Do You Need A Permit To Replace Drywall?

If you’re making improvements to your home, permits are probably on your mind. After all, failure to get a permit can lead to substantial fines you’d probably like to avoid.

So, do you need a permit to replace drywall?

Luckily, you do not need a permit if you are replacing only the drywall panels. You only need a permit if you’re making structural changes to the walls.

And even then, required permits will vary by location.

How To Find Out If You Need A Permit


Here’s some good news: if you need to replace a damaged piece of drywall, you can do so without obtaining a permit.

If you need to add or remove a wall, the law isn’t clear-cut.

The federal and state levels do not regulate building codes. Instead, they are created and mandated by individual cities or counties. 

The only way to know whether or not you need a permit is to call your city or county permit and zoning office. They’ll be able to get you up to date with the latest regulations and give you a permit application if necessary.

You can find the contact info for your local permit and zoning office by doing a quick Google search.

Average Cost Of A Permit

According to Home Advisor , the national average for a building permit is $1,275. But, of course, this number can vary wildly depending on where you live.

The average permit fees for “construction,” which includes adding or removing a wall, costs $150 to $2,000. The average permit cost for a garage conversion is $1,200 – $1,500.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Permit?

While the times will vary by city and project, it usually takes a few days to two weeks to receive a building permit for a residential property. Call your local permit office to see the average wait times if you’re worried about your building timeline.

What Could Happen If You Don’t Get A Required Permit

If your municipality requires permits for the work you want to do, it’s essential you get one. Here’s why:

Insurance may not cover non-permitted work. If something happens, like a fire or water damage, to an unpermitted space in your home, your insurance probably won’t cover it. Furthermore, if your homeowner’s insurance company finds out you did work without a permit, they’ll most likely cancel your policy.

Insurance may not cover liability for subcontractors. For example, if you’re paying someone to carry out work on a project you didn’t get permitted, and they get hurt, your insurance might not pay the claim. In this case, you’ll be entirely on the hook for liability.

The city can fine you. If the city finds out you are doing work without a permit, they can pause the work and charge you fines. The fines will depend upon local laws and the scope of the work.

Selling your home might be tricky. Are you planning on selling your home in the future? If your answer is yes, get the permit. Buyers will be less keen to purchase a home with unpermitted features. 

Plus, if you’ve turned a garage into a bedroom, for example, it won’t count as a legal bedroom when putting your house on the market, therefore lowering the value of your home.

Should You Hire A Professional Drywall Company?

If you aren’t confident in your ability to drywall or need to go through the permitting process, hiring a professional drywall company is never a bad idea.

If there’s a permit required for your project, a professional drywall company can fill out the applications for you or at least guide you through the process.

Before hiring a company to work with, get a couple of estimates and pay close attention to past customer reviews.


If you are replacing damaged drywall paneling, you don’t need to obtain a permit. You can replace all damaged drywall in your home if you aren’t adding or removing structural walls.

If you plan to remodel, add or remove walls, or convert your garage into living space, check with your local permitting office for current regulations. If you need a permit, they’ll be able to supply you with an application.