8 Essential Drywall Tools

man holding drywall tools
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The average drywall hanging and finishing professional carries around an impressive collection of drywall tools for commercial and residential projects. The hanging process for drywall and the subsequent finishing process each have their own collections of necessary hardware and tools that help workers get the job done right. Here are some of the common items in the drywall tool kit.

1. Drywall Knife

gloved hand cutting drywall with a knife

A drywall knife is sometimes called a razor knife or Exacto-knife. This kind of knife has a razor blade that can be changed out when it becomes dull. Drywall workers score sheets of drywall with this blade to remove pieces for hanging.

2. Measuring Square and Tape

a t-square device with measurement markings

A T-square is a way to make sure the pieces are cut evenly. Drywall pieces must be cut exactly in order to hang properly on wooden studs or other surfaces. Drywall workers often also use a tape measure to make sure the dimensions of pieces are correct before they cut them.

3. Pencil or Chalk Line Markers

chalk line marking tool

Professionals often use pens or pencils for creating the contour of a smaller drywall piece. For larger pieces, chalk lines may be the better choice.

4. Drills and Sanders

worker sanding a ceiling with a power tool to finish drywall

Many crews use power drills to quickly hang the drywall. Long screws are a preferred fastening method for drywall sheets. Crews may also use power sanders for some jobs, but manual sanding equipment is more common since drywall finishing doesn't usually require fine sanding. Basic manual sanding tools help workers to make sure that surfaces are smooth for painting.

5. Frames and Sheet Holders

worker installing metal frames to build wall

Tools like T bars or sheet holders help to keep drywall sheets in place when workers need to create a structure for their surface, or fix a sheet of drywall onto a slanted area where gravity may be working against them.

6. Putty Knives and Holders

putty knife applying putty to wall

For applying the mud or spackle that fills gaps in drywall pieces, workers typically use broad-edged putty knives. Pans and containers hold the compound as it's being applied.

7. Inside Corner Knife

drywall putty applicator tools

This specialized tool has two sides connected at a sharp angle to help spread compound on the inside corner of an area.

8. Safety Gear

woman sanding wall while wearing dust mask

Dust masks or safety masks are often part of the tool kit for professional drywall contractors. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has created standards for safe physical labor, and these include preventing common respiratory problems caused by ingesting large amounts of dust or other building materials. Common cotton dust masks limit the number of particulates that an individual breathes in on-the-job. For those with more intense allergies or respiratory issues, chamber type safety masks are available to more effectively screen the air that comes into the nose and mouth. Goggles may also be used to protect the eyes.

These are some of the main drywall tools that professionals carry with them to each and every job. Although the basic techniques of drywall are simple, the process itself is somewhat complex and requires skilled application of various techniques. The above tools illustrate how various stages of drywall installation are completed. Look for more details from skilled crews who have learned how to best manage drywall hanging and finishing processes over time.