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If you’re getting ready to tackle a drywall job, there are some tools that you can’t go without. And then some speed up the process but aren’t absolutely necessary.
If you’re wondering what to get, here is a complete drywall tools list starting with the must-haves and leading to the nice-to-haves.
Must-Have Drywall Installation Tools List
1. Utility Knife
A good utility knife is one of the most crucial tools for installing drywall. Your utility knife will be the primary tool you use to cut drywall panels to size.
Get a knife with a sturdy handle and replacement blades, as you’ll likely go through several.
2. Drywall T-Square
Drywall T-Squares are essential for making accurate and straight cuts. These tools run 48 inches long, so they perfectly fit onto a piece of drywall to make straight cuts.
There’s no other substitution for a T-square.
3. Cordless Drill
To attach drywall, you have to screw it into the studs. While professionals use a drywall screw gun for this, you can get the job done with a cordless drill and a screw setting dimpler.
Drywall screw setter bits are inexpensive and can work with your cordless drill to ensure you don’t set the screw too far.
4. Drywall Screws
The days of installing drywall with only nails are long gone – now, you need screws. The standard size drywall screw is 1 ⅝ inch.
If you’re installing ½ inch drywall panels, you’ll need 1 ¼ inch screws.
Drywall screws come in two threads: fine and coarse. If you’re drilling into wooden studs, you need coarse threaded screws.
If you’re drilling into metal studs, you need fine threaded screws.
5. Tape Measure
You’ll need a tape measure to take measurements for cuts. Any tape measure will do.
However, if you have tall walls, you’ll want one that measures up to 12 feet.
6. Drywall Knife (Various Sizes)
You need drywall knives to apply mud to your joints after installing panels. You’ll need to apply the first and second coats of joint compound with a 4 or 6-inch drywall knife.
Then, you’ll feather out the final coat of mud with a 12-inch knife.
7. Jab Saw/Drywall Saw
A jab or drywall saw is a specialized tool meant for “jabbing” through drywall. These saws feature a six-inch blade with a pointed tip and jagged teeth.
Jab saws are ideal for cutting around electrical outlets and other obstacles on the wall.
8. Drywall Mud Pan
Drywall mud pans are invaluable when it comes time to finish sheetrock.
These pans hold small batches of drywall mud, allowing you to carry the joint compound around. You need to look for a lightweight pan that won’t be too large or awkward to hold.
9. Sanding Block
A sanding block or drywall sanding sponge comes in handy when you need to touch up spots of mud on the wall. These blocks are abrasive, having a coarse grit on one side and finer grit on the other.
10. Pole Sander with Sanding Sheets
A sanding pole is simply a long pole with a pad you attach sandpaper to. It helps reach high places, and you can use it for sanding your entire drywall job.
While it takes much more time and effort to use a pole sander than a power sander, it’s also much cheaper.
Nice-to-Have Drywall Tools List
11. Drywall Corner Knife
A drywall corner knife has two sides that come to a point in the middle to fit perfectly into drywall corners. While these tools aren’t necessary to apply or finish mud on corners, they make the job easier.
12. Power Drywall Sander
If you’re working on a large job, sanding might be one of your most dreaded tasks – luckily, a power drywall sander can save you on back-breaking work and may even reduce the amount of clean-up you have to do.
There are many types of power sanders on the market, some coming with attached drywall dust clean-up systems.
13. Drywall Lift
A drywall lift is a tool that helps hold drywall panels on the wall while you screw them in place. Having one of these will allow you to complete a drywall job on your own and save you from having to hold heavy panels in place.
14. Drywall Banjo
If you’re using paper tape on your drywall seams, a drywall banjo will pre-mud that tape for you. This tool will help you achieve even consistency throughout your project and save you time.
15. Drywall Screw Gun
Drywall screw guns work like drills but are specifically for installing drywall screws. These tools are what most professionals use to speed up the process.
You can find corded and cordless options. Many drywall screw guns also have optional collated screw attachments.
16. Drywall Flat Box
Drywall flat boxes apply tape and mud to the wall. To use one, you load it with your supplies and run it up and down over your drywall joints.
While these may save you time in the long run, they come with a learning curve.
17. Drywall Skimming Blade
Drywall skimming blades come in handy if you’re looking for a level-5 drywall finish and will be adding a skim coat to your drywall. (This is NOT necessary for most homes.)
However, some contractors also like to swap out their drywall knives for skimming blades when adding a finishing coat of mud.
If you’re preparing for a DIY drywall job, there are essential drywall tools you must have. These tools include a utility knife, tape measure, t-square, drill, drywall knives, screws, and sanders.
There are also tools that can help make your job easier or faster but aren’t necessary.
If you’re working on a small drywall project or if this is your first time doing drywall work, stick with the must-have list. You can see what you struggle with and add to your home improvement toolbox as necessary.
And don’t forget your safety gear – safety goggles and a dust mask are a must when sanding.