Beneath the surface of the rooms we inhabit are the materials that make up walls and ceilings. The exacting workers who construct these interior surfaces are drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers. Drywall installers attach wallboard to create walls in new construction, or to remodel existing spaces. They measure and cut wallboard with exacting precision, and hang the panels on wooden or metal framing. Tapers cover drywall seams with paper or fiberglass mesh tape so walls are ready for the final coating of plaster, paint, or wallpaper. They sand joints and holes as needed to create a seamless finish. Ceiling tile installers create the framework for suspended ceilings, cut ceiling tiles to size, and insert them in the frames. These workers spend hours each day standing, bending, climbing up and down ladders, and lifting materials. Skilled with both manual and power tools, they may use mechanical lifts for ceiling work, or stand on stilts or scaffolds to reach the work surface. They wear protective masks, goggles, and gloves as needed. Most drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers work for drywall contractors, and learn their trade on the job. Knowledge of basic math is helpful, but there are no formal education requirements. In this field, when your back is up against the wall… the job is done.

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.

What Do Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Do?

Duties

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers typically do the following:

  • Measure, mark, and cut panels according to design plans by using tape measures, straightedges, utility knives, and power saws
  • Fasten panels and tiles by using glue, nails, or screws
  • 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 is a commonly used interior wall covering. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, it also dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

Workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds to hang and prepare ceilings. Once wallboards are hung, workers use trowels to spread coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and other 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.