Number of Drywall Panels Needed

Drywall Board, Tape, and Nails Calculator

Drywall Calculator
Room Perimeter ft.
Room Height ft.
Number of Screws per Panel
Number of Doors
Number of Windows
   You need:
    drywall panels
    feet of tape
   (includes waste factors and excess)

Drywall panels are made of pressed gypsum and plaster wrapped in thick paper. Other common names for drywall are plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, or sheetrock. (Sheetrock is actually the tradmark name of drywall boards made by the United States Gypsum Corporation.) Builders and remodelers use drywall panels to construct walls by placing the panels over the studs and support beams. The panels are screwed or nailed in place, with adjacent panels joined by tape and joint compound.

The specifications of drywall panels are standardized in the US and Canada. Boards are 4 feet (1.22 meters) wide and either 1/2 or 5/8 inches thick. Wallboard also comes in various lengths to match the standard room heights in the US and Canada. The total number of drywall panels you need to finish a room depends on the perimeter of the room and the number of doors and windows.

To calculate the number of drywall boards, first divide the perimeter of the room by 4 and round up. To account for windows and doors, subtract 3/4 of a panel for every door, and 1/2 of a panel for every window. (Subtract 1.5 panels for each set of double doors, and subract 1 panel for large windows.) Then round up the final answer. Example: Suppose a room's perimeter is 87 feet, and the room has 2 regular doors and 2 large windows. Then the number of panels needed is

87/4 - 0.75(2) - 1(2)
= 22 - 1.5 - 2
= 18.5

So the room needs 19 panels. You should buy an extra panel or two in case one breaks or is defective.

To determine how much tape is needed to bind adjacent panels (before joint compound is applied), multiply the number of panels by the height of the room. Then add in the length of tape used to seal the edges of the drywall around windows and doors.

To figure the number of nails, estimate the average number of nails used per panel, then multiply by the number of panels. For example, if you use about 15 nails or screws per panel and have 19 panels, then you need 285 screws. To be on the safe side, purchase 5% to 10% more.

© Had2Know 2010

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