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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/7/2008


I can't believe the bids I'm getting for drywall. My first house was only 1,800 sf, so we did it ourselves but didn't really want to do this one because I wanted to get it done quicker. I have been getting prices from people that I know do not have much or any work coming up because of the economy. Apparently, they are independently wealthy because they want more than my husband earns as a superintendent of a company that builds highways! Their bids amount to about double what I paid my framers.

So my husband has decided to use his vacation time and we will do it ourselves with the help of some day laborers we have been using throughout our build. I actually enjoy doing the mud, but I confess that sanding is not my favorite thing but for an $8,000 savings - I guess I'll have to deal with it! LOL

Wish me luck - I'll need it!
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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 12/7/2008


Perhaps  it would be a good idea to get the house stocked with drywall and a few boxes of nails and drywall screws. 

At that point start finding people who want to do the hang only. If they want to do it, tell them how how many $$/sheet you will pay.  Use the usual methods to find people: other jobs where drywall is going in, referrals from other trades and drywall supply companies come to mind.

When the rock is hung, have a pallet or so of mud show up and a few boxes of tape. Ask the hangers if they know any tape and texture crews.  Again tell them the per sheet price you want to pay, after the material is on-site and the job is ready to go. I think you will find takers, as long as your $$ per sheet is consistent with what the piece work crews normally get in your part of the world.

Drywall is too labor intensive to do as a weekend project on a big house, especially if you are paying interest on a construction loan.


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/7/2008


I have gotten five bids so far, and they are all within $1,500 of each other. I have a contractor who has been working for me but he is going to Mexico for three weeks over the holidays and I have the radiant heat on - so I am not willing to wait. Besides, I have a godson and a son-in-law plus a couple of others that can help hang it - so I'm not concerned. I know it's not a weekend project - I hung and finished my 1,800 sf house several years ago. All I'm saying is - it isn't rocket science and I am not surprised people are out of work with the rates they try and charge. I can pay the interest on my construction loan for three months and still be ahead.

My area is very hard hit with the economic issues and very little building is going on - so it's not difficult to find bidders. I think the problem is they see how large the house and acreage is and think they are going to make three months worth of pay in only three weeks work. If I were completely ignorant of labor costs and production - I might fall for it, but that's not the case. It does really irritate me when people try and take advantage of me - it insults my intelligence more than anything else. My husband has three weeks off work and with the additional help - I'm not worried.
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By Bill in Callahan, FL on 12/8/2008


What were your bids?  How many sheets is the job?  I am in Florida and am pretty aware of pricing so I was just wondering what kind f pricing you are getting?

Bill


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/8/2008


Prices are ranging from $.48 - $.54 a sf. That is for labor only - no materials. Job is 16,800 sf. House is very open - so, many full sheets. One room is 40x40 and one is 32x40. It is also 10' ceilings. In a good economy with normal building going on, it would be OK pricing, but our area has been hit hard by the drop in real estate values. Many developers and builders have gone bankrupt and the out of work lists at the union halls have thousands of names on them. I have noticed that many people would rather sit at home and watch Jerry Springer than make less $$ than what they think they are worth. Probably the reason why so many houses are in foreclosure.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 12/9/2008


What is included here; hang, tape, finish? What finish?
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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/9/2008


Oh yeah - sorry, LOL! That is to either hang it or mud and tape it. So, $1.08 a sf to hang, mud and tape (smooth finish).
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By Clint in Cheyenne, WY on 12/9/2008


Around here, it was $49 a sheet for hang, tape and texture.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 12/9/2008


What size sheet? When the 'rockers showed up at my house, they had 4x8, 4x12, 4x16, 4x20, and 5x20 monsters (this doesn't seem like a standard sheet size to me, but maybe with the more common 10' ceilings nowadays this isn't unusual, as this size combined with a 4x sheet would also accomodate the 9' ceilings that are very common). You can see that per sheet price leaves a lot of variability, as for a 4x8 that is $1.53/s.f. (a quote I would consider astonomical) vs. the monster sheets that is only $0.49/s.f. (very cheap).


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 12/9/2008


OK, got it. I was thinking "not a bad price", but the clarification illustrates differently. Full sheets hang quickly, and the big sheets don't need very much tape. Have you tried calling commercial contractors? I found while they claim they don't do residential that they were willing to come by and bid my project, no problems. Frankly the commercial contractors were all union shops (residential sheetrockers were nonunion), but I found the bids to be in the same range (within 3-5% total difference, well within the expectation of the range of bidders I had in there).
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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/9/2008


Yes, Ken, I should have been clearer about the specs. I have 10' ceilings, so I bought 10' sheets of drywall for the walls and 12' sheets for the ceilings. I called both union and non union and they were fairly similar in price. I used to own a union erosion control company and am very familiar with bidding . So when I ask for bids, I like to ask what the size of the crew is as well as how long it will take to do the job. This gives me a good idea of what the bid should be. When I bid on jobs, I figure my cost for materials, my labor cost , plus I add on my overhead (insurance, office costs, etc.) and lastly I add on my profit. That's how I figured my bids. Probably why I never had to advertise and ALWAYS had repeat business.

I closed my business because of health issues. The bids I am getting amount to about a 50% profit which I think is excessive. I always added on 20%. I think 20% is more than fair - especially in this economy when work is scarce. Following this formula has served me well throughout my build. There have been a few things that I just couldn't get decent bids for and we ended up doing ourselves (such as geothermal radiant heat). Doing things this way has allowed me to build my home for $50/sf and still get all the quality and luxury items I wanted.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 12/15/2008


So in your area they must hang drywall vertically, each sheet stretching from floor to ceiling with all vertical seams? This must be regional, here they hang sheets horizontally, and the seams are all horizontal. This is why they show up with such big sheets of drywall (a 5x20 sheet covers a long wall). It was explained to me that there are two reasons for doing this:

1) Horizontal seams are more difficult to detect visually, and since all drywall here is smooth and not textured it makes a difference. You will also note that on adjacent walls, the location of the vertical seam is different (it is at a different height in the wall), again this is to break up the seam to lessen potential visibility. Me, I used a "Level 5" skim coat finish, so truly the location of the seams was a bit secondary.

2) Finishing seams takes labor (and when I do drywall repairs myself, I would second this conclusion). Reduce the amount of seams, reduce the labor, reduce the installed price.


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/15/2008


It depends on what the height of the wall is. If your wall is 8' or less than it is hung horizontally. If the wall is over 8 ' than they are hung vertically. My walls are 10' so I will be hanging the 10' sheets vertically. Here drywall sheets come in 4' widths and 8', 10' and 12' lengths. We also do smooth finish.
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By Bill in Callahan, FL on 12/15/2008


In 5 years on producing drywall fro USG and LaFarge and 6 years working in the construction, I have never seen drywall hung vertically. It is hung horizontally to cover as many studs as possible.  The industry standard is 4x12, most drywall companies do not order anything else.  When amking it,  the machine was cutting 4x12's about 90% of the time.  Hung vertically, it you are on 2 ft centers, you only hit three studs. This makes it much easier to warp.(ie wavy walls)

 

Bill


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/15/2008


Well I guess people do things differently in different parts of the country. For instance - nobody in this area would texture their walls. It is considered very "80's" and a dated look. I've seen it done both ways and have never noticed "warped walls" , of course my area is not nearly as humid as Florida. I can imagine warping would be a problem in such a humid climate.
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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 12/17/2008


Well I just got an email from one of the bidders, lowering his bid from $.48/sf to $.38/sf. I already made a deal with my contractor to do it when he comes back from vacation, but I probably would have hired the guy at $.38/sf if he would have just bid that right up front.
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By Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/9/2009


Your comment about the size of the house potentially driving the size of the bids to irrational values is quite worrisome to me... we haven't gotten bids yet for our home (we break ground on 4/01/09 I hope!) but may very well face a similar issue.

Hmmmm... must ponder this.  Thanks for the heads up!

Steve

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By Clint in Cheyenne, WY on 1/10/2009


The 49 dollars per sheet was for 54 inches x 12-foot sheets, as I have 9-foot ceilings.
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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 1/10/2009


Steve, when I had my company, I took the opposite approach. I charged less for large jobs, because it was guaranteed work and and production was better because I wasn't moving equipment and setting up work as often. My clients appreciated what they considered a "discount". I also gave discounts if they paid in a timely manner. I would much rather give the $$ to my customer instead of my banker. Unfortunately, many contractors don't think like this and when they see a large home think the owner must have plenty of cash and no clue. It is extremely important to educate yourself as to what things should cost in order to avoid getting taken. I can't believe the wide difference in bids I have received. Good luck.
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By Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/10/2009


I like the way you think there, Faye!  Too bad so many contractors (as you say) don't see it that way.

Now that you've mentioned this whole thing I recall that I had a similar incident with the truss bids for the house.  The architect deliberately left the name of the house (Tanglewood) off of all his plans--it just has an address and our names.  He's found that many contractors will automatically scale up their bids if the plans reflect a house name.

Ridiculous!

Steve

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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/5/2009


Michael:

Great advice.  Also, have you ever tried walking on the stilts that the sheetrockers use as pictured below?  Much, much harder than it looks.  Good luck to them whichever way they choose!

Chuck


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/5/2009


Clint:

That of course is for labor only - not including material, I am sure.  Right?

Chuck


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/5/2009


With horizontal seams, you will typically also see less nail pops as the house settles and shifts, which ALL houses do.

Chuck


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/5/2009


Bill;

I agree with you.  I have NEVER seen drywall hung vertically. For 9' ceilings I have seen boards made that were 4'6"x12' but most come in 4'x12'.

Chuck


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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 2/8/2009


Interestingly, other than high-end homes with high ceilings, where I live all of the 8' ceiling houses have vertically hung sheetrock... All of the older houses I have bought and remodelled had vertical hung sheetrock.  Even in the new construction homes around here alot still have vertical hung sheetrock.  I am going to specifically specify that the sheetrock be hung horizontally.
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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/8/2009


I do not really think it is a HUGE issue either way, but I would always choose to have it hung horizontally given a choice.

Good Luck,

Chuck


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/8/2009


I saw that you'd made a post about wind energy.  I saw this wind turbine at the IBS show in Las Vegas last month and found what little I saw of it to be quite impressive.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

enviro-energies.com/news

Chuck


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/9/2009


This seems odd, as 4'6" panels on a 9' wall puts the horizontal seam at exactly the same place on every wall. My installers recommended placing the horizontal seam at different heights on adjacent walls. Every wall had the horizontal seam at a different height.

My walls looked so good, I used a satin paint instead of eggshell or flat. The extra sheen really looks good, but if your walls aren't flawless will look absolutely terrible.


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/9/2009


I am not sure what your installer is suggesting, as to do what you are saying he'd have to cut a piece of drywall to create alternating seams. I have never seen an installer install drywall vertically as some have suggested, (not to say that will not work, I have just never seen it done that way) nor have I ever seen an installer put sheetrock in with alternating horizontal seams.  Hey, but if it works, great. 

Chuck


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By Chuck in Charlotte, NC on 2/9/2009


I would also challenge you to come into my house and find the sheetrock seam.  Of course it'd be easy, because you know it is at either the 4' level or the 4'6" level.  My point would be that you can not see any of the seams and if your installer is suggesting otherwise, I'd suggest another installer.

Chuck


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 2/9/2009


Kenneth, my contractor also mentioned something about alternating the seams. I have been watching him work and noticed that he feathers out the mud on the seams a lot wider than the photos I see here. He just finished the ceiling of my pool room and almost the entire ceiling is mudded. He uses two different types of mud and does four layers. He does it in very thin coats. It looks like it doesn't even need to be sanded - but of course he will.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/10/2009


You can tour plenty of new houses around here at Parade time, you might be disappointed with sheetrock finish. As an amateur, I was certainly disappointed with this, if you can't even pay for good sheetrock what cost cutting are you hiding behind those walls?

I selected my sheetrocker based on good references first, price second. I try not to get in the way of telling the professionals what to do or how to do their job, I focus more on the endpoint. If my sheetrocker says different height seams are better, I have no experience to say they are not. My sheetrocker also glued and screwed the sheetrock on the ICF, again that was his past experience with ICF and probably completely unnecessary. My end result was very good, the price paid was fair, and for that I am pleased.


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