Sunday, October 1, 2023

How to measure and calculate the necessary amount of drywall for dry construction?

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The drywall, or plasterboard, is a material that is increasingly used in construction. The installation procedure has several instances, and includes the use of various machines and toolsHowever, with technological advances, many of the issues that were solved in one way, now seek to be optimized in another way.

In this case, we will address the issue of how to calculate the amount of drywall necessary for dry build, using a laser distance meter, which generates advantages in terms of time and efficiency.

Traditionally, various elements of measuring tools were used for this task: combination squares, plumb bobs, levels, and tape measures.

In a previous article we saw an introduction to drywall, and we also saw how to properly level the plates; We will see below how to correctly measure the surfaces to calculate the necessary quantities of plasterboard to install.

How to use the laser distance meter to calculate plasterboard

Before placing and leveling, it is necessary to determine, based on the measurements of the wall, how many plasterboard or drywall we will need. For this we will use the laser distance meter, an instrument that will greatly simplify the task, because, in addition to taking the measurements with accuracy and safety, it will allow us to transfer them to a plane.

Instrument Preparation

If this is the first time you are using the tool, you will need to make the Bluetooth connection with a smartphone or tablet to download and interact (if you want to take advantage of those features). Otherwise, you just need to recharge the device and take some known action to see that it is working properly.

Application in use – Laser Distance Meter

To make the Bluetooth connection, turn on this feature on your smartphone or tablet and, after a few seconds, press the button with the Bluetooth symbol on your laser meter. Allow a few seconds for your phone or tablet to discover the new device and it is ready to go. His laser distance meter you can now operate and upload all the measurements to your phone or tablet.


Drywall in preparation (Photo courtesy: Commons Wikimedia)
Drywall in preparation (Photo courtesy: Commons Wikimedia)

Assuming that you already have installed the structure that will support the plates for the dry build (the framing, the screeds and the posts that make up the partition along with the stiffeners and the cementitious) and all the plumbing and electrical work is already done, you must take the necessary measurements to calculate how many panels of drywall or sheetrock will need to install.

Calculation for a wall without openings or cuts

To do this you will first need to know the measurements of the plasterboard, which generally come in 1.20 mx 2.40 m plates.

Place the laser distance meter on a completely vertical surface, and point the laser beam at the other wall. Do the same from the floor to the ceiling, taking care, in this case, that the laser beam points to the same height as the beginning of the upper sill.

If you have doubts about the squareness or level of any surface, simply measure it with the angle function that your laser distance meter. In the photo below we can see this function.

Angle meter function

Angle meter function

Once the measurements are obtained, it will be necessary to perform a simple division calculation.

Suppose the floor-to-ceiling measurement is exactly 2.4 m. In this case you will not need to cut any scraps to fill, since the plates measure exactly that in height.

Now let’s imagine that the length from wall to wall is 7 m. If you have 1.2 mx 2.4 m boards, you will need:

7 / 1,2 = 5,834

That is, 5 whole plates and the equivalent of 0.834 of a plate, which in meters is equivalent to:

0,834 x 1,2 ≈ 1 m

This means that in this case, you will need to cut a plate so that it is exactly one meter wide.

It is important to bear in mind that the joints between panels must not coincide with the position of any of the posts or posts.

Measurement for a wall with openings

The previous example serves as a guide to understand the measurement method, but most likely we will find a partition prepared to accommodate at least one opening. We will see here the case of a wall with a door and a window.

The first step is to select the points from which we will take the necessary measurements. To do this, we will first take the distances, from both ends of the wall to be placed, to the door. We will do the same with the window, taking special care to understand that it will be necessary to add an additional section (distance between door and window). Finally, we will take the distances from the door to the ceiling and from the floor to the window, and from this to the ceiling.

With these measurements we must make a small sketch like the one shown below.

Sketch calculation for drywall

Sketch calculation for drywall

As you can see, we have seven steps to take with it laser distance meter: to Y b represent the total length and height of the wall to be created; c Y d are the horizontal distances between walls and door; and Y F are the horizontal distances between wall and window and window and door, respectively; Finally, g Y h are the distances from the window to the ceiling and from the door, which in this particular case coincide.

Yes b is equivalent to the height of the ceiling, the calculation is reduced to finding, within the segments d, and Y F, how many plasterboard whole they fit. If it is necessary to cut all of them, take into account that when laying them, the edges do not coincide with any of the posts.

You can cut the plasterboard or drywall so that they copy the silhouette of the window or door. That way less material will be wasted.

Once your sketch is ready, you can find the best way to take advantage of your panels drywall. You will inevitably have to cut, but do so taking into account first the position of the studs and then that of the openings. Remember that, to avoid problems, the joints must not coincide with the position of the studs or posts.

Mistakes to avoid

  • It is very important to prevent the plate-to-plate contact point from coinciding with one of the posts, as this would prevent proper adhesion when applying the joint compound.
  • Use a cutter to make the cuts, starting with the front face (which will be visible when the panels are attached) and then the rear.
  • Be aware of sockets, outlets, and charging brackets.


The use of laser distance meter it will solve many problems when installing panels drywall, and it will shorten working times.

We recommend always using the Bluetooth connection between the measuring device and your smartphone; In this way, you will always keep your measurements saved, which will be used to create plans or sketches of the works you carry out. It is even possible to take pictures and by using the laser distance meter, create dimensions interactively and easily.

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