How Much Does it Cost to Finish Drywall?

No matter if you call it drywall, sheetrock, gypsum board, or drywall, it’s one of the biggest components to keep in mind for interior construction. This is a wall building material that has a paper covering and gypsum core, and it allows you to create a finished interior ceiling or wall much quicker than you could using more traditional methods like plaster when you add extensions to your home. This benefit leads many people to wonder the cost to finish drywall, and the good news is that it comes in several thicknesses, sizes, and subtypes that allow you to use it in multiple areas while controlling your costs. 

There are a large range of considerations when you’re trying to figure out the cost to finish drywall, due to all of the choices you have. The national average for the cost to finish drywall starts around $1,000 and goes up to $3,000. During a remodel, you can expect to spend Around $1,800 to use a standard ½-inch drywall to finish a 1,000-square foot room. For the low end of the price spectrum, the cost to finish drywall at ½-inch in a 500-square foot room is right around $700. For ½-inch soundproof drywall in a 1,000-square foot room, the costs can jump to almost $8,000. 

These cost to finish drywall estimates work out to between $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot, and this includes both labor and materials. Depending on the level of finish and the number of rooms you have to complete, the national average falls right between these two numbers at $2.00 per square foot. If you have a bigger job that you want completed on a tight deadline, it’s a good idea to hire a professional team 

However, we want you to have a good feel for the cost to finish drywall so you can budget for yourself and see whether or not it’s a feasible project to start right now. This is why we’re going to outline all of the biggest cost considerations to keep in mind below. 

1 Drywall Taping
The cost to finish drywall depends on a large number of factors, and you can save a decent amount of money if you do it by yourself. However, if you don’t have a lot of experience, you may want to hire a professional to ensure it’s done correctly.
Drywall taping by Ernie Seckinger / CC BY-NC 2.0

Calculating the Cost to Finish Drywall Per Square Foot

The first thing you want to know is how to figure out the cost to finish drywall per square foot because you can then take this information and apply it to your situation. Drywall comes with a broad range of installation costs, and the biggest cost factors are the job size and the drywall type you pick out. A lot of drywall installation contractors charge less per square foot if you need the entire house drywalled than they do if you need a smaller project completed. 

Your labor costs will start at around $1.00 for every square foot, and this can go up to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the level of finish and the job size. So, for all of the materials, installation with labor costs, and finish, you should budget for $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot. Be sure to ask any contractors you get in touch with about their prices for small and large-scale projects per square foot. 

So, if you had a 12 by 12-foot room, the contractor would need 18 panels of drywall. The cost would fall right between $1,500 and $3,500. A basic rectangular room is going to cost less than a room that has non-standard dimensions or arches. 

Pricing for Different Drywall Types

There are several different drywall types available, but traditional or standard drywall are the most common two used in projects like garage builds unless you specify a certain type. For example, you’ll need different drywall installed in wet or damp areas of you home like the bathroom or basement, and this can impact your cost to finish drywall. To meet codes in an apartment building or commercial space, you could need a fire or soundproof type. The building codes, room type, and your personal preference will factor in here. 

Eco-Friendly 

Most drywall is considered to be sustainable and eco-friendly. Most drywall uses gypsum in the core construction, and this is a very recyclable material. There is a lot of recycled content in drywall. However, if you want your drywall to have the most recycled materials possible, look for brands that specifically offer recycled or eco-friendly drywall. Be prepared to pay for it though as this cost to finish drywall will bounce from $14.00 to $20.00 per sheet. 

Fire-Rated

For high-occupancy buildings like apartments or dormitories or in certain areas of your home, building codes may dictate the use of flame-retardant and flame-resistant materials. This means that you should use fire-rated drywall or Type X drywall. You can get several drywall types that come fire-rated. When you look at the description, look for an X. It uses non-combustible fibers in the construction like fiberglass. However, it’s harder to work with and cut than other choices, so it’s rarely used unless building codes dictate it. You’ll pay between $12.00 and $21.00 per sheet. 

Moisture and Mold Resistant

You’ll want to pick out purple drywall if you want something that is both moisture and mold-resistant. There is a coating on it to prevent it from absorbing moisture, and it stops mold from growing. Purple board will also give you better resistance to moisture. However, it can be more difficult to finish because this coating can be uneven, and this can drive your cost to finish drywall up. This type of drywall will cost between $13.00 and $15.00 a sheet to finish.

Moisture Resistant

Better known as green board, this is a moisture resistant form of drywall that has a special coating on it to stop it from absorbing extra moisture. You’ll find it in high-moisture areas like bathrooms or basements, and some work well in areas of your kitchen with tile like backsplashes. It installs just like regular drywall and it’s easy to work with, and this can help control your overall cost to finish drywall. You’ll typically pay between $13.00 to $15.00 per sheet. 

Paperless

Most traditional drywall has a gypsum core coated with a paper layer. Paperless drywall has a gypsum core with a fiberglass coating. It’s mold and moisture-resistant thanks to this coating, and it’s also more durable and stronger. This makes it ideal for bathroom remodels, but it is more challenging to install and cut. It has a rough texture that is more difficult to finish as well, and this drives your cost to finish drywall up to between $15.00 and $22.00 a sheet. 

Plaster BlueBoard

Technically speaking, this isn’t a type of drywall. However, it’s a popular drywall substitute. If you want to have a traditional plaster finish for your home, you’ll need BlueBoard instead of drywall because it can support the heavier weight better. You may hear it called plaster baseboard, plaster base, or plaster BlueBoard, and it runs between $11.00 and $14.00 a sheet. 

Soundproof

If you’re not worried about your cost to finish drywall and you want to deaden the sound between rooms, this is a nice choice. It comes laminated with a mixture of gypsum, polymers, and wood pulp. This makes your drywall very dense, and it helps it deaden sound. It’s very challenging to install and cut, and this increases the price significantly. Prices start at $50.00 a sheet and go up to $75.00. 

Standard

This is the type of drywall most people choose to install in their homes, and it’s popular for interior ceilings and walls. You get a paper covering with a gypsum core. It’s easy and fast to hang, and it has a flat surface that makes it easy to finish while controlling your cost to finish drywall. It’s one of the least expensive picks on the list, and it’ll cost between $10.00 and $12.00 per sheet. 

2 Types of Drywall
The type of drywall you choose will impact your costs. It’s important that you do your research so you don’t end up with drywall that absorbs too much moisture and molds because this is a health hazard.
Kitchen Drywall Up by CJ Sorg / CC BY-SA 2.0

Drywall Costs by Size

There are a few standard sizes for drywall that will play into your overall cost to finish drywall. The easiest size to work with is four-feet by eight-feet, and this is the one contractors use most for their projects like kitchen remodels. For rooms with vaulted ceilings or ceilings, they can use 4-foot by 12-foot and 4-foot by 16-foot sheets. 

  • Four by Eight Sheets – This size is readily available in all types, and it’s the least expensive to install and buy. If you want to DIY a drywall project, this is the size you want to pick. The cost to finish drywall at this size ranges from $10.00 to $15.00 per sheet on average. 
  • Four by Twelve Sheets – If you’re wiring a ceiling, you’ll use four by twelve drywall sheets to finish it. The longer pieces allow you to cover larger areas without having to cut it. However, it can be challenging to handle, and the installation costs start to rise at this point. The cost to finish drywall at this size ranges between $12.00 and $18.00 per sheet. 
  • Four by Sixteen Sheets – This is the least common size, and it works well for oversized ceilings and rooms. It can be thicker and harder to handle without accidentally breaking it. It’s also heavier, and this will drive you cost to finish drywall up if it’s this size to between $16.00 and $25.00 a sheet. 

Drywall Installation Prices

A contractor or carpenter will install your drywall for you, but they typically need at least two people because the sheets can be unwieldy and heavy. To install drywall, you’ll add between $1.00 and $2.50 for labor. The finish level and job size will factor into your final cost to finish drywall. Larger projects have lower prices per square foot. 

If you’re going to remodel the space, the contractor will have to strip out the old drywall first. This can boost your cost to finish drywall. With new construction, your costs will be slightly lower at around $0.75 per square foot for the labor since they don’t have to remove any old drywall. 

The contractor should inspect the area for any potential issues before they put up the new drywall like electrical, insulation, and plumbing before they put the new drywall up. If they need to frame the area, this is step two. Then, they can install and finish the drywall. The finish level will depend on the room’s purpose and the final decoration. A bathroom wall will need more finish than a garage wall. The price range for each step of the installation process is: 

  • Hanging – $0.10 to $0.75
  • Taping and Mudding – $0.40 to $0.75
  • Priming and Sanding – $0.10 to $0.50
  • Finishing – $0.30 to $0.75

Total Costs – $1.00 to $3.50

You can install drywall vertically or horizontally, and vertically is the most common type of installation. Horizontal installations can be easier and faster to tape, but there is no price difference between the two methods. 

3 Drywall Installation Costs
Installing drywall is a multi-step process, and each step has costs involved in it that can cause your cost to finish drywall to fluctuate from room to room.
B&B/Apartment Bedroom by shister / CC BY 2.0

Drywall Cost with Framing

Your contractor needs to install your drywall on the studs or wall frame. They also need to frame the wall with drywall in mind. Since vertical installation is the most popular method with drywall, each piece is four feet across. Most stud walls have a frame every 16-inches, and this allows you to attach your drywall on each edge and in the center. This can help keep it sturdy while controlling your cost to finish drywall. 

To install an interior stud wall frame, you’ll pay between $8.00 and $12.00 per square foot. Fully installed and finished, your drywall will cost between $1.00 to $3.50, and this makes your total cost to finish drywall fall between $10.00 and $15.50 per square foot. 

Labor Costs by Drywall Finish Level

When it comes to your cost to finish drywall, you have six possible finishing levels. The first few levels of finishing are nothing more than getting the price of the total installation, and the last levels encompass getting your drywall ready to paint or add decorative texture. Depending on the drywall type and the job size, there will be some overlap between levels. 

Level 0 Finish

Your drywall is 100% unfinished at Level 0. It’s hung up, but it’s not mudded, taped, primed, or finished in any way. The contractor has only screwed it into the studs. This is very popular for putting temporary walls during bathroom remodels when you need a space to divide your room to block it from a living area. This isn’t meant for long-term usage. For labor per square foot to hang the drywall without finishing it ranges between $0.15 and $.70. 

Level 1 Finish 

Your drywall is taped and mudded at level 1, but there is no joint compound yet. The contractor only did the seams so far, and it’s very common to see tool marks and ridges. This is a slightly tighter finish, but it’s not permanent. This is how it may look in an unfinished attic space. It’s a good partition for your different rooms, and you can always come back and finish it if you find your cost to finish drywall going too high for your budget. Depending on the job size, the cost to finish drywall at this level will range between $0.50 and $1.40 per square foot. 

Level 2 Finish

If you have areas in your home that will have a layer or primer or flat paint on it and nothing else, like in a utility closet or garage, having nothing more than a level 2 finish is great. The drywall is hung up, taped, muddied, and skimmed with a joint compound. It’s not sanded, so you can usually see tool marks in it with ridges or imperfections. The price for a level 2 finish ranges between $0.60 and $1.40 per square foot. 

Level 3 Finish

If you plan to do your walls with a nice decorative texture that your contractor will apply with a heavy hand or if it’s in a place you don’t want a nice finish, level 3 is a good choice. This drywall will cover your joint compound that your contractor lightly sands. If you prime it if you don’t want to texture it, but you can leave it without any primer if you want to apply texture later. For many residual areas, this is the bare minimum finish level to have, and it’ll add to your cost to finish drywall by $0.75 and $1.76 a square foot. 

Level 4 Finish

Maybe you have a flat type of paint you want to use, or you want to apply a lighter and thinner paint. If so, level 4 finish is usually good. There are minor surface imperfections on this finish, and it has been sanded and smoothed out. If you don’t plan on texturing it, you’ll prime it before adding a single coat of paint to it. It’s also a good level of finish to apply wallpaper or tile to the space. You’ll pay between $0.80 to $2.00 to get this level of finish. 

Level 5 Finish

When you look at interior rooms in your home, most of them will come with a level 5 finish. There is a very thin layer of joint compound over the wall’s entire surface. The contractor will thoroughly sand, prime, and even paint it. When you just want to paint your walls, you’ll need a level 5 finish. It works well with high-gloss paints before there are no imperfections on the surface or ridges. To hang and get this level of finish on your drywall, you’ll pay between $1.00 and $2.50 for each square foot. 

4 Drywall Finish Levels
Think about how much finish your drywall needs to look complete and nice. Rooms you don’t go in as much like your basement or attic will require a lower finish level than living or family rooms.
Drywall by Nick Theisen / CC BY 2.0

Location and the Cost to Hang Drywall

When you cover an entire room with drywall in one go, it helps to keep your cost to finish drywall lower. If you have a smaller room, your contractor could charge by sheet rather than square foot, and this can make your cost to finish drywall go up. For most single homes to fully install the drywall, you’ll pay between $120.00 and $130.00 per sheet. 

Bathroom

The type of bathroom and the intended use will dictate your cost to finish drywall. If you have a half bathroom that you’ll paint, it has several different cost factors than you’d get with a master bathroom that is mostly tile. You’ll need purple or green drywall to stop mold growth and be resistant to water. If you tile the walls, your cost to finish drywall will be lower than if you want to paint it. The average cost ranges between $400 and $550. 

Basement

Basement ceilings are usually lower, and this makes your walls have a total square footage that is slightly lower than other rooms. The walls in your basement may also have different degrees of finish to them than other areas. You do want to install green or purple-style drywall because most basements have trouble with moisture and humidity, and this can lead to mold. These styles of drywall are more expensive, so this could cost you between $1,300 and $1,500. 

Bedroom

Each individual wall’s square footage will play into your cost to finish drywall in a bedroom. The cost to drywall a bedroom will usually be higher per square foot since these are typically smaller rooms. Also, bedroom walls usually come fully finished, and you’ll use standard drywall. Depending on the finish you choose, the cost for this project ranges between $600 and $800. 

Ceiling

Drywalling a ceiling may have a lower price tag than drywalling the room’s walls. For example, say you have a 300-square foot room. The ceiling is also 300-square feet. However, you have two 10-foot walls with two 30-foot walls that range from 8 to 10-feet high. The ceiling is one flat size, so the cost to finish drywall is less because there’s less cutting. Expect to pay between $500 and $700 to get a fully finished ceiling. 

Garage

Garages are usually unfinished for the most part, and you’ll apply a thin coat of joint compound. This causes your cost to finish drywall here to drop. Garages are typically much larger than your interior rooms, but they don’t require specialty materials. This helps lower the costs even more. To drywall a two-car garage, you’ll pay between $700 and $800 on average. 

Room

You’ll have to measure each wall in your room before you install drywall. For the average 300-square foot room, you could have two 30-foot walls by two 10-foot walls. This gives you a total square footage of 800 by 640-square feet. You usually use the highest level of finish with standard drywall, and this causes your cost to finish drywall to fluctuate from $950 to $2,800. 

Replacing Drywall Cost

To replace drywall, you’ll have a slightly higher cost than to install it new. Assuming that you don’t have any large structural changes or that you don’t open the walls to fix or change it, you’ll pay between $0.25 and $0.50 per square foot to remove it. To replace drywall, your average cost starts at $1.50 and goes up to $3.50 per square foot. If you discover mold, the costs can quickly go up because you’ll have to perform mold remediation before you replace it. 

Repairing Drywall Cost

Drywall is very durable, but you can damage it with hard knocks, nails, or if the house settles significantly. It’s possible to patch older nail holes, repair and tape bigger holes, and refinish cracks. The corner or seams can fail too. The area that needs repair will be the biggest factor in your cost to repair drywall. To patch nail holes, you’ll spend around $75.00, and water damage can cost you upwards of $350. 

Where You Can Find a Drywall Installation Contractor

Frequently Asked Questions

5 FAQs
Asking the right questions when you start looking at estimates can help you budget for this project. 
Drywall! By Ferrous Buller / CC BY-SA 2.0

1. How much does it cost to insulate drywall?

If you install the wall new or find problems with your drywall or your home heating or cooling, insulation installation can help. The most common type of insulation is batt, and it can cost between $0.10 and $30.00 for every square foot. The type of insulation will determine the cost to finish drywall. 

2. How much do contractors typically charge per hour?

If your room has pre-existing drywall up, contractors will have to remove it before they install the new. On average, they change right around $75 per hour. To remove old drywall, you’ll expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $700. 

3. How long does it take to complete a drywalling project?

Installing drywall can take less than 24 hours, or it can take up to four weeks. This includes cleanup time and the time it takes to prep the room. The level of finish, framing needs, and project size will dictate the total time, and this will dictate your total cost to finish drywall. 

4. If you have a 2,000-square foot house, how much drywall do you need?

If you have an open floor plan, you’ll need much less drywall than one with a closed floor plan and cut rooms. The height of your ceiling will also impact how much drywall you end up needing. The amount of drywall will also depend on the ceiling type you have and paneling like wood or cement backer board. On average, you’ll need between 8,000 and 9,000-square feet of drywall for a house this size. 

Bottom Line

The cost to finish drywall fluctuates depending on several factors that we outlined above. You can take this guide and apply it to your situation to get a rough estimate. Once you have your rough estimate, contact local contractors in your area and see what their estimates are. This will help you decide whether or not you can afford this project and upgrade your home’s interior. 

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