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Drywall: How to Estimate Drywall

Learn how to estimate drywall and how to prepare drywall take-offs.


How to estimate drywall is really a simple task. Drywall take off quantities should be obtained following these simple steps.

1. Measure the Square Footage

Home addition newly drywalled
Steven Puetzer/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Measure the total square footage of the area where the drywall will be installed. When drywall is going to be installed in walls, multiply the width times the height of each wall or ceiling where drywall will be installed. Prepare a spreadsheet identifying all walls or ceiling sections and add all the quantities.

2. Estimate Drywall Boards

Calculate how many drywall boards you will need. After all areas have been totaled, divide those areas by 32, if a 4 by 8 board will be used, or 48 if a 4 by 12 , depending on the size of drywall that is going to be installed. This division will get you the numbers of boards required to be installed. If you want to get the cost, just multiply the total amount of boards required by the price of each drywall sheet. Remember to add local taxes and delivery charges.

3. Estimate Drywall Tape

To estimate how much drywall tape is required, just do the following. Now that you have the number of drywall sheets needed, multiply them by the perimeter of the drywall board to determine the linear feet of joint tape for the drywall. The result will be the total amount of linear feet for the project, and it must be divided by 500, the total amount of linear feet a roll of joint tape contains. Once that you know how many rolls of drywall tape is required, multiply by the cost per roll.

4. Estimate Joint Compound

To determine the number of ready mixed joint compound required, divide the area by 400. Multiply the number of buckets by the individual price of each bucket to determine the cost. An alternate approach could be determined by dividing the area where drywall will be installed by 200. The result will be the quantity of gallons of joint compound needed.

5. Estimate Drywall Screws

When estimating drywall you will also need to know how many screws are needed. To determine the pounds of screws required, will be made by dividing the square footage of drywall by 300. This is how many pounds of 1-1/4 inch drywall screws are needed. Generally, you will need about 5-6 pounds of nails for every 1000 square-foot, depending on how the drywall is being installed. Other professional recommends that you must get the area total, divided by 1,000 and then multiply by 5 ¼.

6. Estimate Corner Beads

For corner bead, add the length of all outside corners. Corner beads usually comes in 8 and 10 foot sections, so the total amount of corner beads will be the total amount of outside corners where drywall will be installed. Add up the total linear feet of soffits and purchase an equivalent amount of corner bead.

7. Estimate Drywall Miscellaneous

In addition remember to include waste removal costs, protecting finished areas, worker’s compensation insurance, permit fees, liability insurances, cleaning activities, small tools, and sand paper and installation costs. Keep in mind that prices of items vary in different locations. Finally add your markup for profit and overhead. Small companies can set between 15 to 20 percent, while other companies should set between 10 to 20 percent, depending on location, size and other factors that could alter your quote.

8. Estimate Drywall Additionals

It is important to highlight that many other components form part of a drywall and should be also considered in your estimate. Some of those items are: drywall hammers, tape measure, drywall rasp, metal cutters (straight cut, razor knife, pipehole knocker (preferably copper pipe), chalk line, T-square, router (optional), screw gun, drywall horse, kicker bar (for jacking up bottom sheets on the walls)

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