Drywall sheets cost $12 to $20 per panel, with a national average price of $15
Whether you’re building an addition or a brand-new home, you’ll probably need drywall panels to create walls and ceilings. You should expect to pay around $0.50 per square foot for drywall costs, but the price can fluctuate significantly depending on the type of drywall, size, and thickness you choose. Here's a breakdown of drywall prices and the additional factors you'll want to know about.
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|$10 per panel||$15 per panel||$75 per panel|
What Factors Influence the Cost of Drywall?
Drywall is made from gypsum mixed in with other materials such as mica, clay, and resin particles, all sandwiched between two sheets of paper of varying thickness. Drywall prices largely depend on size and how you’ll be using it.
The size of your drywall panel will impact the cost. Most drywall panels run between $12 and $35 per panel, and come in a variety of sizes. Common drywall panel dimensions include 4-by-8, 4-by-9, 4-by-10, 4-by-12, and 4-by-16 feet. In general, the larger the panel, the more it will cost.
|Panel Size (in Feet)||Average Cost (per Panel)|
|4-by-8||$10 – $15|
|4-by-9||$10 – $17|
|4-by-10||$10 – $20|
|4-by-12||$15 – $27|
|4-by-16||$16 – $35|
Drywall can cost about $10 for basic, 1/4-inch-thick panels or up to $75 for 5/8-inch thick panels. Most drywall panels are 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch, or 5/8-inch thick. Thicker drywall is more expensive but offers better soundproofing, while thinner drywall is best for repairing existing drywall in a room. Most rooms use 1/2-inch drywall panels.
|Drywall Thickness||Average Cost|
|1/4-inch||$10 – $12|
|3/8-inch||$10 – $15|
|1/2-inch||$10 – $20|
|5/8-inch||$13 – $75|
Aside from choosing thick drywall for your home theater or taller drywall for rooms with high ceilings, you can also select from a wide range of different drywall types. Expect to pay about $10 to $20 per panel for standard drywall, $25 to $35 for paperless drywall, or up to $75 per panel for soundproof drywall.
Drywall finishing ranges from levels 0 through 5 and refers to how ready the drywall is for paint, wallpaper, wainscoting, or other decorative elements. Level 0 finishing is the least expensive at about $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot for labor, and this level involves simply hanging the drywall and screwing it into the studs.
The most common choice is level 4, which is about $1 to $3 per square foot and involves sanding and priming the drywall surface to prepare it for wallpaper or tile. With more DIY prep to remove and minor imperfections, a homeowner can also paint over level 4 finishing (or spend a little extra per square foot for level 5 finishing).
Level 5 finishing—which costs about $1.15 to $3.50 per square foot for labor—means the drywall installation crew hangs the drywall, applies joint compound, sands the surface, adds primer, and maybe even paints the panels.
|Drywall Finishing Level||Average Cost (per Square Foot)|
|Level 0||$0.30 – $0.80|
|Level 1||$0.70 – $1.50|
|Level 2||$0.80 – $1.75|
|Level 3||$0.90 – $2.50|
|Level 4||$1 – $3|
|Level 5||$1.15 – $3.50|
Additionally, don’t forget to account for drywall installation and supply costs. Unless you’re tackling this job yourself, you’ll need to factor in the cost of labor, which can add up to half the drywall cost. The average range for labor is $50 to $100 per hour, and your overall cost depends on the square footage you need to install. You’ll also have to purchase necessary supplies, such as joint compound (or drywall mud).
Average Drywall Cost by Type
Panels of drywall come in many different types, each of which is best suited for different situations. This flexibility allows you to pick exactly the right material to address your specific needs. However, specialized drywall panels might add to the total cost, sometimes substantially.
Standard drywall is about $10 to $20 per panel, but the price depends on the height and thickness of the panels you need. For most rooms, a 4-by-8-foot panel of about 1/2-inch thickness is ideal and costs an average of $15 per panel.
Purple drywall provides some moisture and mold protection to your structure compared to the standard, regular or whiteboard drywall. Purple board drywall reduces moisture, which in turn hampers the growth of mold. If allowed to grow, mold can be dangerous to your family’s health and expensive to remove safely. Purple board drywall costs an average of $15 to $20 per panel, although many retailers offer discounts for bulk purchases.
Green Board Drywall
You can also buy green board drywall for added moisture protection, though it doesn’t offer quite as much as purple drywall. It is not the best choice for areas that will be in contact with any kind of water source. People often use green board drywall as a backing surface to apply tiles in places like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. It will cost a bit more than regular or whiteboard drywall.
Blue Board Drywall
Blue board drywall (sometimes called plaster baseboard) is made from a special type of exterior paper that produces a smooth-as-glass finish after it’s plastered. It also offers a bit more moisture and mold resistance than regular or whiteboard drywall. It costs an average of $12 to $15 per panel.
Paperless drywall costs $22 to $35 per 8-foot-tall drywall panel. While other drywall types may have a paper layer, paperless drywall has fiberglass over the core to better protect it from moisture and humidity. This type of drywall works well for high-humidity and moisture-prone areas, like bathrooms and kitchens.
Type X, or fire-resistant drywall, is a more expensive drywall option at around $20 to $30 per panel. Fire-resistant drywall is usually around 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch thick and made with flame-resistant or flame-retardant materials, like fiberglass. Type X drywall is common in apartment buildings, stairwells, and garages.
Soundproof drywall panels cost $40 to $55 each or up to $75 per panel. These panels are usually 5/8-inch thick and made with gypsum, wood pulp, and polymers to reduce or deaden sound as it travels. Because of the higher cost, soundproof drywall panels are best for rooms where you really need quiet, like a home theater, recording studio, or work-from-home office.
Additional Costs to Consider
You’ve picked the right drywall panels for your home after considering height, thickness, and type. But there are additional factors to remember when budgeting for drywall costs. From removing the old drywall to installing insulation, here are some added costs you may encounter.
Removal of Existing Drywall
Drywall removal costs about $0.30 to $0.45 per square foot. This work must be done carefully, especially for walls containing electrical wires or plumbing.
Installing insulation costs about $1,050 to $2,500. In most cases, you’ll need insulation to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and prevent pipes from freezing in extremely cold weather.
Removing asbestos costs around $1,200 to $3,100 and is a job you should leave to the pros. Asbestos, which can be found in homes built in the 1980s or earlier, is carcinogenic. The asbestos test to check for asbestos in drywall costs about $250 to $850, and removal costs about $5 to $20 per square foot.
Adding texture to drywall costs about $0.50 to $1 per square foot for light textures or spray application, while heavier, hand-applied textures cost $1.50 to $2 per square foot. Some types of drywall textures, like popcorn on ceiling drywall, can help absorb sound, while other textures, like skip trowel, offer a similar look to stucco at a lower cost.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Drywall Yourself?
The cost to hang and finish drywall panels is approximately $0.30 to $0.50 per square foot, while labor costs can add up to $100 per hour. Hanging and finishing the drywall in your new home or addition yourself will certainly save you money on labor costs.
However, you’ll also have to purchase necessary supplies, including joint compound or drywall mud, as well as equipment. Those additional costs might make it more economical to hire a local drywall contractor who already has access to those tools.
Keep in mind that drywall installation requires precise measuring, cutting, and trimming to ensure a precise fit. You’ll also probably need someone to help you lift and carry the panels.
DIY Drywall Installation Costs vs. Hiring a Pro
Installing drywall yourself costs about $200 to $400 in materials for a 500-square-foot room. The drywall costs an average of $15 per drywall panel or about $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot. You’ll also need to spend about $15 to $20 for joint compound, $20 to $40 for screws to attach the drywall to the studs, and $10 for painters tape. If you need to install drywall on a ceiling, you’ll also spend about $50 per day to rent a drywall lift.
Unless you’re confident you can accomplish this task with your DIY know-how and are comfortable taking precise measurements, it’s best to leave this job to a pro.
How Do I Calculate How Much Drywall I Need?
To calculate how many drywall panels you’ll need to buy, you’ll first need to know the dimensions of each wall in the room, the height of the ceiling, and the size of the panels.
First, calculate the room’s square footage by multiplying the height (from floor to ceiling) and the width (side to side) of each wall and the ceiling in turn.
Add all those products together.
Divide the total square footage by the square footage of a single drywall panel:
|Dimensions (Feet)||Square Footage|
|4-by-8||32 sq. ft.|
|4-by-9||36 sq. ft.|
|4-by-10||40 sq. ft.|
|4-by-12||48 sq. ft.|
Round that number up to the nearest whole number. For example, if your result from step 3 is 70.27, you’ll need to get 71 drywall panels.
Add at least two extra sheets (or 10% of the total) to account for waste or errors.
Cost of Common Drywall Add-Ons
With drywall secured to the studs, sanded, and primed, you’re ready to start on the next phase of your home improvement project. You might paint over drywall, hang wallpaper on drywall panels, or lay tile to complete the look of your walls or ceilings. Here are some add-on costs you may encounter:
Drywall repair cost: $300–$900
Painting a room cost: $150–$1,100
Installing tile cost: $400–$6,000
Hanging wallpaper cost: $300–$800
3 Ways to Save Money on Drywall Installation
Luckily for homeowners, there are many ways to save money on installing drywall. Whether you decide to DIY or just want to save some money on the materials you’re buying, here are three budget-friendly drywall installation tips.
DIY As Needed
Drywall panels are heavy, so it might not be feasible to completely DIY drywall installation. But you can tackle some parts of the job yourself to save money. Ask for a level 0 finishing and complete the sanding and priming yourself, or remove damaged drywall on your own before asking a pro to step in to hang the new panels.
Consider Drywall Size and Type
Unless you really need to soundproof a room, you may not need to spend the extra money on extra-thick drywall panels when standard 1/2-inch panels will do the job. Buy standard 4-by-8 panels rather than taller panels unless you have a room with high ceilings. Weigh the pros and cons of different drywall types, too. While purple drywall may cost more upfront, it can offer better protection against mold and mildew growth, which could be expensive to remove down the line.
Buy Drywall From a Specialist
Rather than shopping at a major home improvement store, you can find better values and even bulk discounts when buying at a drywall specialist store. The store employees can also help you find a drywall size and type that works best for your budget so you aren’t overspending on materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
People often use both of these terms interchangeably, which can cause some confusion. However, there is a difference between drywall and Sheetrock. Drywall is the generic name for this construction product, while Sheetrock is a brand name specific to the U.S. Gypsum Company’s drywall product.
For most residential projects, the standard whiteboard drywall panels will do just fine. If your project has unique needs, such as additional soundproofing or a thicker-than-usual drywall panel, you’ll need a type of drywall designed to meet those needs. Your licensed contractor can help you determine exactly what kind of drywall your project needs and how many panels you’ll need to complete the space.
It’s best to drywall the ceilings first before doing the walls. Doing so makes the process easier and faster since you’re working from the top down. Installing drywall on the ceiling first means the walls will help support and reinforce the ceiling. It also lets you create tight, fitted corners and leads to longer-lasting drywall that will need fewer repairs down the road.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dust from drywall joint compounds can cause respiratory irritation and may worsen existing health issues with long-term exposure. There is little risk for homeowners, even those installing drywall themselves. Drywall dust poses the biggest risk to construction workers who often work with or around drywall.
Drywall consists of paperboard and gypsum and is applied by screwing panels into the wall studs. Plaster is a gypsum, lime, or portland cement paste that you apply in layers. When it comes to drywall versus plaster, drywall is easier to apply and more common in modern homes, while plaster offers better soundproofing and is common in homes over 70 years old. Plaster is highly customizable but comes at a higher price tag, while drywall has the benefit of being easy to repair.