Pros and Cons of Hanging Drywall Vertically

The question of whether to hang drywall horizontally or vertically arouses much controversy, especially among DIYers. Some builders hang drywall horizontally while others prefer the vertical approach, which is okay depending on various factors. 

Therefore, should you go horizontal or vertical? What are the pros and cons of hanging drywall vertically, and when should you do so?

Let’s find out.

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Pros and Cons of Hanging Drywall Vertically

Drywall graces you with safety and convenience, making it an ideal choice, especially for commercial spaces. Its superior qualities, including more density, fire resistance, and high versatility, make most builders prefer drywall to its counterparts, such as plywood. It is, therefore, safe to say that drywall steals the show in the construction industry today, thanks to all these aspects.

Simply settling on using drywall for your space is just the tip of the iceberg. How you hang your drywall is the primary determinant of whether or not you’ll enjoy the convenience it brings and how long it will last.

Durability is the ultimate goal, and although both the horizontal and vertical approaches can do the job, each has its downside. Below are some pros and cons of vertically hanging drywall.


It is safer

Vertical drywall enhances safety in case of fire and environmental hazards such as earthquakes. You could term vertically run drywall panels as standalone because, in case of a fire, each panel will fall individually rather than piling on top of each other as in horizontal drywall, thereby minimizing the risk.

Additionally, drywall is designed to withstand high temperatures for at least an hour. Therefore, the individuality of vertical drywall panels can potentially slow down the spread of a fire, making it more manageable.

It guarantees efficient inspection

Property inspection is critical, especially in the case of commercial property. By installing your drywall vertically, you will give the inspectors an easy time as they can conveniently detach any of the panels individually without distorting the rest. The ease of pointing out potential hazards reinforces your space’s safety.

Suitable for walls that are taller than wide

Very tall walls that exceed nine feet are better off with vertical drywall panels. For instance, if you’re using a panel eight feet high and four feet wide, you’ll cover most of the wall’s height in no time. If you install the same size panel horizontally, you’ll spend more time installing individual panels to cover the entire height of the wall.

It offers easy replacement

Although durable, drywall is bound to break at some point, and repairing it could be costly, especially if you have to remove the entire wall. Luckily, with vertical drywall, you can easily detach, fix and re-attach the defective panel without tampering with the rest of the wall.

Ideal for commercial spaces

Commercial buildings are characterized by very high walls, making drywall installation more tedious. Using the horizontal approach in such cases could be even more tiresome. Such spaces are also more likely to house potential hazards and are better of with vertical drywall. Moreover, installing drywall vertically in such buildings will save you time.


More likely to crack

Vertical drywall means more seams, which serve as the weakest portion of the wall. As a result, the shrinking of the wall coupled with poor maintenance could result in cracking with time.

Can be tedious

Finishing vertical drywall can be tedious because you have to reach high up the wall and then come back down to achieve a perfect finish. The hustle of moving up and down is even more exhausting if you’re using larger panels. 

How to Hang Drywall

The ease of installing drywall is among the significant benefits of choosing drywall. Therefore, do not fret even if you’re a first-time DIYer because you can effectively install drywall with some guidance. However, note that drywall installation is a two-person job, and you will need assistance.

Drywall panels are heavy, especially if you’re using larger sheets. The process is usually more challenging when hanging drywall on the ceiling, which should come first. That said, follow these steps to effectively hang drywall on the ceiling before proceeding to the walls:

Prep the surface

  • Ensure you remove any nails or screws protruding from the surface before introducing the new drywall. Well-finished drywall is free from bumps that can eventually result in cracking.
  • Seal any cracks on the wall or ceiling, preferably using triple-expanding foam. You can also tape any tears on the paper backing for best results. 
  • More importantly, ensure you check for moisture damage when dealing with wooden joists and perform the necessary repairs.

Mark the location of the studs

  • Identify where the joists meet the wall and mark this point for each stud. The location of the studs will enable you to accurately measure and cut the sheets at appropriate lengths before hanging them.
  • Subsequently, mark these points using a pencil or marker. This makes your work easier while screwing the drywall because you will know where to drive the screws without tampering with the sheets.

Measure the drywall and break it accordingly

  • Using a tape measure, determine the distance from one corner of the ceiling to the point where one panel will reach, depending on the size of your panel. The edge of the drywall sheet away from the ceiling’s corner should land in the middle of a joist so that you can screw it at this point. If not, you’ll have to cut the panel accordingly.
  • Determine the distance from the ceiling’s corner to the center of the last joist the panel will cover, then transfer this measurement to your drywall panel and mark it.
  • Place a T-square on the mark, cut through using a utility knife, break the drywall as per the measurement, and then discard the drywall sheet’s waste portion. Be sure to cut the panel away from the factory end for uniformity. 
  • Smoothen the cut edge of the sheet using a rasp. You should be left with a drywall sheet which, when placed at the corner of the ceiling, will end up at the center of a joist.

Install the drywall panels onto the ceiling

  • Lift the drywall panel and place the factory end onto the corner of the ceiling. You will need assistance lifting the sheet and holding it in place as you screw it. 
  • Follow up by screwing the panel into the joist at least five times at an equidistance to effectively hold the drywall sheet in place. Try not to drive the screws too deep and ensure the screwheads lie just below the panels’ surfaces.
  • Repeat the same steps for subsequent panels until you cover the entire ceiling. More importantly, ensure you place the first panel’s cut edge at the corner of the ceiling, leaving the factory end on the opposite side to reinforce a perfect finish. The panel’s edges should also run perpendicular to the joists for ultimate results.

Mark and cut out the panel to accommodate any lights or vents

  • If your ceiling features vents or canned lights, you must cut out holes on some sheets to avoid distorting the light or vents. Before doing so, you should start by performing the necessary measurements.
  • First, mark the distance from the center of the vent or light to the edge of the preceding drywall sheet.
  • Follow up by installing the successive drywall sheets the same way you did the others, but insert the screws at least twenty-four inches away from the electrical box this time. 
  • With a Rotozip, make a hole through the panel at the center point of the electrical box, as per the distance you measured earlier.
  • Similarly, make another hole outside the electrical box and rotate your Rotozip clockwise around the electrical box to cut out the portion of the panel covering the box.
  • Finish up by screwing in the panel to ensure it attaches firmly.

Hang the drywall panels on the wall

  • You may cover the walls once you finish the ceiling to achieve a perfect finish. Start by marking the location of the studs to ease the process.
  • Cut out the panels such that each ends at the center of a stud for easy screwing.
  • Screw the panel at each stud mark and repeat the steps for subsequent drywall panels.

Can You Tile Over Drywall?

Yes, you can tile over drywall in rooms that are not constantly exposed to moisture. You can barely go wrong with drywall, thanks to the many options it presents. All you need to do is take your time dealing with drywall and ensure you prep it adequately before tiling.

The only drawback that comes with tiling over drywall is excessive moisture. Proper adherence is key to long-lasting tiles; you can’t achieve this when moisture seeps underneath the tiles. The tiles’ adherence will be more compromised if what lies underneath them is drywall. Therefore, you don’t want to tile over drywall in the laundry room, bathroom, sauna, or kitchen sink. Otherwise, it is safe to tile over drywall.

Poor surface prepping is a significant factor that can compromise the tiles’ longevity. That said, you will have to effectively prepare the drywall before introducing tiles for ultimate results. This entails thoroughly cleaning your drywall using soap and water to remove all the dirt that could compromise the tile’s adherence.

Additionally, consider sealing the seams before introducing the tiles. Prepping the surface will require more effort if the drywall isn’t painted. In addition to ensuring that you seal all seams, you will have to sand the drywall and make it flat for uniformity of the tiles. It’s also advisable to prime the wall before tiling for best results.

Should drywall be installed vertically or horizontally?

The right way to hang drywall depends on specific factors, and your chosen approach should suit your space. Your chosen approach should depend on factors such as time, resources available, and the size of your walls. 

The ideal approach depends on whether you’re dealing with a commercial or residential building. Here is a breakdown of how the structure in question determines the suitable method:

Commercial buildings

Vertically run drywall is the way to go if you’re considering installing drywall in a commercial space such as a warehouse. The significant perks that come with vertical drywall installation in commercial buildings include:

  • Enhanced safety

Commercial buildings are so large, and the occurrence of a fire emergency, for instance, could result in heavy losses and significant injuries. Vertical sheets have the potential to minimize injury by falling away from each other instead of piling up and eventually causing more damage.

  • Easy inspection

Commercial spaces are subject to regular inspection; this is where vertical drywall comes into play. Removing a vertical drywall panel without hindering the other sheets makes inspection easier. In this way, the safety of the building is enhanced in the long run.

  • Fast and easy installation

One vertical drywall panel covers more height than width, making it easier to cover the tall walls that characterize commercial buildings. If you choose to go horizontal in such cases, brace yourself for a tedious installation process as you will need more panels to exhaust the walls’ height.

Residential buildings

Residential buildings often barely exceed nine feet are better of with horizontal drywall thanks to the following reasons:

  • Less sagging

Horizontal installation minimizes each panel’s weight, which reduces the likelihood of sagging, unlike vertically run drywall. This eventually enhances the longevity of your drywall.

  • It increases the value of drywall

Residential walls are often wider than tall, and horizontal drywall will enable you to utilize the sheets adequately without cutting them out. If you install drywall vertically on a standard size wall, you will have to cut the panels accordingly and discard the rest, reducing the value of the drywall.

  • Requires less skill

Your residential wall is probably less than nine feet tall, and if you were to install the sheets vertically, you would have to skillfully cut out the panels for them to fit. However, opting for the horizontal approach will make your work easier as the panels will fit perfectly without cutting them.

Effectively conceals electrical wires

Horizontally hung drywall sufficiently covers any electrical wires without posing the risk of damaging the cables. This enhances aesthetics and reinforces the safety of residents simultaneously.

How to put up drywall on walls

Putting up drywall on the walls usually comes after you’ve installed the drywall on the ceiling. Hanging drywall on the ceiling is usually more tedious, and if you’ve succeeded in doing so, installing it on the walls should be a walkover. The procedure is almost similar to hanging drywall on the ceiling and is less exhausting.

Here is a breakdown of the process:

  1. Start by ensuring the walls are free from imperfections and make repairs where necessary.
  2. Mark where the studs are located using a marker before you begin the installation. This will enable you to screw more accurately and achieve a perfect finish.
  3. With the length of your panel in mind, measure an equivalent distance from the edge of the wall to determine where the panel’s edge will reach. It should be in the middle of a stud for effective screwing. Otherwise, trim the panel accordingly using a utility knife to make it end at the center of a stud.
  4. Put up the panel and let an assistant hold it for you while you screw it into the stud. Consider driving at least five screws, starting from the inner side of the panel while moving towards the outer part.
  5. Repeat the steps for subsequent panels, ensuring the seams don’t end up at the edges of doors and windows.
  6. If you have switches on the walls, measure the distance from the center of the outlet box to the edge of the last panel you installed and mark it. You can then go ahead and mount the next drywall, then cut out the portion of the drywall that covers the box using a Rotozip and screw in the panel.
  7. You can finish by cutting out the excess portion of the panels that cover the doors and windows, then screw in the drywall sheets to the frames of these access points.

Once you finish installing the panels, check for any loose screws and sufficiently tighten them to ensure the drywall stays intact. Additionally, clean your work area and remove any nails or particles to avoid injuries.

Video showing how to hang drywall

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

What is the best way to hang drywall on ceiling?

It is advisable to hang drywall perpendicular to the joists on the ceiling. This way, you can quickly locate the joists while screwing in the panels to ensure they attach firmly. This will minimize any chances of sagging, extending the durability of the drywall. 

More importantly, this approach guarantees more structural strength than hanging the drywall parallel to the joists. Perpendicular panels also tend to conceal imperfect joists, which is a bonus.

How far should drywall be off the ceiling?

It would be best if you hung drywall at least 0.37 inches away from the ceiling to allow room for expansion and contraction resulting from temperature changes. This could help extend the wall’s durability by minimizing the occurrence of cracks. The screws or nails should also go through this space.

Do you hang sheetrock vertically or horizontally?

You can hang sheetrock vertically or horizontally, depending on the building type. Vertical drywall installation is the way to go if you’re dealing with commercial buildings with tall walls. However, if you’re looking to install drywall in your residential space, you’d instead go horizontal for convenience.

Should drywall touch the floor?

Drywall should not touch the floor as this could significantly compromise its integrity. Touching the floor exposes drywall to moisture, resulting in mold growth and pests which eventually damage the wall. Therefore, you should always consider leaving a gap of at least half an inch between drywall and the floor. This will prevent exposure to moisture while allowing room for expansion.

Should you put drywall on ceiling or wall first?

It is advisable to always hang the ceiling first before proceeding to the walls when installing drywall. Hanging drywall on the ceiling is the most hectic part and requires more manpower. Starting with the walls exposes the drywall to damage, cracks, and unevenness as you hang the drywall on the ceiling. Always start with the ceiling so that the walls offer additional support for the best results.

Is it okay to hang drywall vertically?

Yes, it’s okay to hang drywall vertically if you’re dealing with commercial buildings. These structures have very tall walls, and going horizontal would only mean more panels, seams, and work.

As much as you can install drywall vertically in residential buildings, it is advisable to hang it horizontally in such cases to complete the task faster and achieve more structural strength.


Ultimately, you can either go vertical or horizontal. Even though you can effectively hang the wall despite your chosen approach, each has its downsides and is suited for different circumstances. If you’re still on the fence, consider hanging drywall vertically when dealing with a commercial building and horizontally for residential structures.