How much do you pay for drywall guys?

56 Replies

How much do you pay for drywall guys to repair a wall or ceiling?

I got an estimate of nearly $2000 for part of 1 room. Absurdity.

That's when there's less than $50-75 in actual supplies (drywall, tape, mud, paint) needed for the job.

I had an amateur suggest that he could do it for a few hundred. Amateur's might screw it up, but it is tempting to save that much money.

What's the top amount you would pay per square foot? What's reasonable?

Try http://www.homeadvisor.com/ . This used to be servicemagic.com, but they've changed names recently - same company. They will line you up with several pre-screened, licensed/bonded contractors that do the work you need. You get bids from their contractors and choose the one you want (or none of them). I've been pleased so far when needing to find a contractor for specific work. Quality work and fair rates.

We actually found a great painter that also did amazing drywall work.
So when we rehab he prefers us to leave the taping to him but its not more than a couple of rooms.
Last one was $750 to paint the interior of the house plus a couple of rooms of drywall as we flipped the closets etc.

I found a great worker by running a vague ad on CL under "gigs". I didn't put my phone number. The ad just had a description of the job that needed to be done and said to send an email describing yourself and the type of work you can do. I received about a hundred emails. Most were from people who could barely put a sentence together and listing their whole life sob story.

I did get an email from a young go getter who works full time at an apartment complex and does side work on nights and weekends. He has worked out great. Low prices and good work. He looks over the help wanted ads on CL looking for side work. I had to weed through a bunch of illeterate emails to find him, but it was worth it. If you can find an apartment maintenance guy, they can usually fix everything.

The guy that I found has worked on about a dozen houses for me now.

You don't say where you are, but for much of the country, larger sheetrock jobs run between $.80-1.10 per square foot of wall space -- that's labor and materials for hanging and finishing (ready for paint). This generally equates to about $28-32 per board.

For just patching and smaller jobs, expect to pay closer to $2.00-2.25 per square foot.

rob, i need that guy's number....

i have a great mexican guy (not iligal, been here for 20 yrs), who charges $1/sq. ft. does amazing work (did my basement), but he hates doing small jobs. he wants to do at least one day worth of work, or his guys will screw him over and still get paid.

drywall is cheap, but experience is important. or it will look like crap.

The best drywall job I got was when I had the entire first floor (9 foot walls and the ceiling too) -- living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, the back hallway, and the upstairs bathroom all drywalled AND textured for $2,000. Not only was that insanely cheap, they did an amazing job.

About $30 per board. A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

Originally posted by Dawn A.:
... AND textured for $2,000.

Drywall guys like to tell you that texture costs more, but keep in mind that it actually costs them LESS to provide texture.

Texturing the walls means that they don't have to be as meticulous (read: lower labor costs) when taping, mudding and sanding -- any imperfections will be covered up by the texture.

So, when getting a drywall bid, if they're planning to texture, you should actually be negotiating the price down (or worst case, the same as smooth).

Rob K hey rob, just curious, do you pay your cheap guy by the hour or by the job?

Originally posted by Steve K:
About $30 per board. A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

amazing
we did a new build last year & using your calc it was very close except we did 9ft ceilings & 1/2" 12ft wallboard.

texture looks weird. looks cheap, looks like florida houses looked 30 yrs ago and most of them still have that stuff on the walls.

it hides imperfections, but i dont like the looks of it.

Originally posted by George P.:
texture looks weird. looks cheap, looks like florida houses looked 30 yrs ago and most of them still have that stuff on the walls.

it hides imperfections, but i dont like the looks of it.

I hate texture, and never use it in Atlanta (buyers don't want it)...

But, in two other markets where I rehab, buyers actually EXPECT it! It's crazy...when I went to sheetrock my first house, I told the contractor not to texture...he looked at me like I was nuts... :)

Originally posted by J Scott:
This generally equates to about $28-32 per board.

$30~ a board? Drywall, Textured and painted?!?!?! Good grief. That's cheap.

Even on a ceiling?

My $2000 quote was for less than 2 boards. There is a little (10 feet) to paint.

It sounds like my guy was laughably beyond all realms of reason with his quote. Good to know the cost shouldn't be even a fraction of that.

Originally posted by Steve K:
About $30 per board. A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

Thanks for sharing this quick calc. If you want to make it easier to do in your head, this same calculation is basically sf * 2.2.

Area * 3.5 / 48 * 30$ = Area * 2.2

Same math, but much easier to simply double sq ft and add 10% in your head for cost.

Originally posted by Steve K:
A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

I hate telling people this (and left it out of my book) because things like open floor plans and high ceilings can mess up the calculations, BUT, the rule of thumb that I use is to divide the living square footage by 9 and that's how many 8' sheets you need.

Given that I pay about the same you do (about $30/sheet), if you multiple the living square footage by about 3.4, you should be able to get a price estimate.

As an example, for a 1300 sf flood house (torn down to the studs) I recently did, my 5 second estimate for sheetrock was 1300 * 3.4 = $4420. The actual bids I received were between $4300 and $4700.

But again, there's lots of possibility for variation here, so be careful with this method...

Originally posted by J Scott:
Originally posted by George P.:
texture looks weird. looks cheap, looks like florida houses looked 30 yrs ago and most of them still have that stuff on the walls.

it hides imperfections, but i dont like the looks of it.

I hate texture, and never use it in Atlanta (buyers don't want it)...

But, in two other markets where I rehab, buyers actually EXPECT it! It's crazy...when I went to sheetrock my first house, I told the contractor not to texture...he looked at me like I was nuts... :)

now, here's something...

when we bought our house 13 yrs ago i knew nothing about remodeling. so when taking the wall paper off on one wall, 4 layers of wallpaper came off and some of the plaster. had no idea how to patch it, so we bought a bhear texture paint in a can that you apply with a special roller. and then we painted on top, so the bumps are smooth.

so now, we have one accent wall in the house that's texture and everyone that walks in thinks it looks like art because we added some shapes that do not have the texture. even plasterers have commented on stealing that technique.. :)

Originally posted by J Scott:
Originally posted by Dawn A.:
... AND textured for $2,000.

Drywall guys like to tell you that texture costs more, but keep in mind that it actually costs them LESS to provide texture.

Texturing the walls means that they don't have to be as meticulous (read: lower labor costs) when taping, mudding and sanding -- any imperfections will be covered up by the texture.

So, when getting a drywall bid, if they're planning to texture, you should actually be negotiating the price down (or worst case, the same as smooth).

Very interesting. The texture does cover a lot, and has imperfections already.

This guy said how hard it would be to match the paint color and he would have to feather the paint out on either side of the repair.

I had a crazy idea to try to do this myself, too. It doesn't seem all that hard for me to nail up a sheet or two or drywall, tape, sand, and mud imperfectly. But maybe I'm overestimating my abilities. If a "real" drywall guy could do it for only $30, I'm in.

Is labor usually $30 a board, plus you buy the supplies for them too? Even so, $100 or so beats the $2000 quote I got. We're not even talking a whole ceiling or drywall by any means. The texture is the standard texture around here too.

Originally posted by Steve K:
About $30 per board. A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

Wow. Is this calculation for labor, then you add supplies too? The $2000 quote the guy gave me should have been to completely re-do a few rooms or more.

J Scott I actually really like the look of the texture. It looks more upscale then plain flat boring walls. I guess everyone has their own preference. I still think I got a really good deal on the work.

It really does depend what part of the country you are located in. In Florida texturing drywall is extremely common. However, it's not like 30 years ago when the ceilings were "Popcorn" and the walls were "Orange Peel", although you do still find that on many older homes. But as you mentioned J Scott, the texture impacts the price. In Florida it is common for drywallers to charge extra for a flat finish because of the extra labor.

In my area buyers expect/want textured walls and ceilings, except for the old variants mentioned above, which they hate and can actually negatively affect the selling price of the home. A smooth finish is usually only requested if a homeowner is planning on wallpapering, but that's a whole other discussion.

I personally like the modern types of texture, but I think it really depends on the other finishes in the home. In Florida average homes have minimal molding, usually just base trim and door trim so the texture adds some visual interest to otherwise flat, boring walls.

I think drywall texture is a perfect example of how you need to understand your market and your buyer's needs/wants.

Originally posted by Rob K:
I found a great worker by running a vague ad on CL under "gigs"......If you can find an apartment maintenance guy, they can usually fix everything.

I'll have to try CL. Do you make your guy sign liability waivers and contracts?

The guy that suggested a few hundred for this job does repair work at some office. I'm really tempted to give him a try too, even though he's not an apartment complex guy. I was worried he was "too cheap" and amateur, but maybe his price is actually reasonable. He would at least do better than my first attempt at drywalling if I tried it to save money.

Originally posted by George P.:
rob, i need that guy's number....

i have a great mexican guy (not iligal, been here for 20 yrs), who charges $1/sq. ft. does amazing work (did my basement), but he hates doing small jobs. he wants to do at least one day worth of work, or his guys will screw him over and still get paid.

drywall is cheap, but experience is important. or it will look like crap.

I'm actually about to head to my job to get bids. I'd love your guys number, it's a large job. Please PM me.

Originally posted by Jon K.:

Wow. Is this calculation for labor, then you add supplies too? The $2000 quote the guy gave me should have been to completely re-do a few rooms or more.

$30/board should cover all labor and all materials...

Originally posted by Jon K.:
Originally posted by Steve K:
About $30 per board. A drywall guy once told me that a quick way to calculate a whole house worth of work is to multiply the living sq footage by 3.5 then divide that by 48 sq ft ( 12 ft drywall ) and then multiply times per sheet cost.

This is probably more applicable for new construction or full gut jobs.

Wow. Is this calculation for labor, then you add supplies too? The $2000 quote the guy gave me should have been to completely re-do a few rooms or more.

Not to be a jerk, but, why are you dwelling on this 2K bid? Go get others.

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