Cost to replace a drop ceiling with drywall

by Carter Toni

drop ceiling with drywall

You may want to replace your drop ceiling with a drywall ceiling due to water damage, desire to cover or replace the existing drop wall, or other reasons.

Most homeowners hire contractors to install drywalls due to the difficulty of holding the drywall pieces in place while screws are screwed in. More so, it is tiresome for one to work lifting their hands above their heads for long periods of time. It doesn’t demand skills like other home projects. However, it is a hard hassle. It is a harder hassle especially if you have to remove the existing drop ceilings first. 

Cost to replace a drop ceiling with drywall 

Since one is replacing a drop ceiling with a drywall ceiling, one must first remove the drop ceiling. This is an extra cost. The cost is further dependent on whether you are doing it yourself (DIY) or you are hiring a professional to do the project.

When you are remodeling and want to remove the drop ceiling and haul away the waste, the average cost per square ft ranges from $3.92 – $6.80. It is important to make sure you are not surprised by hidden costs that make your budget go over-board. Therefore, it is important to plan for the project carefully. There are a lot of online calculators that calculate the cost to replace a drop ceiling with a drywall ceiling depending on your zip code.

Consulting with experienced and licensed home and real estate improvement contractors exposes you to much information you need to undertake the project. The prices range from less to more depending on whether you want basic, better, or best services/products.

The cost is also dependent on the materials you will use for the drywall.

Cost to Drywall a ceiling

When contractor services are called upon, the average cost to drywall a ceiling is $2.45 per square foot. For DIY installations, the costs vary from $0.40 – $0.75 cents per square foot for drywall and materials.

Drywall Ceiling Price Factors

These drywall ceiling price factors are going to help you determine and plan on the budget whether you are hiring someone or are doing it yourself.

1. Who is going to do the work 

A large portion of the drywall installation budget goes to labor. This means that one has the potential of saving 70% or more by doing the installation themselves.

2. The ceiling height 

Average ceilings (8 inches to 12 inches) can be easily done with ladders, drywaller benches, and stilts. However, high ceilings push the drywall installation cost high as they require scaffolding or a lift to successfully install. 

3. The ceiling size 

The larger the ceiling space, the more the cost of drywall ceiling installation will be. However, with increasing ceiling space, the cost per square foot will decrease. Some ceiling spaces are however very small. For example, bathrooms. For these small ceiling spaces, contractors have a minimum work fee of $200+.

4. The ceiling difficulty 

Increased number of corners, as well as increased ceiling cutouts meant for fixtures, increase the total cost of materials needed. There are also increased labor costs. Waste is also increased. A room with 4 to 6 corners and 1 cutout per 100 square feet will have the average price discussed earlier. 

5. The ceiling prep 

When you are working on an old drop ceiling, you might want to initially prep it. This may involve scraping the old drop ceiling so that you can install the drywall ceiling.

Taking this approach involves taking time to locate studs to be used to install drywall screws. This kind of installation may cost one $1.00 per square foot.

6. Drywall type and thickness 

When it comes to drywall thickness, of course, there are differences when it comes to different drywall ceiling material thicknesses.

This also applies to drywall ceiling types. For example, moisture and mold-resistant green boards or drywalls cost more. 

7. Drop ceiling removal 

Drop ceiling removal raises the cost of the installation by 75 cents to $1.25 per square foot. This is the range of the cost for removing panels and tracks and disposing of the removed materials.

Installation Supplies Costs 

1. 25 – 40 cents per square foot of Standard Drywall Panels 

Bigger panels are less expensive per square foot. However, the DIYers have a harder time working with larger panels.

2. 35 – 45 cents per square foot of Moisture-resistant Panels 

For kitchens, bathrooms, and rooms where steam and water are plenty, green boards are recommended. 

3. 14 – 35 cents per linear foot of Drywall Corner Bead 

Vinyl bead and flexible metal rolls cost less than 8 inches sections.

4. $2.25 – $6.00 per roll of Joint Tape 

Vinyl mesh tapes cost more than paper tapes.

5. $3.00 – $5.50 per gallon of Joint Compound 

On a tape required to cover 450 feet of drywall, every gallon is sufficient for 1 coat of mud.

6. $6.00 – $20.00 per Box of Drywall Screws 

A box costing $6.00 comes with 200 screws. A panel requires a screw every 8 inches all around its perimeter. 

7. $ 5.00 – $12.00 each for Basic Hand Tools 

Among the hand tools you may require include; a keyhole saw, a mud pan, a taping knife, blades, and a utility knife.

8. $35 – $75 for Quality Driver/Drill 

Screws are preferred to nails as they hold the drywall more firmly to the studs.

9. $40 – $50 per day for renting a Drywall Lift 

A drywall lift lifts the drywall and holds it in place while screws are fastened.

10. $30 – $40 per hour for Labor Cost 

These are labor costs for the drywall installation. 


In conclusion, the cost of replacing a drop ceiling with drywall is definitely dependent on many factors. It is upon the homeowner who is undertaking the project to do proper research, analyze all the requirements, and draft a budget for the project.

He/she can do it themselves or if they are unfamiliar or busy undertaking the project by themselves, they should definitely hire a contractor.

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