a gap between individual sheets of drywall, you also want to leave a gap between the drywall and the floor. It is a good practice to leave about 1/2 inch between the floor and the drywall.
Not only will this give room for the drywall to expand during hot weather, but it will also help to prevent cracking. Further, adding a 1/2 inch gap at the bottom of the floor can prevent water damage to the drywall in the event of a flood.
Is there an alternative to drywall?
Drywall acts as a covering in your home, keeping insulation, wires, and cables tightly sealed between your walls. While drywall is common in homes and buildings, it certainly isn’t the only option to use for your walls. There are many alternative materials that you can use to help seal the walls in your home.
Wood is a common material that can help give your home a finished look. This material can be in the form of wooden planks or wooden panels. Wood can help keep your home insulated and give you a finished, beautiful look. Compared to drywall, though, wood has a hefty price tag associated with it and ongoing maintenance required to keep it looking great.
Another option that people choose is plastic paneling or pegboards. This style may be a perfect option for people finishing a garage or craft room. Plastic paneling and pegboards are easy to install and add an element of functionality to a room.
Lastly, many people choose to use lath and plaster for their walls. This process involves putting wet plaster on the walls, shaping them, and allowing it to set. Plaster is expensive but can create a beautiful finish. Plaster is often found in older or historic homes. It can be hard to repair plaster once it has cracked or once a nail hole has been formed.
What is the difference between sheetrock and drywall?
While sheetrock and drywall are often used to mean the same thing, these two terms are actually two different materials. Drywall is a material that is made of crushed gypsum pressed between two pieces of thick paper. Sheetrock, on the other hand, is a brand name of drywall. This is similar to how facial tissue is a generic type of material, but today they are commonly referred to as Kleenex, a brand that makes facial tissues.
Why do drywall screws pop out?
Nothing can be more frustrating than seeing a screw pop out of the drywall after you have a finished and painted wall. Drywall screws can pop out of the wall for two reasons. First, the screw was put into the stud too deep when the drywall was installed. Secondly, a drywall screw can pop out if the wooden stud expands with changing temperature. As the wood expands, the screw unwinds, causing it to pop through your finished drywall.