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Angie's List: Why Drywall Isn't A Great DIY Project

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There are tons of home improvement projects that lend themselves to doing it yourself.

But as Angie's List finds, there's one job that doesn't.

Painting and wallpapering are popular DIY home improvement projects, but they can quickly become complicated if your walls aren't in good shape. For most homes, that means your drywall needs to be a flat, even canvas that will easily accept your new paint or wallpaper.

"DIY projects can be a lot of fun but, honestly, drywall is a lot harder than it looks," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List. "It's heavy material, takes lots of tools. It's really best left to the professionals."

Even small drywall repair jobs can get messy and complicated but those jobs can be DIY-ed – especially if you're handy. But finishing a basement or other room with no drywall in place or installing new drywall to repair damaged walls is another story.

"The reason why it's not a good DIY job is that if you don't know what you are doing it's going to look pretty bad in the end product," said drywall contractor, Robert Morrison. "A professional knows how to install it especially in a whole house. If you go to try to do a whole house, a whole basement, it could take you days. Professional could do a house this size in a day, him and a couple of other guys."

Hanging the drywall, which can weigh 80 pounds and generally takes a three-person crew, is just step one of a four-step process.

Next comes mudding, taping and sanding, all very detailed and necessary to provide that flat, even canvas.

"For a 12x14 room it will take a professional about three or four hours to hang a room that size and a few days to finish it and get it ready for paint," said drywall contractor Andy Ferguson.

"For a 12x14 room a DIY project, it could probably turn into two weeks, if not a month, pretty quickly," he added.

If you do want to DIY this project, Angie suggests you evaluate whether you have the time and the tools to do it right. The average homeowner may not have some of the tools needed to get the job done right and may not need them again after the job is done.

"Do you have a hawk? Do you have a mud pan? Do you have a putty knife laying around your house? I know I don't," said Hicks. "Those are all different types of tools you are going to use even for a small drywall job. If you are drywalling an entire room, it's going to be even more materials. That's why this is a job when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, is really probably best priced out by a professional."

Angie's List says the cost of a professional drywall installation job for a 12x14 room starts at about $200, with extra costs coming in for those follow-up steps.

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