By Gene and Katie Hamilton
There is nothing glamorous about installing wallboard. In fact, it's a project we dread because of the mess and stress involved. But when you're remodeling, the walls are the framework for a room, so the job can't be avoided. While it goes by many names - wallboard, drywall or Sheetrock - it's basically the same, namely 4-by-8-foot panels made of a gypsum plaster core and covered by a paper facing. The panels are fastened to framing, and the joints between the panels are joined with fiberglass or paper tape embedded in wallboard compound. After the compound is sanded smooth and the panels are painted, the paper facing absorbs some of the paint and dries to a smooth surface.
DIY Hassle Alert
After hanging wallboard ourselves, we're convinced it's a job best left to a drywall contractor, who comes to the job with a team of workers, called rockers, and expedite this messy, time-intensive process. They'll get the job done quickly and minimize the inconvenience and disruption to the household. It's strenuous work muscling the heavy panels, especially to a second floor, and the sanding process can fill a household with drywall dust. You'll notice a fine white mist on your Cheerios, not to mention your furnishings even when you mask off the room. If anyone in the house has difficulty breathing, keep them away until the dust settles and is removed because it can be harmful.
A drywall contractor will charge $762 to install 1/2-inch wallboard in a 12-by-15-foot room, which includes the labor and material. Even though you can do the job for $295, the cost of the material, and save 61 percent, don't be tempted to do it yourself.
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
FineHomebuilding has a video about
Install and Finish Drywall.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install wallboard with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020