How to Hang Drywall the Right Way

Whether you’re finishing a basement or transforming a room, learning how to hang drywall will save you the cost of a professional installation. Follow these simple tips at to get the job done right.


For starters, make sure the plane of the wall or ceiling is level, flat, and plumb. You’ll also need to account for doors, windows, and other unique framing components.

Drywall installation is one of the most affordable and popular home improvement projects you can undertake independently. While you do not need to be a building contractor to tackle the project, you will still want to ensure that you have all of the necessary materials and tools before getting started.

The most important item in your toolkit will be the drywall itself. Sheets that are commonly found at hardware stores come in a 4’ by 8’ size and are typically half-inch thick. This thickness is preferred as it allows for easy installation and helps to minimize sagging. If you wish to use a heavier wallboard or are planning on soundproofing your home, thicker 5/8-inch drywall can also be purchased from most drywall suppliers.

In addition to the drywall, you will also need to purchase a box of joint compound and tape. The type of joint compound you choose will depend on the level of finish you are aiming for. The higher the finish, the more polished and smooth your seams will be, which will ultimately affect how easy it is to paint or wallpaper.

When choosing drywall tape, look for an adhesive that can bond strongly with the surface of the wallboard. The adhesive should also be moisture resistant to ensure that it will last the lifetime of your wallboard. In addition, you should consider buying some sandpaper in varying grits to give your walls a smooth and even finish.

Other items you may want to consider purchasing are a ladder, masking tape and a drywall knife. If you intend on taking on a large project, it might be worth investing in a ladder with a wider platform to help you reach your work area more easily. You will also want to pick up a few drywall knives that are between 6 and 12 inches in length as well as a corner knife which can be used for difficult to reach areas.

For any drywall installation project, it is essential to have the proper equipment for sanding and taping to avoid any mistakes. This will ensure that your new wall is free of any blemishes and ready for painting or other decorative finishes.


Before the first drywall panel can be applied, it’s important to assess the space and take accurate measurements. This ensures you have the right number of sheets and materials to get the job done. It also helps identify any issues that need to be addressed before the installation begins, such as water damage or uneven surfaces.

Clear the area where you plan to work and remove any furniture, appliances, or fixtures that could obstruct your progress. If there are items that you can’t move, cover them securely with plastic sheets or tarps to protect them from dust and debris generated during the drywall installation process. It’s also a good idea to install blocking and electrical outlets in the wall or ceiling where you plan to hang your drywall. This prevents you from having to drill through the drywall after it’s installed to install your fixtures.

To avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money, make sure your drywall panels fit the space where you’re installing them. This includes measuring the walls or ceiling to make sure they’re square and level. You may also have to adjust the thickness of the drywall to accommodate specific fixture types or your desired aesthetic.

Next, prepare the surface where you’ll be applying drywall by cleaning it and painting it with a primer. This will help the drywall adhere to the wall or ceiling and ensure that it’s free of any moisture or dirt. If you’re planning to paint the drywall, it’s also a good idea to seal the surface with a coat of paint to protect it from moisture and stains.

Before you begin hanging drywall, check that the wood framing members are aligned in a straight plane. A visual inspection is usually enough, but if you notice any bowed or twisted framing, you may need to renail or replace it (see Straightening Framed Walls).

When you’re ready to begin the installation process, apply a thin coat of mud called a tape and block coat to each joint. Use a 6-inch knife to spread the mud, or compound, across each seam. Allow it to dry completely before continuing.


Drywall can be tricky to work with, but it doesn’t have to be. The process is simple enough for a reasonably handy homeowner to do on his or her own if a few steps are followed. As with any construction project, planning is key to success. The more prepared you are, the better your results will be and the less time you will have to devote to the task at hand.

Measure the space you want to cover and calculate how many sheets you’ll need. If possible, try to keep your seams to a minimum by dividing the square footage of the room by 32 (the size of standard 4×8 drywall panels) or 48 (for larger sized boards).

When starting your job, be sure to plan ahead and take into account windows, doors, and any other fixtures that will have to be cut around. It’s best to do this before you begin hanging the drywall, so that any necessary cuts are done prior to installation of the fixtures.

After you’ve marked and measured the location of any windows, doors, or electrical outlets, use a drywall square to mark the lines on your drywall sheet. Then, using a utility knife, score the face of your drywall along these lines. This will allow it to snap easily at the marks you made.

Once you’ve snapped your pieces to length, it’s important to place them carefully. Make sure to pair pieces with their good sides together and the butt ends (the edges that don’t have tape) with other butt ends. Doing so increases the strength of your joints and minimizes cracking.

Finally, it’s important to fasten your drywall properly. Screws should be driven just below the surface of the gypsum core to provide maximum holding power. If they are driven in too deep, they may pierce the paper and cause it to tear.

It’s also important to note that you should always use drywall screws designed specifically for this material. They are shorter than conventional screws and have coarse threads to ensure a secure hold without damaging the gypsum core.


Drywall installation is a process that requires careful attention to detail. The smallest error in measurements or hanging can result in costly repairs down the road, so it’s important to have all of your information straight before you start. Talk to your drywall contractor to make sure you’re using the right thickness of panels and are following local building codes. It’s also a good idea to double-check whether permits are required for your project.

Once all the drywall is in place, you’ll need to complete a finishing process known as “taping and mudding.” This involves filling any joints or uneven surfaces with a thin coat of mud (commonly called ‘mud’) that will smooth out the surface and cover the screws. Once the mud dries, it is then lightly sanded and any mistakes or imperfections are touched up.

You can choose a level of finish for your walls that will depend on their intended use, ranging from a simple level 1 finish for garages or workspaces to a more refined level 5 finish for ceilings and visible walls. For a level 3 finish, you will add a second coat of joint compound over the tape and any screw holes, sanding once it has dried to smooth out any rough spots. It is recommended that you do not stop at a level 3 finish in areas where you may be painting or wallpapering, as there will still be visible tool marks at this point.

Adding a final skim coat will give you a clean, polished surface that is ready for painting or texturizing. This is often the preferred finish for interior living spaces like bedrooms and kitchens. Adding this final skim coat will also provide protection from the elements and help reduce any mold or mildew problems in the future.

Choosing the right material, proper preparation, and professional drywall installation will ensure that your project is a success. It’s best to leave this type of work to the professionals unless you are a skilled DIYer. With the right knowledge, tools and materials you can achieve a high-quality end result and transform your home or office into a beautiful space.