Taping drywall creates a smooth, seamless finish. If you were to paint over your drywall without taping and mudding first, you’d see every detail of the joints where each sheet of drywall butts against the next one. Once your joints are taped, a specialized mud is smoothed over them and sanded once it’s dry, creating that perfect, even surface.
The materials to mud and tape drywall joints aren’t expensive, but if you choose to have a pro do the taping and mudding for you, that’s where the labor cost to finish drywall can start to add up.
|What you can expect|
|Range per linear foot:||$0.84||$1.01|
|Range for this type of project:||$420||$507|
Drywall Taping Labor, Basic
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete project. Joints and screw heads will be sealed with mud, then tape will be embedded. Joints will be lightly sanded, twice re-mudded, and finally sanded for primer-ready finish. Fee is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Drywall Taping Job Supplies
Requisite supplies for the job, including fasteners, seam tape, outside corner beads, and topping compound.
|cost to tape drywall joints|
|National Avg. Materials Cost per linear foot||$0.05|
|National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 500 linear foot||$455.95|
|National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 500 linear foot||$412.97 - $498.92|
The national average for a complete drywall job, from hanging the unfinished panels to taping and mudding, is between $1.30 to $4.00 per square foot.
You might choose to take on parts of this work yourself and hire pros for other portions. If you want to bring someone in to hang the drywall panels from your studs, that will run you about $0.24 to $2.25 per square foot. Finishing the drywall, which includes the cost of taping drywall joints, mudding, and sanding is between $1.00 to $1.65 per square foot. Once it’s all said and done, each panel of drywall your space requires will end up costing you between $30 and $60.
The price variation in the cost to mud and tape drywall is for a few key reasons—first, your location. Different cities and states will have varying ranges for drywalling costs. Next, the level of experience of the professionals you hire will dictate, in part, what they charge. Finally, if your project has details like lots of windows, doors, corners, or high ceilings, you can expect to pay more than you would for a square room with flat walls.
When you're seeking a quote for a drywaller, there are some extra drywall costs you'll want to be aware of. There is more to the job than attaching panels, taping, mudding and sanding. Size, complexity, and other details of your own project can result in higher drywall estimates for your project.
Drywalling on its own does not require a permit. However, your overall project may need a permit if you’re making any changes to the structural or load-bearing walls in your home.
Some contractors will do both the carpentry and drywalling. In this case, they’ll be able to consult on whether or not you need a permit. If you do, you can expect to pay between $200 and $600 for that, depending on the scale of your project.
Even if you’re not a construction pro, removing old drywall can be a fun project to tackle on your own. It can also save you money so that the total cost of labor to install drywall is lower. With a face mask, protective eyewear, and some basic hand tools, you’re good to go. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay between $0.40 and $1.00 per square foot for disposal.
Before you remove old drywall, make sure it doesn’t contain asbestos and isn’t finished with lead-based paint. Most buildings that were finished after the 1970s shouldn’t contain these materials, but it’s always good to test if you’re not sure.
Paying a professional to do this will save you time and labor. Removing old drywall can be done by a laborer. This will cost you less than paying a drywall contractor, which is generally between $1.25 to $2.10 per square foot. If you don’t want to go through the extra steps of hiring multiple workers, drywall installers will also do the removal for you for $2.00 to $3.25 per square foot.
If the drywall you're removing has asbestos, this can complicate matters. If you're not sure whether it has asbestos or not, you should have the drywall or popcorn texture tested. A professional inspection costs between $250 and $1200.
If the room you’re installing drywall in has other items in it, you’ll want to make sure they’re covered to avoid every nook and cranny being filled with chalky, white dust. Contractors will do this for you for an extra charge, or you can head to a hardware store and grab a few plastic sheets to drape over your furniture, countertops, or plumbing.
Ask your contractor what brand of drywall tape he or she uses. Commercial brands cost up to 50% more than your regular residential drywall tape.
This might sound counterintuitive, but if your project is larger, your drywall contractor may lower the cost of taping and mudding drywall. The reason for this is that it’s easier and faster to install full sheets of drywall, instead of having to cut frequently around corners, windows, and doors.
If your project is larger, you may need to rent a dumpster to dispose of all of the old drywall or extra drywall scraps.
If your installer needs scaffolding for high ceilings or high walls, this will add about $.40 to $.75 per square foot to your total cost.
A smooth ceiling will take more sanding and mudding labor to achieve than a textured ceiling.
The cost to drywall a new build is normally less than the cost to remodel because your contractor is working with a clean, empty space. This means that they can work faster, without having to maneuver around furniture and cabinets or worry about dropping drywall mud on the finished flooring.
Drywall, also called sheetrock (don’t be confused when contractors use the words interchangeably), costs between $1.27 and $1.97 per square foot for ⅜-inch thick panels. If you decide to go with ½-inch panels, which are great for extra soundproofing, you can expect to pay $1.30 and $2.02 per square foot.
If you’re trying to ballpark the cost to redo the drywall in an area of your house, start by calculating the square footage by measuring the length and height of your walls. Multiply the width by the height, and that number is your square footage. If you need to drywall the ceilings, don’t forget to add that in, too.
Once you have your square footage calculated, check out the chart below for average prices for drywall installation:
|Linear Feet||Average Cost||Lowest Cost||Highest Cost|
Most professionals will charge for supplies separately. Here are some of the materials you can expect to see on your estimate. Materials account for somewhere between 15% and 50% of the total project's cost. This also depends on how big your project is.
Budget about $10 to $15 per panel. Panels measure 4 ft. by 8 ft. or longer. The most common type used in residential and business properties is 1/2" thick. Other sizes, thicknesses or drywall varieties, like mildew-resistant, eco-friendly and fire-retardant, cost more. This works out to between $0.24 and $0.41 per square foot.
For areas that are prone to extra humidity, like kitchens and bathrooms, installing moisture- and mold-resistant drywall is a great option. Infused with antimicrobial and hydrophobic materials, these panels decrease the chance that moisture will get into your drywall and foster the growth of mold and mildew.
Certain areas of your home require fire-resistant drywall by code. Fire-resistant drywall costs $12 to $13 for a 4ft x 8ft panel, about 20% more than regular drywall.
When it comes to construction projects, every small item matters. Screws go quickly when you’re hanging drywall, so most contractors will buy them in large quantities. A five-pound box will be lots for a standard-size room and will cost about $25 for 750 screws.
Drywall mud is used after the drywall is hung and taped to mask the seams and screw holes. Also called joint compound or drywall compound, this fine, white powder is made of gypsum dust and is mixed with water to achieve a frosting-like consistency before being carefully applied to all seams.
Drywall adhesive is a spray compound, an extra step that can be used to secure corner metal beading or joint tape. You can expect to pay about $7 per can.
Drywall tape itself is inexpensive, costing only about $3 to $10 per roll. The cost varies based on whether you get the type with adhesive already included or the kind that needs to be sealed with joint compound.
Corner beading is important because the corner joints in drywalled rooms are fragile and can crack with even regular daily use or slight shifts in your home’s structure. Corner beading can be purchased in 10-foot sections for about $5, or in rolls for $22 per 100 linear feet.
|Materials Cost||Average Cost||Lowest Cost||Highest Cost|
|Moisture/mold Resistand drywalls||$20.00||$15.00||$25.00|
Hiring a drywall installer can be simple as long as you keep a few things in mind. Always get at least three quotes before you settle on one contractor, and never hire anyone that doesn’t come to see the project before quoting. Secondly, ensure that the person you go with is licensed and insured based on your state’s requirements. And lastly, always make sure cleanup is part of the quote.
Drywall professionals charge an average of $36 per hour for labor alone. This means that for a 12 x 12 ft room, you’ll be looking at paying $576 in labor cost to tape, mud, and finish your drywall.
At first, $36 per hour might sound like it should be a quick and inexpensive job, but finishing drywall is labor-intensive. Once the seams and screw holes are taped and corner beading is installed, drywallers will apply three to four layers of mud, sanding between, to get you that smooth finish.
Finishing drywall - taping, mudding, sanding and texturing - takes a lot of labor time and skill. This is what a lot of your total drywalling fee covers.
The cost to finish drywall is $1 to $1.65 per square foot. Texturing drywall can be an additional $1 per square foot.
Before your drywall installer starts, you'll need to decide which drywall finish level and texture you want. There are basically five levels of finish. The Gypsum Association's standard finishes start at Level 0 and go through Level 4. They are:
This is either for temporary construction or because the finishing details aren't known yet -but will be finished later.
This finish is often seen in drywalling that's hidden from public view, like in attics, service corridors, or above ceilings. This level is often used as a smoke barrier.
This finish is commonly found as the backing for tile applications, in warehouses, storage areas and garages where the finish isn't critical.
This finish is used when the final texture will be heavy or medium before the painting begins, or in commercial areas where heavy wall coverings will be applied. This is not a finish you want if you desire a smooth, light-painted interior wall, smooth wallpaper for your home or where you'll want a light texturing.
This is the best grade for smooth, flat walls, light textures, or fine wallcoverings. This is the best level finish for flat-sheen paints, too. It is not the best finish for dark paints, though.
This level is for smooth walls for a uniform surface, with the least possibility of evidence of any joints or screws showing through.
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