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Become A Drywall Finisher

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Working As A Drywall Finisher

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $101,362

    Average Salary

What Does A Drywall Finisher Do

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting, using tape and other materials. Many workers both install and tape wallboard.

Duties

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, typically do the following:

  • Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
  • Determine the precise locations of electrical outlets, plumbing, and windows
  • Cut drywall or ceiling tiles to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
  • Fasten panels and tiles, using cement adhesive, nails, screws, or clips
  • Patch, trim, and smooth rough spots and edges
  • Apply tape and sealing compound to cover joints between wallboards
  • Add coats of sealing compound to create an even surface
  • Sand all joints and holes to a smooth, seamless finish

Drywall is the most commonly used interior wall covering. The ability to use a wide variety of finishes over properly prepared drywall, as well as low installation costs, drive its popularity. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, drywall dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

To hang and prepare ceilings, workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds. Once wallboards are hung, workers use progressively wider trowels to spread multiple coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and any remaining imperfections. Some workers may use a mechanical applicator, a tool that spreads sealing compound on the wall joint while dispensing and setting tape at the same time.

Drywall installers are also called drywallers or hangers. They cut and hang the panels of wallboard.

Ceiling tile installers hang ceiling tiles and create suspended ceilings. Tiles may be applied directly to the ceiling, attached to furring strips, or suspended on runners that are connected by wire to the ceiling. Workers are sometimes called acoustical carpenters, because they also install tiles that block sound.

Tapers are also called finishers, because they prepare the drywall for covering by plaster, paint, and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams.

In addition to performing new installations, many installers and tapers make repairs such as fixing damaged drywall and replacing ceiling tiles. The wall coverings applied to the finished drywall are installed by painters, plasterers, and paperhangers.

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How To Become A Drywall Finisher

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job.  A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.

Education

Although there are no education requirements for becoming a drywall and ceiling tile installers, or taper, high school math and vocational technical courses are considered useful.

Training

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job by helping more experienced workers and gradually being given more duties. They start by carrying materials and cleaning up, and then learn to use the tools of the trade. They also learn to measure, cut, and install or apply materials. Employers usually provide some on-the-job training, lasting up to 12 months. 

A few drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical work and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn construction basics related to blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices.

A few groups, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering such a program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to perform the work

After completing an apprenticeship program, they are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own. 

Important Qualities

Balance. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, often wear stilts. They must be able to move around and use tools overhead without falling.

Math skills. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, use math skills for measurement on every job. For example, they must be able to estimate the quantity of materials needed and measure accurately when cutting panels.

Physical stamina. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, constantly lift and move heavy materials into place, so workers should be in good physical shape.

Physical strength. Drywall and ceiling tile installers must often lift heavy panels over their heads to secure onto the ceiling.

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Drywall Finisher Demographics

Gender

Male

89.3%

Female

9.6%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

64.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.1%

Black or African American

9.3%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

2.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

85.7%

Polish

4.8%

Carrier

4.8%

French

4.8%
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Drywall Finisher Education

Schools

Des Moines Area Community College

10.6%

Lewis and Clark Community College

6.4%

University of Phoenix

6.4%

Murray State University

6.4%

South Seattle Community College

6.4%

Richland Community College

4.3%

Ohio University -

4.3%

College of Southern Idaho

4.3%

University of Iowa

4.3%

Ashworth College

4.3%

Ohio State University

4.3%

Owensboro Community and Technical College

4.3%

Fortis Institute - Erie

4.3%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.3%

Kaplan University

4.3%

Edmonds Community College

4.3%

Dixie State university

4.3%

Reid State Technical College

4.3%

Dunwoody College of Technology

4.3%

Ferris State University

4.3%
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Majors

Business

18.6%

General Studies

8.7%

Criminal Justice

7.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.5%

Automotive Technology

5.5%

Precision Metal Working

4.9%

Fine Arts

4.9%

Heating And Air Conditioning

4.4%

Drafting And Design

3.8%

Computer Science

3.8%

Education

3.8%

Information Technology

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Psychology

3.3%

Graphic Design

3.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.3%

Construction Management

3.3%

Accounting

3.3%

Management

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.7%
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Degrees

Other

49.8%

Associate

21.3%

Bachelors

14.4%

Certificate

8.7%

Diploma

2.7%

Masters

2.4%

License

0.6%
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Real Drywall Finisher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Drywall Finishers Lugo Contracting, LLC Lexington, KY Apr 27, 2016 $38,923
Drywall Finisher California Drywall LLC Richmond, VA Jan 14, 2016 $38,881
Drywall Finishers Anguiano Drywall Inc. TX Mar 01, 2013 $38,714
Drywall Finisher Castaneda Drywall, Inc. Woodstock, GA Apr 15, 2016 $37,670
Drywall Finisher JW & Sons, Inc. Baltimore, MD Jul 15, 2010 $36,356
Drywall Finisher Castaneda Drywall, Inc. GA Apr 15, 2015 $33,809
Drywall Finisher Professional Applicators, Inc. VA Jun 25, 2008 $32,724
Drywall Finisher Professional Applicators, Inc. VA Mar 11, 2008 $32,724

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Top Skills for A Drywall Finisher

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  1. Texture
  2. Sand
  3. Finish Carpentry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Hand texture and or plaster also some stucco I can also do patches on every level of finish.
  • Use various types of sand paper and sanding tools to smooth the thin set to prepare it for painting.
  • Metal stud framing and light rough wood framing and finish carpentry including bath and kitchen cabinetry.
  • Sanded nailed drywall and taped and finish coated sheetrock and including different size drywall patches.
  • Job duties included the installation of corner bead/bull nose and the use of all tools associated with the drywall finishing trade.

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Top Drywall Finisher Employers

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Jobs From Top Drywall Finisher Employers

Drywall Finisher Videos

Crew of Finishers finishing a house

Finishing Drywall Angles Like A Pro

Drywall Finishers

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