How Do I Become a Drywall Installer?

B. Turner

A drywall installer is a type of construction tradesman who hangs and finishes drywall in houses and other buildings. These individuals frame walls to support the drywall out of wall or metal, then fasten the sheets of drywall in place with nails or screws. They then finish the drywall to give it the desired appearance. Some drywall installers are also responsible for hanging doors, applying plaster, or hanging suspended ceilings. If you're looking to become a drywall installer, you can choose from both formal training programs and on-the-job experience to help you find success in this field.

A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a wall.
A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a wall.

Many trade schools and community colleges offer basic training programs to help people become a drywall installer. Applicants can also seek training and apprenticeship programs and local unions or trade organizations. Unions and similar groups often provide a combination of classroom and work experience to train a highly skilled drywall installer. Others simply start working in the construction industry and work their way up to this position over a period of months or years.

Drywall is available in many sizes.
Drywall is available in many sizes.

No matter which path you take to become a drywall installer, you will likely start as a helper or assistant to more experienced tradesmen. This involves carrying materials, which can be heavy and intense work. It also includes cutting drywall or hanging it, as well as cleaning the job site and collecting waste materials. As your skills improve, you may also be asked to tape and mud the walls to conceal the joints between each board.

Drywall finishing is a more specialized task, and is often left to the most experienced and skilled installers. It involves using drywall mud and sandpaper to smooth out the walls and cover nails and screws, as well as seams. This process seems simple, but actually requires a great deal of practice to complete successfully.

A drywall installer can find work with general contractors and home builders. He may also find positions with a drywall or carpentry company. Some individuals work with a drywall company during the day, then moonlight on the weekends doing work for friends and neighbors to make extra money. Eventually, some people may use this technique to become drywall installers for their own company.

Applicants should be aware that drywall installers face many challenges in the workplace. Like all tradesmen, they are subject to danger from construction equipment and machinery. They may work in buildings that are not equipped with heating or air conditioning, and may even have to handle exposure to rain and other elements. The demands of this job often lead to high employee turnover for drywall companies, though this means that positions are readily available for those looking to become a drywall installer.

A drywall installer should know how to use a trowel to create a smooth finish.
A drywall installer should know how to use a trowel to create a smooth finish.

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