Hanging and taping drywall requires patience and skill, which is why most people choose to hire a professional. Hanging requires some muscle and precision, while finishing requires a lot of time and attention to detail.
Hanging drywall, the first step, involves attaching the drywall to ceiling joists and wall studs with nails or screws. Taping involves many steps, including:
- Filling the seams between pieces of drywall with joint compound and covering nail and screw heads with compound.
- Applying tape over the joints and making sure it is smooth.
- Letting the compound dry overnight.
- Sanding the first coat the next day.
- Applying second and third layers of compound on subsequent days, allowing the compound to dry overnight each time, and sanding the next day.
The goal with taping drywall is that is looks completely seamless when complete, which is why it’s best to hire a professional if you’ve studied the process but still don’t feel comfortable trying it. After taping, the only remaining tasks are priming, painting and trim work.
The cost to hang and tape drywall depends on the amount of drywall to be hung, the thickness and quality of the drywall, who supplies the drywall (you or the contractor), the difficulty of the job and your geographic location (this matters a lot). Some contractors charge by the square foot to hang and tape; others by the hour or the sheet.
- By the square foot, prices to hang and tape range from $0.50 to $2. Expect to pay on the low end of that range in areas with a very low cost of living (materials may or may not be included). In the Northeast or on the West Coast, you could be looking at $1.50 to $2 per square foot. The nationwide average is probably closer to $0.70 to $1.20 per square foot, but that doesn’t always include materials.
- Drywall itself costs anywhere from $6 to $15 per sheet, depending on thickness and quality, although the average price is closer to $8 to $10 per sheet. Expect to pay a premium of up to 20 percent on top of this if the contractor purchases and delivers the drywall. If you’re on a tight budget, consider purchasing and picking up the materials on your own. However, keep in mind that some contractors won’t allow you to do this.
- By the hour, budget about $20 to $60 for professional hanging and taping. Again, materials may or may not be included. On the low end of that range, materials are likely to cost extra.
- Per sheet, budget anywhere from $50 to $100, including materials. However, this is the least common method of billing.
Keep in mind that these prices do not include priming, painting and trim work, which usually add at least $0.40 to $1 per square foot.
- Shop around. Always request quotes from several local contractors to compare prices. But never choose on price alone.
- Do some background research into any contractor that comes back with a reasonable estimate (not too high OR low). Ask for references and make sure you check them all. Check the company’s rating with consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau.
- If you’re having trouble finding a reputable contractor, call your local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or look for a state or regional association of professional drywallers.
- Ask lots of questions. How long has the company been in business? Will the contractor provide proof of insurance? (This is important so that you’re not liable for accidents.) When will the project start and finish?
- Before any work starts, get a contract in writing. The contract should provide specific details on the job cost and timeline.
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