The Cost of Drywalling a House (Updated Dec 2019)

A comprehensive overview of everything to consider when drywalling your house, from costs to construction, we’ve got it covered.

drywall installation

Drywalling a House Cost

To give you an approximate guide to the costs involved, including material and labour costs, the cost per panel is around £4-5 when using good quality panels. So, on this basis a standard 12x12ft room would cost around £550. This can fluctuate depending on the quality of materials and the professional you hire to install the drywall. It’s always a good idea to go with a professional that has accreditation and provides you with a comprehensive quote.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a professional plasterer to supply and drywall a home:

Job Description Avg. Cost Duration
6x12ft room with panels and drywalling £250-£400 1-2 days
12x12ft room with panels and drywalling £500-£600 1-3 days
12x24ft room with panels and drywalling £1000-£1200 3-6 days


Cost Breakdown Calculator

Individual costs of drywalling a 12x12ft room - Total Cost: £550

60%

Materials
£330

30%

Tradesmen
£165

10%

Waste Removal
£55

What is Drywalling?

Drywall is a good alternative to plaster. Drywall also known as plasterboard is hung against bare ceiling joists or wall studs to create a flat surface covering that will be suitable for finishing with paint or wallpaper, so no plastering is needed. After the application of the drywall sheets, the joints and screw holes are sealed with tape and joint compound. Once the compound has dried, all that needs to be done is to sand down the areas with fine sandpaper to ensure there are no lumps or obvious joins. As the sheets usually come in a 4 x 8-foot size and weigh between 20kg and 35kg each, you must take care when carrying and installing them, which is why it is a good idea to get a tradesman to carry out this kind of work.

Other Trades You May Need

Once the drywall has been installed, the joins have been sanded down, it will be ready to paint or wallpaper. It would be a good idea to hire a professional painter and decorator. Rolling some paint on the walls sounds like an easy task, but there are professional painters out there for a reason! Professionals paint trim on a daily basis so they have the skills to get crisp straight lines. They also know how to paint the big areas so they aren’t patchy or blotchy. After your investment in installing drywall in your home, it would warrant getting an experienced decorator to finish the job properly.

DIY? Or Not To DIY?

If you are considering doing this work yourself for small installations or touch ups, you shouldn’t need planning permission unless your property is listed. You don’t need many tools; all you need is a bucket, mud pan, sanding block, drill, taping knife and utility knife. In terms of materials, you will need; drywall compound, metal corner bead, drywall screws, paper drywall tape, fine sandpaper and setting-type compound.

installing dry wall

You should also prepare yourself with some priceless advice from people that have already made the mistakes. Below are some great tips:

  • • Make customised batches of filler, thinner batches for hand taping and thicker for final coats.
  • • Mix your filler with a potato masher to get out the bubbles of air
  • • Prefill gaps from top to bottom with setting compound
  • • Cut a “V groove” down each join, then fill the “V” with setting-type joint compound before you cover the seam with joint compound and tape. This will really help out with the toughest taping challenge - butt joints.
  • • Dampen the drywall tape; Wetting the tape before you embed it in the joint compound can help eliminate troublesome bubbles that show up after the joint dries.

Common Drywalling Installation Problems

There is a myriad of potential problems that could arise when carrying out DIY drywalling. These problems could seriously strain your budget, especially if you have to take a few steps back.

Some of the problems that could arise are:

Oversanding

In an attempt to achieve a perfectly smooth surface, a lot of DIY drywallers aggressively sand the dried mud compound and joints. But when you sand too far, you risk the chance of exposing the paper or fibreglass tape covering the seams, or even into the surface of the surrounding drywall. One way to overcome this is to place a light low down on the floor to highlight any lumps or bumps.

Overscrewing

When screwing the drywall in place, you can easily crack the surface of the panels by driving the screws in too far. Once this is done, the ability for the drywall to hold on to the screw with strength is compromised.

Joints are too tight

Getting a snug fit between panels sounds like a good thing, but it’s not. When placing the drywall panels too close to each other you risk the possibility of cracking due to seasonal expansion. Try to make sure there is about about 3mm of room between each sheet of drywall.

Drywall tape shows through the mud

If this happens, you may be missing something. Make sure you have at least three coats of mud: tape coat, filler coat, and final coat. It might be that you are excluding the final coat.

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Drywalling Without Plastering

You don’t actually need to plaster over drywall, though it can be a good idea as many new homes these days are not plastered internally at all! You often won't have a plaster skim applied on internal stud partition walls, or even to the inner faces of the exterior solid walls. Nowadays, it's common just to line with plasterboard or drywall. The problem with drywall is that without a skim coat of plaster or some sort of sealer, the surface is very absorbent and difficult to paint. Applying paint or wallpaper directly to drywall can be done but is not ideal.

A skim coat of plaster works well, but a cheaper option is to paint on a sealer product to seal the plasterboard before painting or wallpapering. Even to apply a skim coat or veneer of plaster, the drywall surface needs to be prepared by painting on a special adhesive compound.

Negatives of Drywalling Without Plastering

Installing drywall without a protective coat of plaster is cheaper and easier for property developers, but not so good for the homeowners when they want to decorate. Without a skim coat, drywall really soaks up paint and if wallpaper is applied, great care is required when removing it so as not to damage the drywall (some have started to scrape off what they thought was wallpaper only to find it was actually the surface layer of the drywall!).

Installing Drywall Over Old Walls

One of the fastest and cheapest ways to cover damaged or cracked plaster walls is to simply hang drywall over them. You can cover old imperfections cheaply without too much additional work. Drywall is always the less expensive and labor intensive option when sorting out messy walls, but drywall on its own is not quite as effective as a sound barrier, though you can add a layer of insulation underneath before finishing.

dry wall over walls

Drywall vs Plaster

The traditional form of wet plastering has been practised for hundreds of years and creates a strong and durable finish which is perfect for painting or wallpapering on. Wet plasters use layers of hard wearing materials like lime, gypsum or cement to create a texture with levels of sound resistance and air tightness that simply can’t be replicated by drywall or plasterboard sheets. However, wet plastering also requires a lot more labour and specialised skill that fitting drywall sheets.

Drywall is much quicker to install as its large sheets of pre-rendered material that you can fit directly on the wall. Even though you still need to cover the drywall with skim coat or apply sealant, it’s still much easier than wet plaster. Though in terms of materials cost without labour, wet plaster is usually cheaper than drywall. The big cost of plastering is in the skilled labour required, whereas with drywall, labour and skill requirements are minimal. To wet plaster a wall the traditional way takes several days, whereas drywalling can often be done in hours!

Which is the best thermal insulator?

In terms of thermal insulation, there’s not a huge difference between the two materials, the composition of the wall is more important. Though its much easier to add additional insulation with drywall than it is with plaster! One final (small) advantage with plaster is the lack of draughts. A coat of wet plaster is effectively sealed, whereas drywall is cut to shape and may not cover the wall perfectly, especially around the skirting boards. The best of both worlds is of course insulated drywall with a professional wet plaster skim coat finish!

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FAQ's

There are a number of benefits for hiring a professional drywaller. It will save you time, hassle and the job will get done perfectly, and that’s simply naming a few advantages. There is only really one if you do it yourself - Saving money. However, this isn't’ always the case. It may be a case that you carry it out incorrectly and have to spend more money on repairs or hiring a professional to complete the job to perfection. Consider all these possibilities before you take on the work yourself.
Drywallers need access to every corner of the room. It needs to be clear, clean and easily accessible from outside your home. Drywall panels are big, the last thing the contractors want is to have to navigate over your furniture when accessing the project room. Also, the next contractors, such as painters and decorators should not have to deal with scraps of drywall, dropped joint compound, filled electrical boxes, and piles of dust. Ensure the rooms are as clear and clean as possible so the professionals you are paying can carry out their work as effectively as possible.
Most drywall is 100% recyclable, as long as all the screws, nails and paper has been removed, and there is no mould present. Always ensure that you protect yourself by wearing a respirator and gloves when removing old drywall.
When hiring a painter and decorator to make your rooms look beautiful, make sure you ask them to use a high quality paint. All paint looks the same in the can, but that’s where the similarities end. High quality paints contain better ingredients and less fillers which equates to a longer-lasting paint job. Low quality paints tend to chalk, fade, peel, and crack; Not something you want after spending money on an attentive drywaller preparing you flawlessly smooth surfaces to paint on.