Expert step-by-step techniques for fastening drywall wallboard to walls and ceilings.

In this article, we look at the process of mounting drywall to framing members. For information on cutting drywall, see How to Cut Drywall.

On ceilings, use drywall screws to fasten drywall panels perpendicular to joists.

Tools and Supplies for Hanging Drywall
Tools and Supplies for Hanging Drywall Dmitry Naumov /


On walls, use drywall nails or screws to attach drywall panels (“Sheetrock®”) to studs and top and bottom plates. Panel joints should be centered against ceiling joists or wall studs and staggered so they don’t align with adjacent joints.

Special drywall lifts make raising and supporting ceiling panels a much easier job.
Special drywall lifts, available through tool rental supplies, make raising and supporting ceiling panels a much easier job. ©Christina Richards /

Using a screw gun or drill driver to attach panels is easiest, particularly for ceilings. Most codes call for spacing fasteners every 8 inches along panel ends, edges, and intermediate supports. Place the fasteners at least 3/8 inch from panel edges.

Use drywall screws to fasten sheets to ceiling joists.
Use drywall screws to fasten sheets to ceiling joists. ©Christina Richards /

Before installing drywall panels, mark wall-stud locations on the floor and ceiling so you can find their locations easily after the panels are in place.

HomeTips Tip: Take photographs of walls before installing drywall so you can easily locate pipes and wires after walls are covered.

If you nail the panels, use a drywall hammer to dimple the drywall surface with the final blow on each nailhead. This creates a small divot that you will subsequently fill with drywall compound.

To attach drywall to a ceiling, position a pair of stepladders or set up sturdy sawhorses and planks to serve as a low scaffold. Then you and a helper can hold each end of a panel in place against the ceiling joists. Start fastening near the center of each panel and then place a few fasteners at the edges until the panel can support its own weight. Continue until each panel is fully fastened.

For walls, begin at a corner. Push the panel tight against the ceiling and fasten to the studs. Install the rest of the upper panels and then the lower ones. Force the lower panels tight against the upper ones before fastening, using a pry bar or a block and flat board as a lever. Make cutouts for receptacle and switch boxes using a power jigsaw.

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