Tapers Drywall and Ceiling Installer Job

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Drywall Installer

With the construction industry moving in a positive direction (especially residential and commercial) the need for drywall and ceiling tile installers along with tapers, are all in demand and by the way, these trades work hand-in-hand and are interchangeable.  Please note that ceiling tile installers do not install or lay down flooring.  Both dry wall and ceiling tile installers do the following:  hang wallboards to walls and ceilings and also installs ceiling tiles inside buildings; while Tapers prepare the wallboards for painting, using tape and other materials. Many workers do both installing and taping.

Drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers work indoors. As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers spend most of the day standing, bending, or stretching and they often must lift and maneuver heavy, oversized wallboards. Injuries include falls from mechanical lifts, ladders, or scaffolds and stilts (yes stilts.) Other injuries can come from cuts from sharp tools and muscle strains from lifting heavy materials. The work also can produce dust, which can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.

Although most drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers learn their trade on the job, some learn through an apprenticeship.

Drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers held about 134,000 jobs in 2014, of which 68 percent worked in the drywall and insulation contractors industry. About 23 percent were self-employed.

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2015 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Although there are no education requirements to become a drywall installer, it is deemed useful to have both high school math and general shop courses under your belt.

A few groups, including some contractor associations will sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering such a program are as follows:

  • Age Requirements:Minimum age of 18.
  • Education:High school education or equivalent and general shop courses are considered useful.
  • Strong math skills: Drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers use basic math skills on every job. For example, they must be able to estimate the quantity of materials needed and measure accurately when cutting panels. 
  • Physically able to perform the work:
  1. 1.    Physical stamina. Because installers and tapers constantly lift and move heavy materials into place, workers should be in good physical shape.
  2. 2.    Physical strength. Standard drywall sheets can weigh 50 to 100 pounds. Drywall and ceiling tile installers often must lift heavy panels over their heads to secure onto the ceiling.

Trained workers with a good work history and experience in the construction industry have the best job opportunities.

Okay, so you feel you want to go into this line of work.  Check out below what your typical day will look like on the job.

Drywall installers typically do the following:

  • Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
  • Measure the locations of electrical outlets, plumbing, and windows
  • Cut drywall to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
  • Fasten drywall panels to interior wall studs, using nails or screws
  • Trim and smooth rough edges so that boards join evenly

Ceiling tile installers typically do the following:

  • Measure ceiling tile to match blueprints or drawings
  • Nail, screw, or clip in supports
  • Put tiles or sheets of shock-absorbing materials on and into ceilings  
  • Keep the tile in place with cement adhesive, nails, screws, or clips

Tapers typically do the following:

  • Prepare wall surfaces (wallboard) by patching nail holes
  • Apply tape and use sealing compound to cover joints between wallboards
  • Apply additional coats of sealing compound to create an even surface
  • Sand all joints and holes to a smooth, seamless finish

Installers can also be called framers or hangers. Tapers also are called finishers. Ceiling tile installers sometimes are called acoustical carpenters because they work with tiles that block sound. In addition to performing new installation, many installers and tapers do repair work by fixing damaged drywall and replacing ceiling tile.

Once wallboards are hung, workers use increasingly wider trowels to spread multiple coats of spackle 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.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program