Drywall length and width works on the "four foot unit" system. So, widths and lengths will always be a multiple of four feet. Code does not dictate drywall length and width; these are determined by the needs of the builder. Code does dictate some drywall thicknesses, though.
|Length||Length ranges from 8' to 16'.|
|Thickness||From 1/4" to 5/8". Thickness is variable and often code-related. For example, code requires that thicker Type X drywall be installed on garage walls that are adjacent to the house. See below for details.|
Width: Always 4'
Drywall width is always 4'. Wall panels are sometimes erroneously listed as being other than 4' wide, but these are not drywall panels--they are either cement boards or drywall alternatives such as DRIcore Smartwall. One exception is the 2' x 2' size for project/patch panels listed in the section below.
Length: Usually 8', But Sometimes 12' or 16'
- 4' x 8': The most common size of drywall is 4 feet wide, 8 feet long. Since 1/2" thick sheets of 4' x 8' drywall tip the scales at 57 pounds, this tends to be the biggest sheet that most DIYers can carry and lift into place. This size allows for either vertical or horizontal installation. Typically 4' x 8' panels come bound in pairs--two sheets face to face, with paper strips binding the two sheets.
- 4' x 12' and 4' x 16': For tall or long walls, drywall is available in lengths up to 12 or 16 feet. One advantage of these longer sheets is that you can create a smooth vertical surface to meet higher ceilings, and this smooth surface is completely unbroken from floor to ceiling. Sixteen foot long drywall when installed horizontally on a wall produces fewer butt joints than if you had installed 8 foot long sheets. If you are intending to work with 16 foot lengths of drywall, you need to have several people on hand to help you with the installation.
- 2' x 2': Not stock sheets, these cut-down pieces of drywall are available at the big-box home improvement stores, but especially at smaller local hardware stores.
Thickness: Usually 1/2" or 5/8", but Sometimes 1/4"
- 1/4": Not a common thickness, quarter-inch drywall is used as a skimming (or double-wall) material for placing over an existing surface. It is also valuable when you need to install it on slightly curved surfaces. If the drywall is not quite meeting your curve, it is possible to slightly dampen the drywall to make it more flexible.
- 1/2": Half-inch drywall panels are the standard thickness for interior walls. These panels are easy to carry and hang. Even easier are ultra-light 1/2" panels, 13 pounds lighter than conventional drywall of the same size and thickness.
- 5/8": Use for ceilings. If you are installing drywall on a ceiling, you will want to use half-inch or even go up to 5/8” inch thick panels to prevent sagging. Even when drywall is properly installed with the requisite quantity of fasteners, sagging can become a problem. Adding popcorn texture or another type of heavy surfacing material can add to the weight problem. This thicker drywall is often called “fire resistant drywall.” Some rooms such as those adjacent to garages are required to have fire resistant drywall, depending on your local building code. Furnace rooms also must be walled-in with thicker drywall panels.
More About 2' x 2' Panels
These are small project panels intended to patch holes in installed drywall.
From a cost perspective, these are a bad deal as they are about 4 times more expensive, square foot for square foot, than regular 4' by 8' panels.
However, they can be a good deal if you only need to patch one area and do not have a way to transport large sheets of drywall.