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How to Hang Drywall on Ceilings

Without Breaking Your Back!!!

As Seen On
by Jeff Patterson in DIY Bathroom Remodel
How to Hang Drywall on Ceilings HRT

Today you’ll learn how to hang drywall on ceilings.

Drywall is HEAVY.

Guess how much one sheet weighs?

60 to 70 pounds!!!

Hoisting a 4 x 8 foot sheet of 5/8″ drywall above your head is no fun.

If you’ve done this by yourself you know what I’m talking about.

We share the one tool you need to make this project way easier.

Getting Started

Having the right tools makes a HUGE difference.

This is so true when it comes to hanging drywall.

Steve and I are doing a video series on how to remodel a bathroom.

A big part of that process is drywall.

So we’re sharing how to hang drywall ceilings the fast and easy way.

Especially if you’ll be doing this project by yourself.

These are the supplies you need:

It’s the drywall lift that makes hanging drywall ceilings way easy.

After you watch or read this tutorial it’ll take you less than 45 minutes to hang a bathroom ceiling.


How to Hang Drywall the Easy Way

First things first, look for any electrical devices in the ceiling.

Look for Electrical

These could be lights, bath fans, or junction boxes.

Measure the distance of the boxes from adjacent walls.

Write these dimensions on studs, drywall, or a pad.

Don’t lose them or you’ll be kicking yourself.

You need the dimensions to cut holes in the new drywall ceiling.

Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to cut the holes in a different tutorial.

Steve shares a great tip when it comes to drywalling over bathroom fans the right way.

He’s cool like that.

If you rent a lift it’ll come in 5-7 pieces.

This is great because you can throw it into a car.

You don’t need a truck.

Once you’re home you can assemble it.

Home Depot rents drywall lifts for about $40 a day.

Place the drywall onto the lift arms.

Place Drywall onto Lift

The finished side of the drywall should face down.

Crank the lift’s wheel to raise and lower the drywall.

You want the drywall to be square against the wall studs and top plates.

Make Drywall Square

Use 5/8″ drywall on the ceiling to stay to code and to prevent any bowing.

This is truly important if you have 24 on-center joists.

And you probably wanna add liquid nail on the joists in this case.

Steve explains why in the video.

What tools should you use to install drywall screws?

A DeWALT drywall screw setter and impact driver or drill.


The screw setter sets the depth of the drywall screw.

Drywall Screw Setter

It provides a perfect dimple and prevents tearing of the drywall paper.

Either an impact driver or drill will work to set the screws.

What size and type of drywall screw should you use to hang drywall ceilings?

Coarse threaded drywalls screws are the best for wood joists.

Coarse Threaded Drywall Screws

If you’re using 5/8″ drywall for the ceiling you should use at least 1 5/8″ coarse threaded drywall screws.

This gives you 1″ to screw into the joist.

Screw sizes less than 1 5/8″ may stop the drywall from being properly attached to the joist.

And nobody wants a 70lb sheet of drywall falling on their head.

Sheets of drywall have Xs marked on the surface every 16 inches.

Drill screws into these Xs.

Drill Screws into Xs

Drive screws about 1 inch away from the edges of drywall.

This prevents the drywall from breaking and losing it’s strength.

And it’s not a bad idea to mark the joist location on the wall studs.

This ensures you’re drilling the screws into wood instead of thin air!!!

A good rule of thumb when hanging drywall ceilings is to make the drywall sheet be perpendicular to the joists.

This makes the installation strong and keeps the number of joints to a minimum.

Watch the video to see all Steve’s tips…we promise they’ll help you easily hang drywall


What’s Next

We hope the tips in today’s tutorial helped.

If you’re interested in how to hang drywall by yourself but without a lift, this tutorial has a ton of great tips.

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

Send Me The Guide


Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.


Jeff Patterson





P.S. If you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel in 2018 check out Bathroom Repair Tutor, you won’t be disappointed with the videos and one-on-one support.

P.P.S. Our online store has a ton of supplies for homeowners doing a bathroom remodel. You’ll find wedi shower systems, KBRS shower pans, tiling tools, and more.

  1. Juan says:

    Are their mold resistant materials or drywall?

    1. National Gypsum has several products you might like Juan.

      First one is Gold Bond® XP® Gypsum Board

      Check it out over on their site

      They have other products too that are mold resistant 😀

  2. Lanny Farmer says:

    For my final step in smoothing out mud joints, I like to use a large cellulose sponge, dampened and squeezed out, instead of sanding. Does a great job and removes mud dust!

    1. That’s a great tip Lanny, thanks!!! Do you have a specific method like using circular motions? I find that’s the best way to taper edges 😀

  3. Kennedy says:

    Many drywall tip is to watch YouTube videos of the pros doing it first!

    1. Always a good idea to see a pro in action 😀

  4. Kyle says:

    if you want to save yourself $40 you could make a couple dead men out of some scrap wood you may have laying around. I just made a couple to help me hold my drywall up when I recently did a room. Works very well

    1. Good idea Kyle.

      I still like the lift. It allows you to easily adjust the location of the drywall without concentrating on the sheet and dead men.

      But a good suggestion 😀

  5. Greg says:

    Thanks, Jeff!

    Remember to use mold-resistant drywall in bathrooms.

    1. Yep, we chose to simply show the regular drywall for the ceiling but the next tutorials on drywalling show purple board 😀

  6. J Bell says:

    My tip is to hire a friend (who knows what he is doing) to help! Seriously, I’ve never hung a full sheet of drywall before so I don’t have a tip. I could sure use the gift card though!

    1. Well at least you’re willing to learn. At that’s something to be proud about. I bet your could hang the ceiling no problem 😀

  7. Deb says:

    I like using “low-dust” drywall mud. When you sand, the dust sinks straight to the ground instead of into the air. It does help a lot. But I’ve also used the wet sponge trick too.

    1. Thanks Deb, no doubt it’s the dust that people hate. Myself included. Definitely love the wet sponge method.

  8. robb cape says:




    1. Thanks Robb, you’re always a source of inspiration for me. When you post your projects on the FB Group I’m stoked to see the before and afters. Keep up the great work.

  9. Kim Pennellrywall says:

    Years ago, not having done much drywall before attempting an entire bathroom redo, the walls looked like the inside of a battleship! Very “screwy”. ha

    1. Lol, it’s easy to get carried away with the drywall screws. Never thought to compare the look to a battleship cut could see the resemblance, haha.

  10. Jennifer S says:

    My tip involves repairing a hole in drywall. Cut out a rectangle from stud to stud around the area that needs to be replaced. Then cut a new piece of drywall that is a close fit and screw it into the studs. Spackle over the screws. If its a close fit you can mud the seams without drywall tape, but if your gap needs support then apply drywall tape around the perimeter, mud, and sand until smooth. Once thoroughly dried you can prime and paint. Everyone has their own way to do this but this is my method and tip.

    1. Thanks Jennifer, great tips. I like to do the same thing with one modification.

      Cut the drywall piece bigger than the hole. Transpose the dimensions of the new drywall piece onto the wall. Having the new patch be about 2 inches wider than the hole on all sides is a good tip. Cut back that patch on the backside by about 1 inch but leave the extra 1 inch of paper.

      When you embed the new patch into the hold you’ll have the paper from it to mud.

      Cuts back on one step 😀

  11. Aimee says:

    Hire a good contractor. Drywall finishing is an art. It needs to be done right especially in well lit rooms. Found this out the hard way 🙁

    1. Good lighting is a must. I’ve taken a light and closely looked at the seams to see if they are smooth. It’s amazing what you’ll see in a well lit room 😀

  12. dan says:

    Combat dust.
    I used my excess vacuum hoses, parts and broken drain traps that are 1.25″ to fit together.
    And made two cyclone buckets. Just look on net for pictures. These work.
    First bucket filled with 1/3 water collects all dust. Connect your vacuum brush to this.
    Second bucket connected to first protects vacuum cleaner.
    There is plenty of suction for this fine dust.
    Lids or just pieces of sturdy plastic will be vacuum sealed so don’t have to use lids that fit so darn tight that you have to pry them off with jack hammer.
    Total cost? Free with the junk parts or two buckets = $5.

    1. You’re the MAN Dan!!!

      This is a phenomenal tip and everyone, I mean everyone, hates drywall dust.

      Hope people see your tip. We might have to post this in the HRT Facebook Group 😀

      1. dan says:

        Thank you Jeff. Your own Rainbow”bucket” vac for $0.

  13. Pau l says:

    You can also hang ceiling drywall with two pieces of 2 by 4’s
    You take the 2 by 4’s and make a T with the flat side of the board holding the drywall and pushing the 2 by 4 and the drywall up to the ceiling with the long board use it as a leg . Making the T work as a lift . just saved you rental money

    1. Good tip Paul, definitely works with two people. Not sure about one.

      That’s one reason we like the lift. One person can hang drywall no problem. And the lift is easy to adjust up or down and side to side. But certainly the T method is great.

  14. Ed Welz says:

    I applied drywall in three rooms perfectly. It was the mudding and seams that was a major problem.

    1. We’ll have some tutorials on that Ed.

      You’re right though, the mudding and seams can be the trickiest part.

  15. M. Grady says:

    I had a very large ceiling to hang. I bought this lift for $200 – made hanging rock as easy as pie! It works great for installing attic stairs, too!

    1. Never thought about using the lift for attic stairs, great idea. Hanging drywall is so much easier with this 😀

  16. Randy Hilton says:

    Speaking of mud. You can use it to fill holes, nicks, and other wounds in wood. It fills good and sands really fast!!!

    1. Thanks for the mud tip, I’ve used epoxy fillers with great success, too 😀

  17. Jimmy Stinnett says:

    It’s nice to have a machine when mudding the seams. Makes it a lot smoother

    1. Which machine do you like best Jimmy?

  18. Jan Duckworth says:

    Just remember, the smoother the sanding job, the better the finished wall or ceiling will look. It pays to take a little extra time.

    1. Totally agree Jan, hanging the drywall is one thing. But the finish work is equally important. I tend to get overly OCD when it comes to sanding and smoothing out the finish 😀

  19. Susan says:

    Loved the drywall video….also removing a bathtub surround! I am a “carpenter-in-training”. I am learning a lot from your site. Thank you. Have not drywalled yet, but I will not be afraid to attempt it in the future. I am a Home Depot girl. Love that place!!!

    1. HD can be dangerous for my wallet Susan, LOL.

      Congrats on all your learning. Glad this video on hanging drywall and the other one of tub removal are helping you out. Feel free to ask any questions at any time. We’d be happy to help 😀

  20. David says:

    Remember to provide backing for support of the ceiling drywall on the ends parallel to the ceiling joists if the gap is more than a few inches.

    1. Great suggestion David, without support the drywall will sag and that’s no good. Especially in a tight space like a bathroom 😀

  21. David says:

    I’m leery of sagging ceilings with joists 24″ on center, so I am considering 3/4″ drywall, or screwing 1 x 2 stringers perpendicular to the joists, either 16″ on center or 12″ on center in a small bathroom where the humidity could contribute to sagging.

    1. Sounds like a good plan. Will take a bit longer but worth it in the long run.

  22. Mark says:

    When you’re plastering (mudding?) the imperfections on the wall, use either coloured mud, or mix a little chalk line powder so you can see what you’ve gone over. Great if its your first time, and even if you’ve done it a hundred times

    1. Now that’s a great tip Mark. Thanks buddy for adding this to the discussion 😀

  23. Jim B says:

    Great tip and tutorial. Never thought about a lift I always needed extra hands and it’s still not easy to hold it up and get a screw in it with two people. Thanks.
    Jim B in Ga

    1. It’s amazing how heavy drywall can be, even with two people. I’ve used my head to hold up sections, not a whole sheet, and screwed the drywall into place. Total circus act, haha 😀

  24. Tim Hourihan says:

    I snap a chalk line along each stud after the drywall is in place to ensure I screw through the drywall and dead center into the stud for a strong, secure, grip. Also, consider renting a drywall sander for larger rooms like I did in my basement. I hate hand sanding drywall and this tool makes short order of the job. It also has a dust collecting bag!

    1. Love the idea of renting a sander like that Tim, thanks for the suggestion. All of us hate drywall dust and if this helps then it’s worth the expense. Great suggestion with the chalk lines. This is a fantastic for first time or even intermediate DIYers. One time I hired a crew to install drywall ceilings, when I inspected their work a lot of the screws were drilled into thin air. NOT GOOD. I had to go back and fix their mess

  25. AL says:

    Do you have a video of how to install a sprinkler system?. Thanks. AL.

    1. Not at this time Al, sorry 🙁

  26. george says:

    Hi Jeff, I don’t know didly about hanging drywall, but I’m sure I’ll learn through your video. I have a small job where I had to cut a hole in the ceiling to find a leak. The hole is about 24″x 24″. Hopefully I can take a shot at it after watching your video.

    1. You can do it George. All you need to do in this case is add some wood support on the edges of your hole, use 1×2 wood. Then attach the drywall to that using 1 5/8″ coarse threaded drywall screws. That’s a good approach if your drywall is 5/8″.

      Always feel free to post your pictures or questions in the HRT Facebook Group

      You can join here

  27. waykno says:

    I (and sons) re-did our west wall. Took out patio sliding door and replaced it with a regular door. I can imagine having that hanger for a ceiling would be mandatory.

    1. No mandatory but will make hanging the drywall ceiling a lot easier. Great job with the door install 😀

  28. Hank Wolgast says:

    Jeff, One of my first experiences with drywall was cutting a hole in the kitchen ceiling for a fan. I had to install wood spacers to hang the fan from the joist. The main thing I learned was to take your time with the drywall patching that you need to do.and you will be fine. everything does not have to fit perfectly tight.that’s what tape and mud is for. Use a wide trowel to spread the mud on the joints and it will minimize sanding. Don’t forget the wet sponge to collect the dust..

    1. Wet sponge is a great way to cut down on the dust, thanks Hank. You’re totally right about taking your time. Rushing through any drywall install isn’t a great thing. You’re much better off making sure you sink all the screws into the joist or studs versus having to go back and fix any misses with mud 😀

  29. GIlda says:

    I have found that a mud that is not real thick works best for me. It goes on smoother and takes less sanding. A wet or damp sponge can cut down on the dust.

    1. Thanks Gilda for your tip, do you mix your own joint mud or get the ready mix?

  30. Bob says:

    Apply mud as if it were gold! That is, use as little as possible to get the job done. I used to use 10 lbs of mud and then do 9 lbs of sanding! Someone else mentioned it is an art, but good results do come with practice. The texture and feel of the finish is more important than the appearance, (you’re going to seal and paint everything, right?) If your first job, try taping and mudding a few scrap pieces over plywood to get the feel for it. And, though it may seem awkward at first, the larger the knife you can handle, the smoother the results. Good luck out there!

  31. Anthony says:

    This tip pertains more to what comes after you’ve finished your drywall. In my first attempt at redoing a room, I found that painting directly over the mud left a different shine in the particular spot. I began using primer over the mud before painting and it was much less noticeable.

  32. Troy G says:

    Will you follow up with a how to texture a ceiling? I cut a spot out, now need to replace…without screwing it up!! Are teh cans of texture worth a darn, or is the load up the mud and flat pull from ceiling the best way?

  33. Lisa says:

    I agree with Tim Hourihan to snap a chalkline. It helps with accuracy in driving the screws. My husband has recently remodeled a closet, and that was one of the things he did when replacing dry wall.

  34. Lupe says:

    I’m new in trying to dive into home improvement so my tip is, after watching the pros doing it on youtube, ensure you have a list of the equipment and supplies needed when shopping so you’ll have a good start to your project and dive in.

  35. Diane says:

    A tip given to me years ago is to use a work light and point it from the floor up to the ceiling against the wall. It will show imperfections needing more sanding and smoothing.

  36. Karen says:

    Watch your video first!!

    1. Thanks Karen, let us know if you have any questions 😀

  37. Toolpro says:

    Absolutely concur Jan, hanging the drywall is one thing. In any case, the completion work is similarly vital. I have a tendency to get excessively OCD with regards to sanding and smoothing out the completion ????

  38. James Totter says:

    With a new grandson, my wife is developing a project list for me, and one is to raise the level of some outlets because she doesn’t trust the plastic caps. It looks to me like a Rotozip with dust vault would make the job much easier.

  39. Chandler Drywall Consultants says:

    Thank you for sharing, great directions and tips.

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