2017 Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers
Median Pay: US$40,470
Entry Level: No formal educational credential
Drywall 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 and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, typically do the following:

  • Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
  • Determine the precise locations of electrical outlets, plumbing, and windows
  • Cut drywall or ceiling tiles to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
  • Fasten panels and tiles, using cement adhesive, nails, screws, or clips
  • 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 to a smooth, seamless finish

Drywall is the most commonly used interior wall covering. The ability to use a wide variety of finishes over properly prepared drywall, as well as low installation costs, drive its popularity. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, drywall dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

To hang and prepare ceilings, workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds. Once wallboards are hung, workers use progressively wider trowels to spread multiple coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and any remaining imperfections. Some workers may 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.

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 are also called finishers, because they prepare the drywall for covering by plaster, paint, and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams.

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.

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