Installing drywall is an improvement project that can be done easily, but not easily done well. Matching seams, mudding it properly, sanding it to a smooth, even surface can be difficult for first time DIYers. There is a good reason that drywall contractors exist! But you might encounter a wall project that entails replacing or repairing a small portion of drywall – you may wonder how difficult this is to do or how expensive it might be to hire a professional. Before deciding whether DIY or a professional is the best fit for your drywall project, consider the following factors that play a role in the success and quality of your remodel.

Drywall basics

Whether you have added on a room and need drywall to finish the ceilings and walls, or whether you’ve had to cut out a section of drywall and replace it, the materials needed are generally the same. Drywall, usually sold in 4-foot wide sheets (and offered in a variety of lengths) can be cut easily with a drywall saw. Other supplies such as a power drill, screws, drywall tape, joint compound and sanding tools are standard materials. You may need to cut the drywall for electrical outlets or other details so good measuring tools will be necessary. Installing drywall is generally done better with two people as sometimes the project entails overhead work or heavy pieces. Understanding basic construction, and how walls and ceilings need to fit, is a great asset for this project.

Once drywall is installed the seams need to be sealed with tape and coated with joint compound or mud. Applying the tape and the mud require a practiced hand – the idea is to create the illusion of a seamless wall or ceiling and this is a very difficult part of the process to complete. Once the layers of mud have dried and have been sanded and smoothed, the drywall should be ready for primer and paint.

Installing drywall: when you should hire a pro

The question of whether to hire a professional drywall contractor or not will have much to do with your construction skills, the scope of the project, your budget and your timeline. If you have done drywall work before, or have a passion for learning a new skill, this may be a project for you. Small drywall projects, like repair or replacement, may be a good opportunity to try your hand at this task. However, if you have a large scale project and a short time frame for completion, it will be worth the money hiring a professional who can complete this task correctly the first time.

Other aspects of installing and hanging drywall is best to let a professional complete, such as the demolition of existing drywall. This is to ensure that electrical wiring or plumbing is not disturbed during the process. Professionals should also measure, order, and hang drywall with expert knowledge of the best quality and type of materials to use while abiding by your drywall project budget. Your contractor will make sure that the process from start to finish runs smoothly. For instance, if there are large gaps in the walls from attempting to hang drywall yourself, this will result in an unstable wall and can be avoided by having a professional do the job for you. If you are replacing drywall due to hazardous conditions, like mold, make sure that the area is sealed off so that mold spores do not spread throughout the room.

Advantages of hiring a drywall contractor

The main advantage of hiring a certified and qualified contractor is to ensure proper installation. Your drywall should hang straight and be secured into support beams or studs in the wall. A drywall contractor will be trained and able to troubleshoot around rooms that might be a little uneven. Putting your remodel in the hands of a professional will give you quality, speed, and help add value to the room. A contract will most likely be drawn up between you and your contractor lining out all terms and agreements regarding your drywall project. Having a contractor who is licensed, bonded, and insured, while also a contract is in place will provide service up to current building and safety code standards. If you find your professional is not working according to your contract, know the warning signs for when to fire your drywall contractor.

Obtaining permits

Permits may not always be required for drywall projects, unless it is altering the structure or layout of your home. In this case, you will want to apply for a building permit before the project begins to ensure that the application is processed on time. During spring and summer months, permit requests increase, thus taking more time to process each request. If you choose to hire a professional, your drywall contractor should have knowledge of what permits will be necessary for your specific project.

It is best to keep a copy of any permits obtained for remodeling work completed in your home. If you should sell your home, it’s important to potential homebuyers to see that you hired professionals and took proper measures for safety and code compliance during the project. Proof of permits for work completed can help to receive a higher offer when the home is up for sale. Find a drywall contractor on Porch to begin your search for the right professional.