Content quote: Installing drywall is one of the easier DIY construction jobs

Drywall Tools and Materials You Need to Make Your Walls


No doubt about it – building your own walls is one of the more satisfying DIY renovation jobs you can do. Our guys certainly enjoy it and I bet you’ll enjoy that same feeling of transforming a space from the 2X4 framing to actual rooms; solid structure that makes the space look more like a home.

Content quote: Installing drywall is one of the easier DIY construction jobs

Installing drywall is one of the easier DIY construction jobs to do well, thanks to the few tools needed and the ability to cover up mistakes with more mud and more sanding. You may not want to take on a multi-room renovation yourself, but doing single room or drywalling a wall or two, if you had to repair a leaking roof, shouldn’t be too time-intrusive or difficult to do yourself.


Tools for Drywall Installation

With a few hand tools and some determination, you can get that board and mud on your walls with a smooth even finish. Here are the necessities with a few nice-to-haves for those of you that want to go that extra mile:

  • Drill – ideally cordless and even more ideally a drywall screw gun which sets the screws in at the perfect depth (available for rent at most equipment rental stores)
  • Hammer – you’ll use this to nail on metal corner bead and can come in handy for any stage of a reno
  • Tape measure – you’ll use this to measure the space to determine how much board you’ll need and to measure board and corner bead that needs to be cut to size
  • T-square – used to make a squared straight cut on the board
  • Utility knife – to cut the board
  • Pencil – to mark the board and studs as you’re installing drywall
  • Drywall/taping knife – widths range from 4” up to 12” and 3-5 different widths could be used on a professional job, but you can achieve a good result with a 6” and a 12”
  • Drywall hawk or pan – to hold mud while you’re applying
  • Tin snips – to cut corner bead
  • Drywall saw or rotary saw – you’ll use one of these to cut out electrical boxes and light sockets
  • Hand sander and / or pole sander with appropriate sanding sheets – to smooth out the dried mud

When we’re out at a job we use a variety of other tools and equipment that take some experience to operate successfully or help us get our work done quicker. If you’re not planning to make drywalling a regular activity then these basic tools will get the job done well and not have you investing hundreds of dollars on tools you’ll rarely use.


Materials Needed for Drywall Installation

You’re likely pretty aware of the basic materials like the board and mud but there are a few more little things that you’ll need to properly complete your drywalling project. Here’s a complete list and a few details about what types of materials are available.

Drywall board

Also know as sheetrock, boards are commonly found in lengths of 8’, 10’ and 12’ and different thicknesses for various uses:

  • What you’ll likely use the most of – ½” thick standard board used on interior walls and ceilings
  • What you’ll use for bathrooms and possibly some areas of your kitchen – ½” or 5/8” thick Moisture and Mold Resistant board (also known as green board drywall)
  • What you’ll use as a backing around showers and tubs – ½” moisture-resistant board if you’ll be installing a tub surround;  Schluter® KERDI -BOARD or DensShield® (not really a drywall) if you’ll be installing tile
  • What you’ll use for a fire rated wall (between house and garage, between units/apartments or for added sound barrier) – 5/8” thick Firecode board

This list doesn’t cover all types of board, but gives you the main type of board you’ll need to know about for installing drywall. You’ll do best with just the 4 x 8-foot size for ease of use for its size and weight (1/2” thick board weighs 50 pounds).

Drywall Screws

While you may read and hear of drywall being nailed to the wall, don’t do it. It won’t take long for those nails to pop and ceilings to sag. We’re living in the 21st century where technology has provided us with the superior securing power of screws. We recommend 1 ¼” length.

Drywall Tape

To make your smooth, even wall, you’ll need to join the board with joint tape – either paper tape that needs to be applied with compound or a self-adhesive fiber tape. The self-adhesive joint tape will be much easier to apply and doesn’t need to be ‘worked’ with a trowel to smooth out.

Joint Compound

More casually known as drywall mud, joint compound is what you’ll need to build up your wall between the boards. It’s made from limestone, polymers, emulsifiers and water. You can get a pre-mixed pail or a box of powder that you’ll have to mix with water when you’re ready to apply.

Corner Bead

vinyl corner bead comparison of bullnose and right-angle

You have a few different choices for corner bead. Metal and vinyl options are available with rounded and right angle corner styles. We regularly use bullnose vinyl bead that is best installed with a spray adhesive. Metal bead is nailed on.


How to Install Drywall

If you’ve done any amount of reading online or talking with others about drywalling, you’ve likely gotten a few different methods and techniques about installing drywall. Just like many other jobs, there’s more than one way to do it. Our goal with this article is to provide you with information about the tools and materials you’ll need, but we also checked out a few videos to give you a bit of instruction on how to get your walls done.


The following video focusses on how to hang drywall by yourself, but you can also click on over to YouTube to see other helpful tips that will give you the knowledge to get your renovation done right. Lots of great ideas in this one to get the board on the ceiling when you’re working solo and how to cut out electrical boxes.

With just a few tools, material and some helpful instruction you can feel confident completing your renovation yourself. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or give us a call or email. Thanks for visiting!


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