How to install a drywall ceiling

This article is about how to install a drywall ceiling, either on wood or on metallic  frames. The most difficult part of this project is to lift the drywall boards. You could rent a drywall jack, or ask another person to help you hang the drywall boards. However, if you choose to build a metal stud frame, the process will take a little long, but the quality of the project will be extraordinary. Installing a drywall ceiling is not difficult, provided you use proper tools and materials and understand the basic techniques. Remember that you have to install the sheets of drywall perpendicular to the direction of the joists.

Although installing a drywall ceiling is not an easy job, with the help of another person virtually any experienced diy-er can finish such a project. The most difficult stage is to lift the drywall boards up to the ceiling, while the rest of the operations are just common-sense. Therefore, you can either rent a drywall jack for several days, or use a ladder and ask a friend to assist you. If you don’t afford to rent the drywall jack, you need someone to hold the sheet into position, while you drive in the screws.

As you probably now, drywall panels come usually in the following dimensions: 4’x8′, 4’x9′, 4’x10′, 4’x12′, with a thickness ranging from 1/3 inches to 5/8 inches, but the most commonly used drywall boards are the 1/2 inches and 5/8 inches thick. Read carefully our article and you will learn the skills required to hang a drywall ceiling in a professional manner. If you are not prepared to work by yourself, consider hiring a qualified contractor, even though this will increase the cost of your remodeling project.


Made from this plan





  • Drywall
  • Drywall screws



  • Safety gloves, safety glasses
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Utility knife, measuring tape
  • Framing square, pencil
  • T-square



  • Be careful when manipulating the drywall boards, as they are heavy
  • If you can afford, buy or rent a drywall jack
  • When installing the screws you should make sure you do not insert them to deep in the drywall, as thy might damage the panels



Preparing the drywall ceiling installation

Drywall ceiling layout

Drywall ceiling layout


Before installing the drywall ceiling, you have to understand that you have to use a proper layout, as to get the job done in a professional manner. Consequently, you have to start with one corner of the room, by using a full drywall board.

The next row of drywall must start with half of a drywall sheet, as to create a proper layout. In addition, when inserting the screws make sure you observe the right spacing, as to secure the boards properly.


Metal stud ceiling frame

Metal stud ceiling frame


The first step of the project is to evaluate the structure of the ceiling, made of either wood studs or of metal studs. As you can see, in our case  we will install the drywall ceiling on a metal stud frame, but you can install drywall boards on wood studs, as well.

The first thing you have to evaluate is if the ceiling frame is level. This aspect is very important, as otherwise the ceiling won’t have a pleasant appearance and in time the joints between the drywall boards will crack.


Installing polyethylene vapor barrier

Installing polyethylene vapor barrier


After we have  made sure the ceiling frame is level and secured properly, we’ve decided to install mineral wool insulation  and an anti-vapor foil, for both saving energy and ensuring a long lifespan for the drywall ceiling.  The anti-vapor foil can be installed on a double adhesive tape or can be locked with staples.  The main aspect is to make sure the foil is  fixed properly and it doesn’t make folds.

Work with patience and make sure your ladder is installed on a level surface.



How to install drywall ceiling

Installing drywall on ceiling

Installing drywall on ceiling


When installing the drywall ceiling start from a corner, making sure the boards are as close as possible to the walls. If the corners of the room are not right angled, you should cut the drywall panels as to fit perfectly into place.

All edges of the drywall boards should be fastened to the ceiling studs. When connecting two drywall boards, you should screw them on the same stud, the joint line being exactly over the stud’s median. Lock the drywall boards into position with several screws, along edges and in the middle.


Installing drywall ceiling

Fixing the drywall ceiling with screws


Afterwards, continue fastening the drywall with screws, using an electric screwdriver. If you install 1/2” drywall, then you should use 1-1/4″ drywall screws, as if you are installing 5/8” drywall a better option would be 6 x 1-5/8″ screws.

This size of the screws is very important, as the rigidity of the ceiling is also based on the type of screws you are using. Along walls, we have installed screws every 7”/15 cm, while inside the boards we have installed the screws every 12”/30 cm. Don’t insert the screws too close to the edge of the drywall panels, but leave around 1/2” to prevent cracks.


Drywall ceiling joints

Drywall ceiling joints


After you have installed the first drywall board, you should continue with the next boards. Therefore, work with great care to make sure you align them properly.

Drive in the screws, as to make sure their heads are aligned with the drywall surface. In order to make a proper job we recommend you to use a screwdriver with torque control, as you can adjust the speed.


Installing drywall ceiling boards pattern

Installing drywall ceiling boards pattern


When installing a drywall ceiling, you have to use the stretcher bond pattern. Therefore, you have to start the the next row with half of a drywall board and continue it with full boards.

In addition, you might have to cut several holes in the drywall boards for smoke detectors, for electrical wires for light fixtures of for ventilation appliances. In order to get the job done professionally, you should use a drill machinery with torque control and masonry drill bits.


Installling dryawall ceiling

Installing drywall ceiling


Continue installing the drywall boards in the same manner described previously. When installing a drywall ceiling it is important to follow the layout, otherwise it won’t be durable.

Smart Tip: make sure you don’t leave any gap between the drywall boards and drive in the screws 1” away from the edges. Work with patience and with great care, as to make sure you install the drywall ceiling in a professional manner. Use a large spirit level to check if the ceiling is horizontal.


Finishing drywall ceiling

Finishing drywall ceiling


After you have installed the drywall ceiling, you have to finish the joints by applying putty and drywall paper. This step is not difficult, but it is essential for a neat look.

Therefore, you should cover the screw heads and the drywall board joints by using a large trowel, paper tape and drywall putty. Remember that you have to apply at least 2 layers of putty. After you have applied the putty, you have to sand it a couple of times (using at first medium grit sandpaper and then fine grit sandpaper), until it will look properly.



Cutting drywall boards

Cutting drywall

Cutting drywall


In order to cut the drywall boards, you should mark the exact dimension on the plasterboard, using a pencil and a T-square. Use a tape measurement, to make sure you make accurate marks on the sheet.

The next step is to use a sharp utility knife and to go several times over the drawn line, as top make sure you have cut it deeply. Bend the board alongside the cut and split the two drywall boards by cutting the paper layer with a utility knife.



Thank you for reading how to install drywall ceiling, and we also recommend you to read the other articles, related to drywall ceiling. Please LIKE and SHARE our articles using the social media widgets. SUBSCRIBE to be the first that gets our latest projects.

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