Drywall size kept me up at night.
Yeah, I'm a big basement nerd and I know it.
Here's what happened. I was thinking of drywalling my basement (which I don't recommend btw) and so I started looking at drywall sheet prices.
The drywall size, lengths and thicknesses, absolutely affect the price, but not necessarily in the way you would think.
I was also obsessed with preventing noise from upstairs from creeping into my basement sanctuary. So I was reading everything about different drywall thickness and how they performed in terms of noise abatement.
I was swimming in drywall fears! In the end. I hired a company to do the installation. Even though I didn't do the work I still needed to answer some important questions.
- I was wondering if I could even carry a sheet of drywall by myself?
- How much does a sheet of drywall weigh?
- Would a 12 foot sheet of drywall fit down the steps?
Drywall Size - Basement Drywall Thickness
Drywall boards come in 3 common thicknesses. There's 1/4 inch drywall, 1/2 inch drywall, 5/8ths of an inch drywall and 3/4 inch drywall.
The most commonly installed thickness, per my extensive Google searching, is 1/2 inch. This is what I had installed in my basement. I considered 3/4 of an inch, especially for the ceiling and some of the walls where I wanted to cut down on noise transfer.
But when I was talking with my contractor he said that it would be a lot more expensive to use 3/4 inch and that I could get better value for my money by just putting in R11 insulation to reduce noise instead. Just another reason it's critical to get a great contractor.
Okay, so 1/2 inch. That's what you want. Don't even make me laugh by going with 1/4 inch. Please. Get that junk out of my face!
TIP: If your ceiling joist are 24" on center instead of 16" then you need to use 3/8th's for the ceiling instead of 1/2 inch. The 1/2 inch drywall is too heavy and may sag if the joist are to far apart.
How Heavy is a Sheet of Drywall
Let's say you did want to install all of your drywall yourself. Hey, I'm all for it! This is a blog about finishing your own basement after all.
How heavy is a single sheet? If you had a stack of drywall delivered to your driveway, could you carry them in by yourself?
A 4' x 8' x 1/2" thick sheet of drywall weighs 54 lbs.
A 4' x 12' x 1/2" thick sheet of drywall weighs 82 lbs.
Sooooo… I'm in pretty good shape. I'm not bragging or anything but 50 pounds ain't no thing for me to lift. 82 lbs… no problem. I can toss around two 45 pound weights all day long.
Here's the thing though. It's awkward to carry. Crazy awkward. You need long rubbery arms to reach all the way around.
So I suggest that you either bring a friend or buy one of these little yellow jobbies to help carry the drywall.
Now I'm sure there are some dudes out there with T-Rex arms that will chime in to say that they carry drywall every single day with no little helper thing. Well... props to you guys, that's why you're a drywall pro.
Drywall Size - What's the Right Sheet Length
So 8 feet is probably the "standard" size. Each sheet being 4 feet high by 8 feet long.
But…. It also comes in 12 foot lengths (still 4 feet high). Drywall guys prefer to work with the 12 foot lengths because there are fewer drywall seems to deal with.
The installation cost can be considerably cheaper if they can use 12 foot drywall size boards. Like 30% cheaper, according my drywall guy, which is good enough for me.
So why wouldn't everyone use 12 foot drywall boards when finishing their basements?
It's all in the angles. A 12 foot drywall board cannot be carried into the basement through the inside stairwell. There usually isn't enough room to make the turn.
If you have a walk-in basement or a walk-down basement without too many steps then they can easily carry in 12 foot boards. Otherwise they need to use 8 foot boards.
So consider yourself lucky if you have the option of getting the drywall boards into the basement through a walk-in door. You just saved yourself a couple hundred bucks!
Quiet Rock, Gypsum Board, Green Board and Jibber-Jabber
I wanted to wrap up this post with a bit of advice that might save you some days and nights of thinking about drywall. There are all kinds of different drywall products and names that claim to solve one problem or another. And many of them work great. But, most of them require a lot of extra budget and special installation techniques.
Take QuietRock for example, which I love and wish I had the cash to use. It's a new sheet rock product that claims to cut down on noise. But you have to install it correctly, with the correct techniques, correct glues, etc. So you would need to find a drywall contractor that specialized in installing that product. And that means paying more money.
In the end, none of the benefits or customization was worth it for me to pay extra and do extra work. Standard 1/2 inch drywall all the way around turned out to be the best middle ground. (Plus the R11 insulation that I put in).
So by all means research and noodle what you really want to get out of your drywall. And you've got some cash or you absolutely must have the best sound insulation , well then contact me when you're done. I really want to know how well it works!
Cheers - Jason
More Drywall Stuff:
- Thinking of doing it yourself? That's cool, just read this first 5 Reasons Not to Install Your Own Drywall
- 4 Critical Things to Do Before Your Basement Drywall Is Installed
- Need some basement stuff? Check out the store
- Need tools? Save up to 40% at CPO (my favorite - J)