basic drywall tools

Top 20 Basic Drywall Tools You Should Know

As a drywall contractor, the duty of your business is to give people a higher level of service than they could complete on their own with DIY work. Part of this comes from the expertise of your team, but also from the tools you have. To do various drywall work, a single homeowner/property owner would need to buy dozens of tools to get the job done.

Investing in quality equipment can quickly become a financial burden, which is how you can market your business—as an alternative to the hefty upfront cost of a DIY drywall installation project. However, to do this, you need to have all the basic drywall tools to manage any job. But what are those exactly? Here’s a checklist you can use for your business.

basic drywall tools

Top 20 basic drywall tools every contractor needs

1. Drywall knife

A drywall knife is one of the first items that your teams should be putting together when getting ready to go out on a job. These flat blades are used to apply drywall mud over seams so they can be sealed. Different sizes are used for different areas. For example, 6-inch knives are used for the initial application, while the 12-inch one is more for final coats.

2. Drywall lifts

This isn’t necessary if you have multiple people on a job, but in some cases, you may need the added support. This apparatus helps lift drywall sheets into place when only one worker is present.

3. Jab saw

Jab saws are one of those tools with a very specific purpose, but an essential one. In this case, it’s cutting holes in drywall, generally 6 to 8 inches in length.

Photo by lunamarina

4. Electric drywall saw

Think of this as the larger-scale take on the jab saw. Rather than penetrating holes, this is used to create fast and powerful cuts through large drywall sheets.

5. Utility knife

Not to be confused with your drywall knife, this is a general all-purpose tool any contractor should have for any project, drywall, or not.

6. T-square

Carpenters are already familiar with this to make the most accurate cuts possible. However, your typical carpenter T-squares are too small for a drywall job. Drywall T-squares are around 4 feet in length.

tape measure
Photo by Dmitry Naumov

7. Tape measure

In some cases, you may need to make more specific measurements outside of what your basic tape measure can provide. Having a tape measure on hand means you stay covered.

8. Dust Mask

Drywall dust is going to get kicked up while you work, no matter how good you are at your job. A mask makes sure the dust particles don’t enter your lungs.

9. Drywall corner knife

While your normal drywall knife will do most of the legwork in terms of applying the material, it doesn’t necessarily work that well in corners. These specialized knives have a 90-degree angle to make things easier.

10. Drywall mud pan

When applying drywall, you’re going to get excess material on your drywall knife. A mud pan nearby gives you an efficient way to keep your knife clean.

mud pan
Photo by Tuzemka

11. Carpenter’s pencil

Sometimes, while making all the measurements to put together a drywall installation, you need some additional markings to keep track of what you are doing. Carpenter’s pencils fill this purpose perfectly.

12. Mixers

In some situations, you need to actually create the drywall yourself before applying. Having a mixer allows you to create larger quantities of drywall at a faster rate for larger jobs.

13. Pan grips

If you use a drywall mud pan, this ensures that it won’t accidentally tip over and create a mess as you put more and more excess material in it.

texture spray
Photo by Dagmara_K

14. Texture sprayers

While sanding can help with the finish, sometimes, you want a more specific texture for the final drywall. A texture sprayer can do this at a rapid pace.

15. Drywall screws

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to secure your drywall, drywall screws are the best option. Note that there are many different options here in terms of thread sizes. However, for most drywall installations, you’ll want to use ⅝-inch screws.

16. Drywall screw gun

Rather than individually inserting screws, this tool allows you to quickly secure and hang drywall. Ideally, you want to use a cordless drill for this purpose for maximum versatility.

Photo by FotoDuets

17. Sanding sponges

These sponges are generally used for touch-ups after the wall is installed to create a consistent finish. Most sponges have one abrasive side and one smooth side. These are generally preferable to sanding sheets because they are easier to handle and manipulate.

18. Sanding pole

Many people use sanding sponges to wear down drywall after installation to provide a finish. However, in some cases, it can be difficult to reach certain areas with a single drywall sanding sponge. These poles give you a more extensive reach.

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19. Corner sander

Like the corner drywall knife, this makes sure you get a more consistent sanding finish in the corners of rooms.

Photo by Dagmara_K

20. Contractor software

Lastly, let’s talk about a different type of tool. Contractors in drywall are likely juggling different jobs at the same time, all with different needs and roadmaps to success. Investing in project management software gets more important, the more business you take on. Record the progress of each drywall project and the resources required to make sure you can keep the quality of service to a universal standard.

Granted, you may not need every single one of these basic drywall tools. However, as a drywall contractor, you need to be prepared for the rigors of every job. As a result, you should consider having at least some of each of these tools in your resource stockpile to support your clients. In addition, you want to be mindful of where you source your tools. The cheapest tools may not be the best tools for your business. If you find yourself needing to redo parts of a job due to poor quality, or making frequent replacements, you may actually be spending more in the long run. Be sure to chart how often you need to restock or repair your tools.