How Many Screws Per Sheet Of Drywall?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you’ve been working on a home addition or a garage as part of your DIY work, you’re probably aware of the fact that your house needs drywall. It’s just a must. The problem is that most of us haven’t attended a class that tells you how many screws you will need in order to properly secure.

You need to use 32 screws for a standard 4×8 sheet of drywall. The 5 studs in the middle each need 4 screws, and each side needs 6 screws. It is okay to use only 28 screws for a sheet of wall-mounted drywall.

Choosing the right amount of screws is the only way to ensure that you will be able to enjoy solid drywall that won’t need repairs for years to come. But, how do you make that call? When do you need to stop adding screws? Here’s what the pros have to say about this important home improvement aspect…

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How Many Screws Do You Need Per Sheet Of Drywall?

The general rule of thumb is that you should try to get your screws to be spaced out every 12 inches, if you have a standard stud layout. If your wall studs are every 24 inches, then you will need to place your screws 16 inches apart, on different studs. So, a good way to think about this is that you’ll probably have 16 by 12-inch boxes, with a screw in each corner.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to use 32 screws per sheet of 4-foot by 8-foot drywall. This number comes from four screws on the five middle studs and six on each of the two sides of the drywall sheet.

Now that we’ve gotten the general gist of picking out screw numbers, let’s talk about the important parts of figuring out how much you should space out your screws, shall we?

How To Place Screws In Dry Wall

When you are adhering drywall, your goal is to attach the screws to the studs or ceiling joists. Then, you want to space all the screws evenly apart from one another to maintain a certain level of balance.

Ideally, each screw will go right in the middle of the stud. When putting screws on the edge near the cut portion of your drywall, leave at least 3/8 inches of space from the edge. This will let you ensure that you avoid pop-outs, poor quality installs or other similar issues.

How Many Screws For My Drywall Sheet Size?

The easiest way to figure out the number of screws is by drywall sheet size. Here’s what you should be aware of for the most common sizes:

  • A 4 x 12 drywall sheet typically needs around 50 screws. This works with the “every 12 inches” rule of thumb we’ve discussed earlier. You need to attach the sheet to each stud in even spacing. If you have a stud that’s 16 inches on center, then this means you’ll need around 50 when everything is evenly spaced.
  • A 4 x 8 drywall sheet usually needs 28 screws. This is for wall mounting. If you use ceiling mounting, you will need to use 36 instead, just to make sure it stays up.
  • Use drywall glue where you fear adhesion problems. Did you feel like you need a little extra attachment help? Using a gob of drywall glue can help you reduce the number of necessary screws while also providing adhesion.
  • If you are using a specialized type of drywall, read the instructions that come with it for the proper number of screws. Specialty drywall like Glass-Mat can require more screws than typical standard or lightweight drywall. Specialty drywalls often come with a notice saying that different screw numbers may be needed. Check to see what is advised for your unique case.
  • Always ask a professional if you are having trouble putting together spacing. Though there are plenty of guides that will show you how to space out your screws during a drywall hanging, the truth is that every project will be different. If you’re dealing with a specialty project, it’s okay to ask someone at a hardware store, a structural engineer, or through an online help service to give you advice.

When buying supplies, it’s a good idea to multiply the number of sheets you’re installing by the “rule of thumb” quantities associated with them. This will give you a general idea of how many screws you will need to buy.

Can You Use Liquid Nails On Drywall?

Construction adhesive products, like Liquid Nails, can be used on joist and studs in addition to drywall screws. However, they should never be used as a replacement. Adding a bead of glue along the joist or stud before screwing the panel in place can significantly increase the strength between the framing members and the panels.

Additionally, when using both screws and glue, you can place the screws at twice the distance as you would have with just screws.

However, this is not typically recommended for DIYers, as inexperience with drywall may require you to readjust or even reinstall the drywall sheet. Once the glue is applied, it can be impossible to remove the panel without causing damage to the drywall.

What Are The Best Drywall Screw Patterns?

For the most part, the screw distances determine the screw pattern. Though, for edge screws, you may decide to plan out the distances so that the screws on adjacent panels are staggered on a communal stud. This will reduce the likelihood of two crumbled drywall edges occurring in the same spot.

Regardless, you should always ensure that screws are spaced out equally down a line. Field screws do not receive any advantages from being staggered. Whether you want to stagger them or keep them evenly lined up depends entirely on preference.

However, some drywall experts assert that staggering field screws helps with weight distribution. Others, claim that lining field screws in rows offers more structural stability, as it imitates the effect of having a framing member in that place.

Are There Building Codes Regarding Screws In Drywall?

Though spacing your screws 12 to 16 inches apart is the norm, there are moments where municipal codes can come into play. Most major cities and suburbs now have building codes dealing with drywall screw count and installation. This is specifically done to help ensure that homes remain stable and safe to reside in.

Before you calculate out how many screws you’re going to need to buy, make sure to check your local building codes first. If you do not use the minimum amount of screws in your drywall hanging, you may end up with a fine…or your building could be condemned. This could lead to a major loss of money.

Do I Need To Use A Drywall Gun?

A drywall screw gun is mandatory if you want to install drywall to metal, but not for other projects. With that said, this is one tool that makes your drywall installation a breeze and ensures you get the adhesion you want. So while it’s not a must in all cases, we strongly encourage you to invest in one.

How Long Does Hanging Drywall Take?

Though this can vary depending on the amount of drywall you’re hanging up, you can expect a typical drywall hanging session to take around two days to do. This also includes the time it may take to install “mud” on them after the fact. Overall, it’s a quick project.

When Should You Call A Professional?

For the most part, hanging up drywall is not going to be rocket science. All you have to do is make sure that your screws are spaced evenly and that they are properly secured into your studs. With a little guidance and planning, it’s possible to have a beginner DIY fan work on this without having any errors.

The thing is, most people find hanging drywall to be a rather tedious task. It’s also a task that may make some people nervous, simply because building codes are involved. If you aren’t sure you have the time, patience, or trust to do your own hanging, it’s totally fine to call a professional.

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Our Final Take

There’s no clear-cut way to figure out exactly how many screws you will need to install your drywall. It all depends on how many sheets you’ll use, where you’re installing it, and what your local building codes allow for. With that said, most drywall installations will involve placing screws every 12 to 16 inches apart.

The number of screws you need can be reduced. If you add some drywall glue and use a screw gun, you might get away with slightly fewer screws.

Drywall installs are an admittedly tricky topic, especially if you haven’t hung this stuff up before. That’s why we strongly suggest looking at building codes and asking for advice to double-check. If you are worried that your screws aren’t enough, make sure to add some drywall glue through your project. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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