Get Nrdly Free Trial Built with Nrdly

How to Hang Drywall Ceilings by Yourself

Have you struggled hanging drywall ceilings by yourself?

It can be a real chore and painful.

But there are some tricks and tips that make it a WHOLE LOT EASIER.

Today you’ll learn how hang drywall ceilings by yourself and without killing your back.

Furthermore you’ll see how to perfectly cut around a bathroom fan.

This tutorial was done in a small bathroom but you can copy a lot of the tips for other parts of your home.

Let’s dive in!


Drywall Supplies

Here are the supplies you need

  • Impact Driver
  • Magnet Driver Bit
  • Drywall Dimple Bit
  • Drywall Screws (Course Threaded for Wood Studs)
  • RotoSaw Plus Dust Vault
  • Respirator
  • Utility Knife
  • Drywall T-Square
  • Chalk Line
  • Three Inch Wood or Deck Screws
  • Pencil
  • Drywall
  • Scrap 2×4
  • These Amazon Links help support Home Repair Tutor, many thanks for using them

In this tutorial I drywalled over the existing plaster ceiling. Typically building codes require 5/8″ drywall for the ceiling.

But in this case we used 1/2″ thick drywall.

What are the first steps to hanging drywall ceilings?

Plan Your Drywall Ceilings

If you want to hang new drywall over an old ceiling, you first need to find the joists.

Find Joist

Mark the joist position on the wall or framing.

One more thing, this mark should indicate the center of the joist because two drywall pieces get screwed into one joist to create a drywall seam.

Mark Joist

Measure the length and width of the ceiling.

Measure Ceiling Width

The bathroom we’re working in is wonky as all heck.

No wall is square and the width was a few inches more than 48 inches. Meaning we couldn’t just add one piece of drywall across the span.

SOOOO…instead we had to cut drywall to accommodate this issue.

Here are some tips for cutting drywall for small spaces

  1. Position tapered edges against other tapered edges
  2. Subtract 1/4″ from a drywall piece if it spans the entire room width
  3. Take multiple measurements

Tip 1 helps with the finishing.

Tip 2 helps with fitting the drywall against the joists.

For example, the width of this bathroom was 52 3/4″ wide. Therefore, we subtracted 1/4″ to get 52 1/2″.

Tip 3 helps you cut drywall to the right size.

For example, the length of drywall we needed was 45 5/8 inches.

But at the length of 45 5/8″ the width was 52 5/8″ which was wider than the initial 52 3/4″ measurement.

Had we assumed the width was 52 3/4″ (minus the 1/4″) we would have struggled to make the drywall fit the ceiling.

This is easier to follow along with in the video but I digress.

Measure multiple times!!

Measure Twice

The width of this bathroom was different at the door opening versus the window at the opposite side of the room.

Always a great idea to get multiple measurements.

How to Cut Drywall Before Hanging

Cut your drywall to size with a sharp utility knife and drywall T-Square.

Cut Drywall

Stand the drywall up on edge, hit the back with your knee and score it with the utility knife.

Score Drywall

Label the drywall edge as ‘Door’ for the door side.

Label Drywall Door

And the drywall edge as ‘Window’ for the window side.

Label Drywall Window

If you’re mechanically challenged this helps keep the correct drywall orientation when you hoist it above your head.

Plus, we transposed the joist location onto the drywall and pre-drilled drywall screws.

Drill Drywall Screw

In addition, use coarse threaded drywall screws if your framing is wood.

Coarse Drywall Screws

In my lovely bathroom we have 1/4″ lath, 1/4″ plaster and are using 1/2″ drywall.

As such, we opted to use 2″ coarse threaded drywall screws so that at least 1″ of screw went into the joist – I recommend this in multiple tutorials, and for good reason.

When embedding drywall screws into drywall use a dimple bit in your magnetic bit holder.

This embeds the drywall screws such that they are slightly depressed in the paper.

And ultimately makes your mudding process easier.

Drywall Dimple Bit

Once your drywall is cut it’s ready to be hung on the joists.

But how do you do this without killing your back?

How to Hang Drywall on the Ceiling by Yourself

Often times I hang drywall by myself. And I’m not Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Therefore, I try to use my brain to lessen the pain involved with drywall work.

If you have to hang drywall ceilings by yourself, attach a scrap piece of 2×4 to the wall.

It should be about 3/4″ from the bottom of the joist.

Scrap 2x4

That way you can hoist the drywall over your head, rest it on the 2×4 and secure the drywall to the joists. This is also a great method for shower ceilings.

Hoist Drywall

You can snap a chalk line across the drywall to give yourself a reference for where to drill the screws.

Remember those joist marks you made on the wall…yep, they come in handy at this point.

Screw Drywall

Screws should be placed every 10-12 inches along a joist and about 3/4 of an each from the edge. Sometimes I even space screws every 8-10 inches for extra support.

Get the center location for bathroom fans or recessed lights.

I place this dimension on the framing or wall.

Find Center of Fan

Our video walks you through this a bit more.

You want the center dimension because you can use a RotoZip to cut out a perfect square or circle.

How to Cut Perfect Holes in Drywall

There’s a recurring theme here on Home Repair Tutor: sometimes the tools make all the difference.

For example, if you want to cut a perfect hole in drywall you should check out the RotoZip.

RotoZip with Dust Vault

The one we’re using has the Dust Vault technology which helps cut down on drywall dust.

RotoZip saw our last video on how to hang drywall ceilings and sent me this new tool.

Now here’s the deal, our tutorial today is sponsored by RotoZip and that was a no-brainer since we already love their tools.

It’s easier to cut drywall with the RotoZip if you run it counterclockwise. In this case, I wanted to make sure I was in the fan housing and cut out a little piece.

Cut Drywall with RotoZip

You’ll see in the video that the Dust Vault works good if you keep the RotoZip flush with the drywall.

Place RotoZip Flush

In some cases, we didn’t do this and you’ll see a little plume of dust.

Watch our video to learn how to hang drywall

What’s Next

Do you need to finish your bathroom remodel before Thanksgiving?

We can help.

Our Platinum Membership has over 355 step-by-step tutorials and Personal Coaching to make your project easier. Tap the button below to learn more



Hang Drywall Ceilings By Yourself

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for the technique for hanging ceilings by yourself. I love the tool, it would make finishing my basement much easier and better looking.

    1. Thanks Rick and great to hear you’re making progress on your home. Finished basements are the bomb. I’m typing this in one, lol. You’re right about the RotoZip, I’ve been using it a lot lately with a lot of success. Of course, because I’m clumsy, mistakes happen but they’re not terrible. Keep me posted on your remodel.

  2. Denise Barkel says:

    This would come in very handy to use on my kitchen bulkheads that I am removing, Want to thank you for all the videos you do I have learn alot.

    1. Thanks so much Denise and it’s an honor to have you read and watch my tutorials. Can’t wait to see your kitchen develop. You’ll no doubt make it look amazing. Please make sure to post some pictures over in our HRT Facebook group or send them to me. I’d love to see your progress.

  3. Jim says:

    I’m doing the rec room. As an added treat, I’m putting in a double tray ceiling and a faux fireplace.

    1. Nice Jim, make sure to post some pictures buddy. I’d love to see how you tackle the ceiling.

  4. Tim says:

    Love your videos – they are always VERY helpful. I could definitely use the RotoZip as I’ve got a piece of drywall ceiling to repair in my kitchen. I’ve already repaired the roof leak, now I need to repair the damaged ceiling. Always a fun time.

    1. Those darn roof leaks…what a pain in the butt. Good job fixing the roof and tackling the ceiling. Keep me posted

  5. Rebecca Weeks says:

    This looks like a great tool for a disabled widow like me that gets stuck doing most of my repairs myself. Right now I’m needing to replace a bathroom fan. Also since storms exploded through my attic and caused most of the ceilings to blow out, I’m still working on those. Insurance money paid to have ceilings replaced, but contractor walked off job before finishing and I have no money to hire another one. So I still need to cut a hole for a stove vent, ceiling fans, and lights in order to ever get done. Please consider me for the robo tool.

  6. Gina Goforth says:

    I need to replace the paneling in my sunroom turned bedroom with drywall and install insulation. I will also need to remove 3 windows that peer into another bedroom while I’m at it.
    If I survive that, I need to gut my spare room that is so bad, we jokingly refer to it as the unwelcome guest room. It needs new drywall on walls and ceiling, and I’ll love to upgrade baseboards and window trim to match the other end of the house. It seems my house was originally at least two houses, and the difference in style makes it look very choppy. That RotoZip would certainly speed things up with all the outlets and fixtures I’ll be working around. Thanks for the video!

  7. TROY G says:

    I lack many tools…and generally do it the hard way to save a couple bucks. the rotorzip will help with my drywall project that is now 1.5 years old in the basement!

  8. Bud says:

    Would suggest employing a little veneer plaster (google it please ). Plaster can cover
    the drywall if you employ a bonder ( suggest Larson`s™ Bonder) , Color maybe added to your plaster mix ( lasting results are longer then just paint ).

    Veneer plaster goes on over the bonder. Resulting in a rock hard finish. For your own
    house the health benefits of employing lime plaster should be worth considering!

  9. Jason McCoy says:

    Man, that looks good! I haven’t done more drywalling than a couple of smaller bedrooms and there only walls, not ceilings. This article helps me greatly in learning a few more best practices and tricks. Really like the pro-follows, guys!

  10. Pingback: Home Repair Tutor
  11. JH says:

    I liked the tip about the 2×4 on the wall to hold one end of the ceiling drywall up. I did this about 25 years ago when I did my bath room. I also, made a “T” or “I” shapped piece out if 2×4’s and wedged it under the other side so I could walk away and do other things like get tools, etc. The “T” had a top piece about 3′ and I put some old carpet on it to give it a cushion so I wouldn’t scratch the ceiling. Then I had a piece about 8′ long and wedged it under the top piece and the floor. I made a bigger version and had a bottom piece with carpet on it so I wouldn’t scratch my wood floors. I used it to section off a room with plastic sheets by wedging the carpent padded 2×4’s on the ceiling and floor withe a couple 8′ 2×4’s and had the sheets of plastic draped like a wall to keep dust from going into other rooms and making a mess in my whole house.

  12. Ray says:

    Remodeling my 5×8 bathroom. Plaster ceiling. Plastic tub surround. Tool would make job eaisier.

  13. Laxhman Ramsahoi says:

    I’m a Handyperson and likes to help people, lots of the time it has to do with drywalling, this tool would make it really easier with less mess…

  14. Smeltz says:

    Hi Jeff, really enjoy your videos, simple but very informative. Keep up the great job! I lost my corporate job and decided not to go back to another big corporation just to be another number. So I picked up my old tools and started out on my own to pay the bills. Remodeling kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, etc. with doing allot of drywall work. Having a RotoZip RotoSaw would be an awesome​ blessing, so put me in the hat for the drawing!!! Thank you and RotoZip for this opportunity! Again keep up the great job!

  15. Patrick says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Great video and tips. Iearned a lot. He have more tips than me right now. At the moment I’m removing a drywall ceiling that is a foot below the original plaster/lath ceiling in my bathroom. I’m going to reinstall the drywall right next to the plaster ceiling and gain a foot of space in the ceiling. I like high ceiling. The RotoZip looks like a great tool and will make cutting out the ceiling fan much easier. Also, the dust element is always problematic and this tool solves this dust issue. I also have a few houses that need complete renovation and I could see this tool coming in very handy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *