Installing drywall is an essential step in any home build or remodel. Known also as gypsum board, wallboard, or sheetrock, drywall is the preferred material for creating smooth, paintable walls and ceilings in modern construction. This detailed guide explains the professional process of drywall installation, aimed at helping homeowners understand what goes into achieving a perfect finish. Here’s how to hang drywall as a DIY project or evaluate the professionals.

Understanding Drywall

Drywall consists of a gypsum plaster sandwiched between two sheets of thick paper. It’s favored in construction for its fire resistance, ease of installation, and smooth finish capabilities. Different types of drywall serve various purposes within a home:

Types of Drywall

  • Standard Drywall: Typically used for most interior walls and ceilings.
  • Moisture-Resistant Drywall: Ideal for high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens, thanks to its moisture-resistant properties.
  • Fire-Resistant Drywall: Enhanced with fibers to increase fire resistance, suitable for use in garages and kitchens.

Preparing for Drywall Installation

The right preparation can make or break the quality of your new drywall installation.

Tools and Materials

To properly install drywall, you will need the following:

  • Drywall sheets or panels
  • Tape measure, straight edge and T-square for accurate measurement
  • Utility knife for cutting drywall around outlet boxes, doors and windows
  • Screw gun and drywall screws for securing the panels
  • Drywall tape and joint compound, also known as drywall mud
  • Sanding tools, including a sander for finishing
  • Drywall lift, particularly useful for installing ceiling drywall
  • Corner bead for inside corners and outside corners

Planning Your Installation

Effective planning is critical. Measure your space to determine how many full sheets of drywall you will need and plan the layout to minimize waste. Ensure that all materials are compliant with local building codes.

Professional Drywall Installation Process

A professional approach to installing drywall involves several key steps:

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting Drywall

Proper measurement and cutting are foundational to the installation process:

  • Measure and Mark: Use a tape measure and T-square to ensure your cuts will be straight and accurate. Mark where you’ll cut the drywall to size.
  • Cutting Technique: Score the marked line with a utility knife, snap the drywall along this line, and then cut the backing paper.


Choosing the right fasteners and their placement is crucial for a secure installation:

  • Types of Fasteners: Drywall screws are preferred over nails as they provide a more secure hold and are less likely to pop out over time.
  • Proper Placement: Screws should be placed every 8 inches along seams and closer around the edges to prevent sagging.

Hanging Drywall

Hanging Drywall on Walls

  • Installation Process: Start from the top corner of the wall, ensuring that each drywall panel is aligned perfectly before securing it with screws. This helps prevent any alignment issues as you move along the wall.

Installing Drywall on Ceilings

  • Using a Drywall Lift: This tool is essential for holding the drywall panel in place while you secure it to the ceiling joists. It prevents the drywall from sagging or falling during installation.

How to Install Drywall with Doors and Windows

Carefully measure and cut out sections for any door openings and windows before installing the panels. This ensures a snug fit and prevents the need for difficult cuts in place.

Drywall Finishing

The finishing phase is what gives the drywall installation its smooth, professional appearance.

Taping and Mudding

  • Drywall Tape: Apply tape over all seams where drywall panels meet.
  • Applying Joint Compound: Spread joint compound over the tape and across screw heads to create a smooth, seamless surface for that first coat. Allow it to dry completely before applying additional coats and sanding.


  • Achieving a Smooth Finish: After the joint compound has dried, sand the surface smoothly, preparing it for painting or wallpapering. This step must be done meticulously to avoid visible seams or screw marks. Adding a skim coat can make the job even more beautiful, but only if you can do it perfectly.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

Advantages of Professional Installation

Professional drywall installers bring years of experience and skill, which translate into faster installation and a flawlessly smooth finish. They can also navigate challenges more efficiently, such as high ceilings or complex layouts, which might prove difficult for DIY drywall projects.

DIY Considerations

For homeowners interested in DIY, consider the scope of the project. While small rooms or patches might be manageable, larger areas or rooms with high ceilings might benefit from professional expertise to ensure the best results.

Drywall Installation Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to drywall installation, here are some tips to guide you:

  • Measure Twice, Cut Once: Ensuring your measurements are correct before cutting can save time and materials. Every piece of drywall is expensive, planning your cuts can save a lot of money.
  • Stagger Seams: Staggering the seams of the drywall panels can add strength to the installation and help prevent cracking. Plasterboard has beveled edges to make seams disappear if properly installed.
  • Electrical boxes: You will need to be aware of all the switches, outlets and other electrical boxes you’ll need to cut out. You don’t want to have to run back to Home Depot half way through your installation.


Drywall installation is a detailed process that, when done correctly, provides a solid foundation for any interior design. Whether you opt for a DIY approach or hire professionals, understanding the process helps ensure that your drywall installation contributes to the overall beauty and quality of your home improvement project. Remember, the walls and ceilings of your home are not just functional—they are also an integral part of its overall aesthetic. You don’t want to be doing a search in a few months for drywall repair… but if you do, we offer that too.