Every rehab project will likely have some kind of drywall work, whether it's small drywall patching to new drywall installation required to finish a basement. In order to create an accurate estimate, you will need to be able to estimate the quantity of drywall work required and create an accurate budget.
Basics Of Estimating Drywall Costs
- Drywall wallboard, taped & finished ($1.5 - $3.0 per square feet)
- Drywall partition, stud + drywall one side, L+M ($4.0 - $8.0 per square feet)
- Drywall partition, stud + drywall both sides, L+M ($5.0 - $9.0 per square feet)
- Patch existing walls (varies by size)
- Remove popcorn ceilings & re-texture ($1.5 - $3.0 per square feet)
- Skim coating/texturing walls ($0.9 - $1.25 per square feet)
- Skim coating/texturing ceilings ($1.0 - $1.50 per square feet)
In construction, there is a term called economies-of-scale. The larger the drywall project, the more efficient the contractor can be in installing the drywall.
Level of Finish
Drywall can be finished at different levels that require varying amounts of 'finishing'.
- Level 2 Finish is a wall that has been taped and mudded, but has not been sanded. Level 2 walls are typically found in garages, utility closets, or on walls that are hidden behind wall tile.
- Level 3 Finish is a wall that has been taped, mudded, rough sanded & textured. Level 3 walls are able to be left relatively rough because the texture coating helps hide wall imperfections. For this reason, Level 3 is the least labor-intensive and cheapest option and is typically used in rental-grade properties.
- Level 4 Finish is the classic, most common wall finish which receives a smooth sanding and a 2nd layer of joint compound over the joints and seams. Level 4 requires more sanding so it is slightly more expensive than Level 3 Finish.
- Level 5 Finish is the highest possible finish of drywall in which the entire wall receives a mud 'skimcoat'. Level 5 finish is the most labor-intensive and most expensive drywall finish and is typically only found in high-end homes.
The location where you are installing the drywall will have a significant impact. If you are installing the drywall in downtown San Francisco the drywall will obviously cost much more than the same drywall being installed in Suburbia.
Spring and Summer is peak drywall season and Drywall Contractors are generally swamped with work, so if you are getting a drywall installed during this time you will likely pay a premium.
Writing A Scope Of Work & Getting Bids
Drywall Contractors will generally provide an all-inclusive bid to provide all labor, materials, and equipment to install the drywall.
Here is an example of how to write a Scope of Work that ensures your Drywall Contractor provides an all-inclusive bid.
Example Scope Of Work
All Drywall work is to be Contractor Furnished, Contractor Installed.
- Furnish, install, tape, sand, and finish new drywall.
- Patch and prep miscellaneous holes, cracks, and imperfections in walls and ceilings.
- Furnish and install fire-resistant, mold-resistant drywall in areas required by local building codes.