Choosing drywall or drop ceiling for installation projects mainly depends on the cost. Before sticking with the final choice, it is necessary to understand the key elemental costs, the fee for add-ons, and many other related factors.
Let’s check out our comparison on drywall vs drop ceiling cost to discover the relevant information!
Table of Contents
Drywall Vs Drop Ceiling Cost – Detailed Comparison
By Project Range
On average, national drywall installation takes between US$ 1.500 -US$ 2000. Homeowners mostly spend around US$ 1,750 for hanging plasterboard or gypsum panel sheets in new walls or ceilings. The fee includes labor and material cost.
The drywall cost of installation varies by drywall material, size of the project, and a kind of job, such as a new installation or a remodeling project.
Here are some example costs for a typical range:
- 500 sq. ft. ½” standard drywall, hung and finished in a new addition: US$ 690
- 1,000 sq. ft. standard ½” drywall, hung and finished in a remodel: US$ 1,750
- 1,000 sq. ft. high-end ½” finished soundproof drywall, hung and finished in a remodel: US$ 7,500
A drop ceiling, commonly called a suspended acoustic ceiling, is a nice way to hide wires, pumping pipes and cover stains, water damage, etc. Many factors are involved with the final drop ceiling price: ceiling tiles material, grid rails, and beam costs.
If you want to add lighting, rail cover, or insulating tiles, prices would be much more varied.
Drop ceiling installation cost varies greatly by region. On average, the national cost is between $955 and $1,510. You would pay US$ 1,490 for a 130-square foot suspended plastic ceiling and trim.
If you are looking for a high-end one, a 150 sq. ft project using suspended aluminum-painted ceiling panels and a hidden grid costs US$ 2,710. Meanwhile, the lowest price for a basic installation of 100 sq. ft by suspended textured ceiling panels is around US$ 899.
Per Square Foot
Drywall installation fee by square foot associates with the total footage of walls and ceiling needed and the number of drywall sheets. Drywall ceiling cost per sq foot ranges from $1.50 to $3.50 per sq foot.
Example: The total square feet of a 12×12 ft room is 720. If using 4-by-10 sheets, you will need 18 panels. With the price range per drywall sheet including material, labor cost between US$ 60 to US$ 90, the average total cost is from US$1,500 to US$3,500.
An approximate expense to hire a professional contractor handling a drop ceiling installation is $9.30 a square foot.
Drywall Cost By Size
The most common size of a drop wall panel is 4’ wide, 8’ tall, and ½” thick. Less popular sizes yet still available are 4’x12’ drywall and 4’x16’ drywall, mostly used in the project featuring a high ceiling. Material cost for a sheet by size is summarized as below.
- 4’x8’ drywall: Price between US$10 and US$15 a sheet
- 4’x12’ drywall: Price between US$12 and US$18 a sheet
- 4’x16’ drywall: Price between US$16 and US$25 a sheet
Drop Ceiling Cost By Size
The three main sizes of drop ceiling are 1’x1’, 2’x2’, and 2’x4’ size. Each size has an average cost as below:
- 1’x1′ drop ceiling tiles: Price between US$1.08 and US$4.99 per sq foot
- 2’x2′ drop ceiling tiles: Price between US$2.66 and US$5.59 per sq foot
- 2’x4′ drop ceiling tiles: Price from US$3.09 to US$14.54 per sq foot
Various drywall types are available in the market to be suitable for the room function. A basement or bathroom needs to be water-resistant, while other rooms, apartment buildings, or commercial spaces need a fire or soundproof. Furthermore, it is necessary to use the same codes if you are installing drywall for an apartment. Here is our composite price list.
|Drywall Material||Price Per Sheet|
(Only Material Fee)
|Standard/ Traditional||US$ 10 -US$12|
|Plaster blueboard||US$11 – US$14|
|Fire-rated drywall||US$ 12 – US$ 21|
|Moisture resistant drywall||US$ 13 – US$ 15|
|Moisture and mold resistant drywall||US$13 – US$15|
|Eco-friendly drywall||US$14 – US$20|
|Paperless drywall||US$15 – US$22|
|Soundproof drywall||US$50 – US$75|
Like drywall, the drop ceiling is made of various materials providing multiple pricing options and different patterns. The most popular materials and prices are listed as below:
|Drop Ceiling Type (Size 2’x2’)||Price (Material Cost Only)|
|Mineral Fibers/Fiberboard Ceiling Tile||US$ 1.08 – US$ 6.60|
|Plastic||US$ 5 -US$ 9|
|Wood||US$ 8.66 – US$ 68|
|Tin/ Metal||US$12 – US$20|
To finish drywall installation, a carpenter or a contractor experiences four main steps: hanging, taping & mudding, sanding & priming, and finishing. Labor cost for each step is differently estimated as below:
|Step||Labor Fee (per sq.ft.)|
|Hanging||US$0.15 – US$0.65|
|Tapping & Mudding||US$0.40 – US$0.70|
|Sanding & Priming||US$0.10 – US$0.50|
|Finishing||US$0.35 – US$0.65|
|Total Labor Cost||US$1.00 – US$2.50|
After adding a material fee, the final drywall cost of installation is around US$1.50 -US$3.50, depending on the project size and job level.
The hiring labor cost to install grids and titles is around US$ 70.00 to US$135 per hour if you use a licensed contractor. The more affordable price is between $50.00 to $80.00 per hour for a handyman.
The project’s complexity also pushes up the final cost. Specifically, adding lights, decorative accents, especially rerouting air conditioning vents or wires moving have an impact on prices.
Apart from that, the duration to handle your project is another important expense. The following estimated timeline is easier for you to have a rough cost more correctly.
- The finishing gridwork stage takes three days.
- Installing titles takes around 4-6 hours.
- An optional stage to add rail covers or tape takes up to 6 hours.
Drywall & Drop Ceiling Cost – Additional Consideration & Other costs
DIY Project Or Not?
It highly depends on how experienced you are and how long you could finish the installation. Many meticulous steps are combined together with the non-familiarization of tile cutting, grid placing, rerouting the wires, etc. Only by studying the complexity of your projects and your desires carefully would you have your own decisions.
Terms and conditions are quite different among the contractor’s agreements. Along with selecting the contractor based on their experience or friends’ recommendation, it is still necessary to refer 3-5 other contractors. Especially, you would need to check the main differences in their contract in terms of costs related and maintenance terms.
Making the panels clean and dry is the decisive factor in extending their lifespan. Frequently removing dust, dirt and checking any visible damage or cracks are crucial for you not to spend any decent amount.
Between drop ceiling and drywall, the former costs a little lower in terms of maintenance. Any plumbing leak can easily be accessed and replaced if you installed a drop ceiling. In contrast, a simple leak often results in damage to the drywall completely. The main reason is the drywall project consists of plenty of steps relating to each other.
We hope a comprehensive study about drywall vs drop ceiling cost gives you more approaching ways to calculate the installation fee and compare two of them.
To stick with the perfect selection, in our opinion, it highly depends if it is a new installation or remodeling project. If it was a remodeling project, the total expense would be the most concerning factor.