What Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Do
Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting.
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. Workers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they often must lift and maneuver heavy wallboard.
How to Become a Drywall Installer, Ceiling Tile Installer, or Taper
Most drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade on the job. A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.
The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers was $45,700 in May 2019.
The median annual wage for tapers was $59,070 in May 2019.
Employment of drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to show little or no change from 2019 to 2029. However, there will be openings each year because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.
Drywall installers 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.
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers typically do the following:
- Measure, mark, and cut drywall panels according to design plans
- Fasten panels and tiles to support structures
- 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 for a smooth, seamless finish
Drywall and ceiling tile installers place panels over the walls and ceilings of interior rooms in buildings. The panels cover insulation, electrical wires, and pipes; dampen sound; and provide fire resistance. Tapers prepare the drywall for finishing.
Workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds to hang and prepare ceilings. After hanging wallboards, workers use trowels to spread coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and other imperfections. Some workers 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. The tools they use include tape measures, straightedges, utility knives, and power saws.
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, also called finishers, prepare the drywall for covering by paint and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams. They also smooth the tape after affixing it and apply a finishing compound to the tape.
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.
Drywall and ceiling tile installers held about 125,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of drywall and ceiling tile installers were as follows:
|Drywall and insulation contractors||64%|
|Nonresidential building construction||5|
Tapers held about 21,800 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of tapers were as follows:
|Drywall and insulation contractors||69%|
|Nonresidential building construction||6|
|Painting and wall covering contractors||2|
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. The work is physically demanding. Workers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they must often lift and maneuver heavy wallboard.
Most drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work full time.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Masonry workers use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build structures.
|See How to Become One||$46,500|
Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$48,330|
Construction Laborers and Helpers
Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.
|See How to Become One||$36,000|
Painters, Construction and Maintenance
Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, large machinery and equipment, and bridges and other structures.
|No formal educational credential||$40,280|
Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters
Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.
|No formal educational credential||$42,050|
Insulation workers install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings or mechanical systems.
|See How to Become One||$44,180|
Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings.
|No formal educational credential||$42,100|
For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service; the state apprenticeship agency; local contractors or firms that employ drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; or local union–management finishing trade apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.
For more information about drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/drywall-and-ceiling-tile-installers-and-tapers.htm (visited ).