What is Drywall? A Guide for Beginners

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In home DIY, “drywall” refers to a type of interior wall covering.

It’s also known as plasterboard or gypsum board.

Drywall is made of a layer of gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of paper. It’s commonly used to create walls and ceilings in homes. People use drywall because it’s easy to work with and provides a smooth surface for painting or wallpapering.

When you hear about someone “putting up drywall,” it means they are installing these gypsum board panels to create or renovate walls in a building.

Once the drywall is installed, the next steps typically involve taping and finishing. This includes applying joint compound, also known as mud, over the seams and screws to create a seamless surface. After drying, the surface is sanded to achieve a smooth finish.

Drywall is popular in DIY projects because it is relatively affordable, lightweight, and allows for quick and efficient construction. It provides a solid and uniform surface that can be easily decorated or painted to suit the interior of a home.

It’s worth noting that while drywall is a common and practical choice, there are other wall materials like plaster or wood panelling that people might use based on their preferences and the specific requirements of the project. Each material has its characteristics and advantages, and the choice often depends on factors such as cost, ease of installation, and desired aesthetics.

How to Install Drywall

Installing drywall involves several steps. Here’s a simplified guide to help you understand the process:

Materials Needed

  1. Drywall sheets
  2. Screws
  3. Joint tape
  4. Joint compound (mud)
  5. Corner beads (if applicable)
  6. Drywall saw or utility knife
  7. Screw gun or drill
  8. T-square
  9. Joint knife or putty knife
  10. Sandpaper

Installation Steps

Measure and Plan

  • Measure the area where you want to install drywall.
  • Plan the layout, keeping in mind doors, windows, and corners.


  • Use a T-square and a utility knife or drywall saw to cut the drywall sheets to fit the measured spaces.


  • Position the first drywall sheet against the wall or ceiling, ensuring the tapered edges are facing outward.


  • Use a screw gun or drill to attach the drywall to the studs with screws. Space the screws about every 12 inches along the studs.

Securing Corners

  • If you have inside corners, consider using corner beads for a neat finish. Attach them with screws.


  • Apply joint tape over the seams between the drywall sheets. Press it into the wet joint compound using a joint knife.


  • Apply joint compound over the tape and screws, feathering the edges to create a smooth transition. Allow it to dry.


  • Once the joint compound is dry, sand the surface to achieve a smooth finish.


  • Repeat the taping, mudding, and sanding process for additional layers if needed.


  • After the final sanding, your drywall is ready for painting or other finishing touches.

Remember, this is a simplified guide, and actual installation might involve additional considerations based on specific project requirements. If you’re new to drywall installation, it’s advisable to seek guidance from tutorials, videos, or experienced individuals to ensure a successful outcome.