Introduction: How to Hang Drywall Ceilings by Yourself

About: We love home improvement and enjoy sharing tips on YouTube and Home Repair Tutor. Everything we do is self taught. Over the last 12 years we've bought and rehabbed several rental homes in Pittsburgh. Sometim…

Have you struggled hanging drywall ceilings by yourself?

It can be a real chore and painful.

But there are some tricks and tips that make it a WHOLE LOT EASIER.

Today you’ll learn how hang drywall ceilings by yourself and without killing your back.

Furthermore you’ll see how to perfectly cut around a bathroom fan.

This tutorial was done in a small bathroom but you can copy a lot of the tips for other parts of your home.

Here are the supplies you need

  • Impact Driver
  • Magnet Driver Bit
  • Drywall Dimple Bit
  • Drywall Screws (Course Threaded for Wood Studs)
  • RotoSaw Plus Dust Vault
  • Respirator
  • Utility Knife
  • Drywall T-Square
  • Chalk Line
  • Three Inch Wood or Deck Screws
  • Pencil
  • Drywall
  • Scrap 2×4

In this tutorial I drywalled over the existing plaster ceiling. If you're in a similar predicament my tips will help.

What are the first steps to hanging drywall ceilings?

Step 1: Find the Joists

If you want to hang new drywall over an old ceiling, you first need to find the joists.

Mark the joist position on the wall or framing.
One more thing, this mark should indicate the center of the joist because two drywall pieces get screwed into one joist to create a drywall seam.

Step 2: Measure the Ceiling Length & Width

Measure the length and width of the ceiling.

The bathroom I’m working in is wonky as all heck.
No wall is square and the width was a few inches more than 48 inches. Meaning I couldn’t just add one piece of drywall across the span.

SOOOO…instead I had to cut drywall to accommodate this issue.

Here are some tips for cutting drywall for small spaces

  1. Position tapered edges against other tapered edges
  2. Subtract 1/4″ from a drywall piece if it spans the entire room width
  3. Take multiple measurements

Tip 1 helps with the finishing.

Tip 2 helps with fitting the drywall against the joists.

For example, the width of this bathroom was 52 3/4″ wide. Therefore, I subtracted 1/4″ to get 52 1/2″.

Tip 3 helps you cut drywall to the right size. For example, the length of drywall I needed was 45 5/8 inches. But at the length of 45 5/8″ the width was 52 5/8″ which was wider than the initial 52 3/4″ measurement.

Had I assumed the width was 52 3/4″ (minus the 1/4″) I would have struggled to make the drywall fit the ceiling.

This is easier to follow along with in the video but I digress. Measure multiple times!!

Step 3: Cut the Drywall

Cut your drywall to size with a sharp utility knife and drywall T-Square.

Stand the drywall up on edge, hit the back with your knee and score it with the utility knife.

Step 4: Label Drywall

Label the drywall edge as ‘Door’ for the door side.

And the drywall edge as ‘Window’ for the window side.

If you’re mechanically challenged, like me, this helps keep the correct drywall orientation when you hoist it above your head.

Step 5: Pre-Drill Screws

Plus, I transposed the joist location onto the drywall and pre-drilled drywall screws.

In addition, use coarse threaded drywall screws if your framing is wood.

n my lovely bathroom we have 1/4″ lath, 1/4″ plaster and are using 1/2″ drywall.

As such, I opted to use 2″ coarse threaded drywall screws so that at least 1″ of screw went into the joist

Step 6: Use a Dimple Bit

When embedding drywall screws into drywall use a dimple bit in your magnetic bit holder.

This embeds the drywall screws such that they are slightly depressed in the paper.

And ultimately makes your mudding process easier.

Once your drywall is cut it’s ready to be hung on the joists.

But how do you this with killing your back?

Step 7: Add Support to the Wall

Often times I hang drywall by myself. And I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Therefore, I try to use my brain to lessen the pain involved with drywall work.

If you have to hang drywall ceilings by yourself, attach a scrap piece of 2×4 to the wall.

It should be about 3/4″ from the bottom of the joist.

Step 8: Hoist Drywall to Joist

That way you can hoist the drywall over your head, rest it on the 2×4 and secure the drywall to the joists.

Step 9: Secure Drywall to Joists

You can snap a chalk-line across the drywall to give yourself a reference for where to drill the screws.

Remember those joist marks you made on the wall…yep, they come in handy at this point.

Screws should be placed every 10-12 inches along a joist and about 3/4 of an each from edge.

Step 10: Get Center Location for Fan or Lights

Get the center location for bathroom fans or recessed lights.

I place this dimension on the framing or wall.

My video walks you through this a bit more.

You want the center dimension is because you can use a RotoZip to cut out a perfect square or circle.

Let me explain this a bit further.

Step 11: Cut Out Drywall for Fan & Lights

There’s a recurring theme here on Home Repair Tutor.

And that is this: sometimes the tools make all the difference.

For example, if you want to cut a perfect hole in drywall the RotoZip can be a huge help.

It’s easier to cut drywall with the RotoZip if you run it counterclockwise.

In this case I wanted to make sure I was in the fan housing and cut out a little piece.

Step 12: Watch the Step-by-Step Video

Hopefully you liked the tips in today's tutorial.

You can save a lot of time (and money) by following the steps in the video.

Thanks as always for reading and watching.

Our DIY community is awesome because of you.

Muchos gracias for adding your ideas to the comments.

Make it a great day,