Should I Add Flooring Before Or After Drywall

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Last updated: April 7, 2023

Drywall creates a smooth surface that you can decorate with paint or wallpaper. Building in the correct order can save you time and energy, whether you’re constructing a new room, transforming a garage, or remodeling an old one. When installing new flooring and drywall simultaneously, hang the drywall first, and you should install the flooring last.

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Standard Home Construction Procedures

We typically install subflooring before drywall in most new-home construction. The subfloor serves two purposes: it provides a safe walking surface and the structural foundation to which the stud walls attach.

Framing Stage

We perform the installation of the subfloor during the framing phase. The contractor will build the floor system after the foundation gets finished. Either they will attach floor trusses or floor joists to the base of the building for this purpose. Large sheets of plywood or OSB with a tongue-and-groove pattern are used to construct the subfloor, which is then fastened directly to the joists or trusses. After installing the subfloor, the contractor can begin framing the exterior and interior walls.

Mechanical Stage

After the subfloor is in place, mechanical contractors such as electricians and plumbers can start running wires and installing pipes on the walls. Because the mechanical contractors require access to the wall studs, there is a better time to hang drywall at this stage.

Before Drywall Installation

Hanging the drywall can only happen when the mechanical contractors have finished their work. Finished work occurs when windows and doors get installed, the roof gets installed, and all phases of the exterior wall boxing, side, and insulation are complete.

Drywall is a type of paneling made of compressed gypsum and thick paper used to create a flat and uniform surface on walls. It is crucial that the house’s protective “envelope” be in place before we bring drywall panels inside, as you must shield them from moisture and rain.

Putting Up Drywall

The drywall gets installed by always starting with the ceiling. Drywall for the ceiling is installed first, followed by the upper row of wall panels, which are pressed against the top. It’s essential to push the lower wall panels tightly against the upper wall panels before you’re done installing them. We slip simple foot jacks between the lower panels and the subfloor, and the drywall installer steps on them to lift the panels into position.

Install Flooring

After completing the drywall, taping, and painting, you can put in the finished flooring. You can achieve a finished floor by installing carpet, tile, vinyl, or hardwood over the subfloor. The final flooring installation can raise the floor by 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch. Base trim, installed at floor level but fastens to the wall studs, is used to conceal any gaps between the finish and the drywall after installing the flooring.

Why Should Flooring Installation Follow Drywall Installation

Save Time And Prevent Clutter

If time is of the essence, installing the drywall and taping out of the walls should come first. Most construction manuals and guidelines advise starting this project from the ceiling and working your way down.

Because additional precautions are required to prevent joint compounds from dripping onto the floor, if we install the floor before the walls, the total time needed to finish the walls may increase. If you have no choice but to begin with, the floor, use drop cloths that do not slide around to ensure your safety. Plastic drop cloths are not a good idea because they become dangerously slick when taping.

Reduce Potential Floor Damage

Not only is it a messy process, but the crumbled drywall pieces and joint compound drips can cause damage to the flooring that is already there. There is a risk of water damage as well.

If the floor is made of wood, stepping on a screw that has fallen can leave a scratch that will not disappear for a long time after the incident. If the flooring is the last thing to be installed, you will only need to sweep or scrape the debris off of the subfloor before laying down the new flooring.

The How-To’s Of Setup

Drywall installers frequently look to the floor as a reference point when locating electrical boxes and studs in a wall. Marking the subfloor with a pencil to show the location of a utility box or switch installed in a new area is standard practice for the person performing the installation.

While taping and sanding the wall, the marks on the subfloor will serve as landmarks that are used to position the elements and guide the drywall cutter. The brand-new flooring will conceal the scuffs.

Humidity Issues

The drywall taping brings significant moisture into the area of work. To properly install manufactured hardwood, or hardwood, it is necessary to follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Wood flooring is a natural material; it expands and contracts depending on the relative humidity in the air and the temperature in the surrounding environment. Therefore, the manufacturer may recommend allowing the wood to acclimate to the room’s climate for at least two weeks to prevent the wood from swelling or warping.


To prevent the flooring from being damaged during the drywall installation and finishing process, it is best to install the drywall first, then finish and prime it before laying the flooring.

Before laying the flooring, put up the walls and ceilings and finish the painting with a primer and the first coat. This way, less paint will fall onto the new floor, and you can give the area a good scrub before laying the final flooring. The final coat of paint should conceal any imperfections on the floor and gets applied after the flooring and trim get set in place.

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