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How Much Does Drywall Installation Cost? Average Prices Per Sq Ft

Last Updated: October 24, 2023

Drywall, also known as wallboard, plasterboard, or sheetrock, is widely used in the construction of interior residential walls and ceilings. Made from sheets of pressed gypsum (gypsum is a type of mineral), drywall took the place of plaster as a wall-building material in the mid-twentieth century.

Drywall Average Costs #

  • Standard 1/2" drywall sheets - $0.30-0.60 per sq ft

  • 5/8" Type X fire-rated drywall - $0.50-0.80 per sq ft

  • Moisture-resistant drywall - $0.50-0.90 per sq ft

  • Soundproof drywall - $1-2 per sq ft

  • Insulated foam-backed drywall - $1-1.50 per sq ft

The main factors affecting drywall pricing are thickness, fire rating, moisture resistance, and additional insulation. Standard 1/2" drywall provides minimal insulation at the lowest cost.

5/8" Type X drywall is thicker and specially treated for fire resistance, adding around $0.20-0.30 per sq ft.

Moisture-resistant drywall uses additives or coatings to repel water, ideal for bathrooms.

Soundproof drywall uses extra layers and damping compounds to reduce noise.

Foam-backed drywall has an insulating foam layer for increased energy efficiency.

Labor costs will also need to be added for installation and finishing of the drywall, typically around $1-2 per sq ft.

Real Drywall Installation Prices From Contractors #

Here are some first-person quotes from contractors about drywall installation costs:

"I recently installed 5/8" fire-rated drywall in a customer's garage remodel here in Austin. With materials and labor for hang, tape, mud, and texture, their total cost was $2.10 per square foot."

"For a bathroom reno we did in Tampa, the homeowners opted for mold-resistant drywall on walls and ceiling. Their installed price including waterproofing sealant was $1.75 per square foot."

"We used foam-backed insulation drywall on a basement finishing job in Chicago. With the cost of the panels and our labor to hang, finish, and paint, the final invoice was $2.40 per square foot."

"On a dining room addition we completed last month, we used 1/2" standard drywall and Level 4 finish for smooth walls ready for wallpaper. The customer's installed cost for everything was $1.50 per square foot."

"For an attic bedroom conversion with soundproof drywall, our all-in price was $2.75 per square foot. That got them materials, hang, tape, mud, and sound caulk."
Here are my corrections/additions to the DIY and pro drywall installation considerations:

DIY Considerations #

  • Standard-sized drywall sheets are 4 x 8 or 4 x 12 feet. 16 foot sheets are available but difficult to manage for DIY.

  • Common thicknesses are 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 5/8". Thicker boards are heavier and harder to install.

  • Specialty drywall resists fire, moisture, mold, sound, etc. Use per building codes and project needs.

  • Consider renting drywall lift for ceilings or high walls. Get help lifting boards.

Pro Considerations #

  • Hanging vs taping/finishing are different skills. Evaluate finish quality from previous jobs.

  • Pros work efficiently for large jobs. Get multiple bids and check references.

  • Many drywallers aren't licensed. Ask to see samples and contact references.

  • Ensure contractor will pull permits if required by state/local codes.

  • Hire a pro for fire-rated, acoustic, or specialty drywall finish.

  • Get quote for materials separate from labor. Buy sheets yourself to save.

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