How to Drywall a Garage Ceiling

What You'll Need
1/2 or 5/8 inch drywall
Drywall tape
All purpose drywall compound
Drywall screws
Power drill
Utility knife
Tape measure
Chalk line
Drywall jacks or 2x4s
Drywall knife
Drywall trough

Hanging drywall from your garage ceiling is just like hanging in any other room in your home except when it comes time to the finishing. There are 6 levels of drywall finish stipulated by professional contractors as to the amount of finish a drywalled area requires. In a home garage, because it’s not a room where family members dwell, the level of finish need not be the highest. It is adequate to mud and tape the joints and cap any corners on the drywall. Beyond that, you’re just wasting drywall compound. Garages tend to be draftier than the home. As water evaporates out of the joint compound, it may crack. There is no need to finely finish the joints with 3 coats of mud just to have that happen. At the end of this how-to you will be confident in your ability to drywall your garage ceiling. 

Step 1: Measure the Dimensions

Take all of the measurements before you begin hanging the drywall. Calculate how many full sheets you can hang as well as any special cuts you need to make. If need be, make a rough sketch on paper of the garage ceiling, incorporating your measurements. This will provide a blueprint for the work. 

Step 2: Note the Joists, Mark the Drywall

Inspect the joists. Make sure they are parallel and spaced evenly. If not, take note of it. Measure the distance between the joists from center. On the first piece of drywall you will hang, snap chalk lines on it representing the placement of the joists. This will help set accurate screws. 

Step 3: Support

If you have a drywall jack, great. Set it to the right distance: from floor to bottom of the joist minus the thickness of the drywall. Otherwise, cut 3 2x4s to that length. They will provide support to the drywall so you can fasten it much more easily. 

Step 4: Hang the First Sheet

Position the first sheet of drywall with the chalk lines facing down in the same direction as the joists. Hold it up to the joists and pull the first support under it. Place the second and third supports. Starting from the middle and working your way out, insert drywall screws every 6-8 inches. No part of the sheet should be unattached. The edges of the drywall that will form joints with other sheets must share a joist, so make cuts where appropriate. 

Step 5: Assemble Joints

When hanging adjacent sheets of drywall, you either make butt joints or bevel joints. Butt joints are sheets of drywall placed short end to short end, while bevel joints are long end to long end. When assembling a joint, hold the sheet up to the other tightly and put up the supports. Make sure the ends are flush and insert screws into the center working towards the joint. 

Step 6: Make Special Cuts

Wherever it is needed, make special cuts in the sheets to accommodate for fixtures or smaller patches. Measure twice before marking and cutting with your utility knife. Smaller pieces may not require support. 

Step 7: Level 1 Finish

Level 1 finish simply calls for one coat of mud over the joints followed by tape. Run the drywall knife over the tape and scrape away the excess mud. Don’t bother covering up the screw heads. 

Your garage ceiling is now completely hung with drywall. Pack away the all purpose drywall compound and save it for a later use. If you ever decide to fully finish the drywall ceiling, you can always return to it some other time.