Sheetrock Installation: DIY vs Hiring a Contractor

Undertaking a sheetrock installation job yourself as opposed to hiring a professional contractor has its upsides and downsides. On the one hand, if you've got next to no experience with the work, you'll pick up a valuable skill. On the other, the job–with all of the labor–will be entirely yours. Ask a sheetrocker, and they'll likely tell you it's backbreaking work. Still, it's not like you're making a career out of it, and if you're of the DIY mentality it's a handy skill to have under your belt. When comparing doing it yourself vs. hiring a contractor, consider cost, labor and know-how. The size of the project might also influence your decision. 

Cost

When performing the sheetrock installation yourself, the cost will be considerably less than if you were to hire a contractor. If you decide to enlist a professional to do the work, you will receive an estimate that takes several factors into consideration. The contractor adds the estimated cost of materials to that of manpower. On top of that, they will add a markup which is essentially their profit. Of course, this is just an estimate. It is possible that the job takes longer than expected or that additional materials are needed.

Doing the work yourself will immediately cut labor costs and markup out of the equation. You'll still have to pay for the materials, but that's a far cry from what a contractor will charge. You may, however, have to purchase some tools you don't have lying around the house. This will raise costs, but you'll be able to use the tools again and again, so look at it as an investment.

Cost advantage: DIY

Labor

Hire a contractor, and the only work you'll have to do is sign the check after the job is complete. Contractors bear the entire burden of labor. This represents a big portion of their bid, though. Much of what you pay is due to labor costs. If you opt to do it yourself, you'll be responsible for the work. Sheetrock installation can be taxing, especially for whole-house jobs or ceiling work. Sheetrock finishing is another time-consuming aspect that might not be worth a whole weekend or two. Then again, by doing it yourself, you learn the ins and outs of the work. There is something rewarding about knowing firsthand how to complete a specialized job. Considering only the labor aspect, though, it's far easier to hire a contractor.

Labor advantage: Contractor

Know-How

Having the know-how to install sheetrock is a big part of the job. A sheetrocking contractor brings a measure of expertise that an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer just doesn't have. Hanging sheetrock involves more than taking the sheets to the walls and ceiling. Little tricks are handy when making cutouts for fixtures, joining edges and especially when finishing. Experience counts for a lot. With all of the DIY information out there, however, it's entirely possible for anyone to learn the basics and avoid calling a contractor. The advantage here must go to the contractor, for there is no substitute for years of experience and know-how.

Before you make a decision, determine how big the job is going to be. For a single wall or room, consider doing the work yourself. The small scale of the job will help make the new skills easier to absorb. For a whole-house or other large-scale project, you might be better off hiring a professional.