How Much Does it Cost to Tape and Mud Drywall?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

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Drywall taping is a process done after the drywall is hung.  After the drywall is taped, it is mudded and then sanded down until it is ready to be primed and painted.  Even for those who know how to hang drywall, many opt to leave the taping and mudding to a professional since the job requires a great amount of skill.

The cost will vary depending on your location, the size of the job, ceiling heights, the complexity of the room and the contractor performing the job.

B&B / Apartment bedroom by shister, on Flickr
B&B / Apartment bedroom” (CC BY 2.0) by shister

How much does it cost to tape and mud drywall?

The job itself is going to vary depending on the finish and texture you are looking for. On average, expect to pay a professional anywhere from $0.35 to $0.80 per square foot to tape, mud and sand the drywall to prep it to be painted.  This price will not include the paint or primer.  For instance, a 500 square foot room can cost anywhere from $175 to $400 to tape and finish the drywall process.

For those who want to tape the drywall themselves, plan on paying around $0.10 to $0.32 per square foot to complete the job.  A pack of drywall tape can cost anywhere from $4 to $10.  For example, the 3M 385 Scotch Drywall Fiberglass Tape retails for $10 to $13.

According to the website Fixr.com, expect to pay around $4 for every 150 feet of drywall that needs to be taped.

Baumer Drywall LLC, a contractor located in Minnesota, charges $0.49 per square foot with a 1,000 square foot minimum or $0.99 per square foot for a room smaller than 500 square feet.

Forum members on DSLReports.com said you expect to pay about $.0.20 to $0.50 to have a professional to mud and tape.

Taping and mudding drywall overview

Before the job, a professional will go through and make the appropriate measurements to give you an estimate.  Most contractors, before they commit to a job, will have a requirement.  If you don’t meet this requirement, they may not accept the job or they may charge you a higher rate.

When the job starts, a contractor will remove any loose material in the drywall seams and butt joints.  Any voids or gaps found, usually larger than one-sixteenth of an inch will be filled with a joint compound.  During this time, any screws will be re-set that are above the drywall’s surface.

Next, using a drywall sheet tape, all seams, joints, butt joints and interior angles will be taped, usually where the edges meet.  Once the taping is complete, three to four coats of mud, sometimes referred to as a taping compound, coats will be applied to all corner beads, tape and screw heads.  Lastly, the surface area will be sanded to a smooth finish so it can be painted.  A good contractor will sweep and vacuum after they are done.

What are the extra costs?

Taping, sanding and mudding is just part of the drywall process.  The prices mentioned above won’t include installing the drywall or painting it after the contractor is done.

Some contractors will charge to cover items around the house such as couches, toilets and other big items.  If so, it’s best to budget $5 per item.

Commercial brand drywall tape is going to cost 30% to 50% more than standard residential drywall tape.

Complex layouts such as vaulted ceilings and corners can increase the price.  Vaulted ceilings, for instance, will require scaffolding.

Most professionals will charge for supplies separately.

Texturing drywall can be an additional $1 per square foot.

How to tape drywall

How can I save money?

Taping may seem like a simple job, but it can get rather complex.  If you are doing it yourself and have no past experience, you may not have the skill it takes to make the tape disappear.  It may just be easier to pay the extra cost of hiring someone.

If you’re going to hire a contractor, consider getting multiple mudding quotes for free from HomeAdvisor.com.

Contractors often bring the price per square foot down as the room gets bigger.  For instance, a 500 square foot room may cost $1 to tape, mud and sand, while 1,000 or more square feet could be half of this.

People say if the prices are less than $0.30 per square feet, then you may want to dig deeper and see if it’s worth it. Before hiring anyone, make sure they are licensed and insured and also see prior pictures of their work.


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