The material prices of drywall will differ from place to place, as well as with time, but it is handy to have a general idea of the basic prices; and how to work out how much materials you will need for your project.
How Much You Will Need
Generally, 4 by 8 foot sizes are used in residential applications as they are easier for home handymen to carry and work with than the larger sizes.
Measure the wall height from floor to ceiling, the measure the length of each wall that you plan to drywall. Add the length figures together to get the total horizontal distance. For the ceiling, it is usually easiest to measure the floor under it. Add all the widths of excluded sections into one total and the heights of these excluded sections into another.
While working out your costs, you will need to remember the small costs as well as the large, as they can really add up. Costs include, drywall boards, installing (if you are not installing them yourself), fasteners, joint compound and corner beads.
General Pricing on Materials
As a general idea, here are some prices as of early 2010
8 foot drywood panel 4 foot by x 1/4 inch = $10.48
8 foot drywood panel 4 foot by 5/8 inch = $11.83
All purpose joint compound 5 gal bucket = $10.65
1 1/4 inch drywall screws 5 Lbs = $16.08
You will probably have an average total material cost of $.40 per square foot. If you are getting an installer to hang the sheets, you will probably have a labor cost of between $25 and $50 per sheet to hang, including finishing. Labor and materials if you are not hanging the sheets yourself will cost a bit over $1.00 per square foot, maybe a little more for small jobs. Any non-standard project pieces such as arches, vaulted ceilings and high elevations will cost more whether you do it yourself, or get an installer to do the job.
There will be another cost for lifts or other rental equipment if you have high ceilings.
Cutting Your Costs
If you work out all your material needs ahead of ordering, it will be more cost efficient to buy all the materials from the same supplier, even if they are a little more expensive on some things, and have all the materials delivered at once. You may be able to do a deal with the supplier for free delivery if your order is big enough. This will save you time because you will not be spending time looking around and ordering from different suppliers.
Wall board prices are often reflective of the housing industry in general, so if there is a housing slump, you might consider doing your drywalling projects ahead of the time you originally planned as the board prices will be low.
If you have a time constraint, it can be cheaper to have an installer hang the sheets as they have the experience and will be quicker, while you do the finishing yourself in your own time.