How to Install Drywall - 2017 Guide

How to Install Drywall – 2018 Guide

While the professionals will tell you differently, you’ll find that installing your own drywall for a project in your home isn’t really that big of a deal.

All you’ll need to do is make sure that you follow a few simple procedures and you’ll be well on your way to having a fantastic looking new wall.

Harry , Homethods Author


1. Removing the Previous Drywall


If you’re refinishing a damaged wall, as opposed to installing a completely new one, you’ll first need to remove the old drywall.

There’s two main methods to do this, and your mindset about making a mess is going to be the primary determining factor when it comes to deciding which you go with.

The easiest way to do it is to just break it out, grab a hammer and a prybar, punch a hole in the wall, and start prying chunks out. This will create a lot of mess and need a lot of cleaning afterwards, however.

You can also remove it almost surgically by sanding along seams then chiseling out the mud over the screws and then removing the screws with a screw gun. You’ll find that this allows you to take entire pieces out at once and doesn’t make much mess.

Once you’ve got the old piece out of there, you’ll be looking at the bare framing of the wall and the insulation and you’ll be ready to get started on creating a whole new surface.

2. Hang the Sheetrock


Hopefully you’ll have determined the type of drywall you’ll be using already.

At this point, you’ll need the following:

  • A screw gun
  • A carpenter’s pencil
  • Huge muscles or a friend
  • A razor knife
  • Some kind of power saw

The process is pretty simple for the most part. Mark off studs in the frame with your carpenter’s pencil, making sure you center the mark. Then cut the sheets to match the holes in the wall and get going.

It’s actually a bit more in depth than that, but once you’re driving the screws and being careful to avoid wires you’re pretty much on your way to having the wall hung.

Hanging from the ceiling can be a bit more difficult, you’ll need either a friend or a lift in order to hold the sheet in place while you screw it off. Keep in mind that you’ll want to use heavier drywall for the roof in order to prevent it from sagging.

One major tip: clean the edges of your drywall before you butt them together. You’ll thank us later. The razor knife you have is going to be your best friend for this part of the task, you’ll want to use it to make the edges as straight as possible. Any overhang or gap is going to have to be filled in later, and that will take a lot more time than some careful scraping with the blade of the knife.

Once you’ve got it hung the hardest part of the manual labor is over with, so treat your friend to a beer and see if you can convince them to help you with the rest.

3. Mudding and Taping


There’s a lot to be said about this subject, but it’s not the hardest part. You’ll need a couple of drywall knives and some joint compound at this point.

To start with, fill in all of the gaps which will inevitably have emerged at the seams between the pieces of sheetrock. Make sure to use a compound that isn’t going to shrink when it dries, or you’re not going to be too happy with the many layers you’ll have to apply.

You’ll also need to mud any corners that have emerged in the mean-time. Bracing for outside corners comes with a small cut-out known as a “bead gap” which will help you figure out if you’re using enough mud.

After this, you’ll be placing tape over the seams as well. The only real trick here is to get it straight and have zero tolerance for air bubbles. After that you’ll be placing a thin layer of mud over the joints, doing the best you can to make sure that you’re not going to have to sand it for too long.

The goal here is to flatten the surface of the wall as much as possible, so go for long tapers from the corners and thin layers from the seams in order to make sure you attain the best possible results.

Apply too much if necessary, you’ll be able to work on fixing that in the next step if you have to deal with large wrinkles in the mud. You can always take it down, but if you haven’t applied enough in the first place, then you’re going to have to go over this part of the process again.

4. Sanding


Did we say the manual labor was over? We lied, sanding is likely to be one of the longest parts of the process but it’s relatively simple overall.

You’ll need three different tools here, in order to make sure that you’re able to get the best finish possible:

  • A drywall grater
  • A pole sander, preferably with a detachable head
  • A sanding sponge

To get things started with, take the drywall grater and knock down any large wrinkles in the mud. Don’t get too vigorous with this handy tool, however, or you’ll be stuck putting up more mud again.

A grater isn’t going to actually leave the mud smooth, instead it will allow you to make quick work of any excess that you’ve applied over the course of your mudding and taping. If you get too aggressive with it, you’ll just rip up the mud that you actually need to be sanding.

Take the head of the pole sander afterwards and smooth out the mud as you go. You’ll find that it’s rather easy to do for the most part, the motion to make things smooth instead of leaving large sanding streaks takes some time to get down but you’ll be at it like a pro within a matter of hours.

Once everything is sanded smooth, you’ll be getting ready to texture the wall. Sanding drywall takes some serious time, so keep that in mind when you start with, a single room might take a full day.

Make sure you keep a wet/dry shop vac around during this part of the process. You’re going to create a lot of dust, and the vacuum will let you get it all picked up in a reasonable amount of time.

Consider wet sanding if you’re going to be working in a home with a fairly open ventilation system, trust us, the dust will be everywhere at the end of the day if you dry sand.

5. Texturing the Drywall


It’s hard to give a general recommendation for the process of texturing your drywall without getting too far into details. We’ve created a short guide here with some links to outside resources for methods we haven’t covered.

The biggest difference in methods will be picking between a manual and sprayer method.

Manual methods will allow for more creativity but take more time. The tools will vary hugely depending on which method you choose to go with. Just pick a method before hand and make sure you have the tools and compound ready when it comes time to go for it.

Manual methods are still used by a lot of professionals, as the time taken equals both a higher hourly pay and produces more respect for the craft in the layman. Don’t be fooled, if you’re careful while you’re doing it you can make your wall look fantastic rather quickly.

One thing you might want to try is applying the texturing compound to a scrap piece as practice before hand, it’s much easier to just throw it out after you have the technique down than to have to re-do a wall.

Sprayer methods are generally quicker, but take more expensive equipment. In this case you’ll be using a texturing gun and pumping mud through it. It’s actually remarkably simple once you have the entire process down, but you’ll be spending quite a bit more money up front to get it done.

If you do decide to go with a sprayer method, you might still want to get some practice in before you get at the wall. The air pressure required and movements will take some time to master.


We hope that we’ve broken down the process for you readily enough. Remember to read our more in-depth guides to each part of the process in order to make sure you fully understand it before you get started, however.

As long as you understand what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, you’ll find that there’s pretty much nothing stopping you from creating a fantastic, professional looking wall but your own hesitation. Give it a shot, proceed carefully and precisely, and you’ll be amazed at the results and have a wall you can truly show some pride in.