Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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Top 3 Ceiling Tile Installer Jobs

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    Includes wires that fasten to buildings structure that provides support for the acoustical ceiling grid. Essential Tasks • Read and understand

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    Replace damaged ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and wall coverings. Some grounds keeping as well. Candidates MUST have a valid Drives

  • Flooring Installer - Jack Laurie Group - Fort Wayne, IN

    We install carpet, tile, hardwood, vinyl, VCT, as well as a variety of specialty (sports) surfaces. We currently have a specific need for Epoxy

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What Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers and Tapers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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.

Duties

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

  • Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
  • Determine the precise locations of electrical outlets, plumbing, and windows
  • Cut drywall or ceiling tiles to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
  • Fasten panels and tiles, using cement adhesive, nails, screws, or clips
  • 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 to a smooth, seamless finish

Drywall is the most commonly used interior wall covering. The ability to use a wide variety of finishes over properly prepared drywall, as well as low installation costs, drive its popularity. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, drywall dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

To hang and prepare ceilings, workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds. Once wallboards are hung, workers use progressively wider trowels to spread multiple coats of sealing compound 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.

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.

Work Environment for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers[About this section] [To Top]

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, hold about 127,000 jobs, of which 66 percent work in the drywall and insulation contractors industry. About 1 in 5 are self-employed.

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, work indoors. As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Workers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they must often lift and maneuver heavy, oversized wallboard.

Because the work creates a lot of dust, which irritates the skin, eyes, and lungs, workers may wear protective masks, goggles, and gloves. Common injuries falls from ladders or stilts, cuts from sharp tools, and muscle strains from lifting heavy materials.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, and Taper Work Schedules

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, work full time.

About 1 in 5 are self-employed. Self-employed installers and tapers may be able to set their own schedule.

How to Become a Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer or Tapers[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer and Tapers near you!

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job. A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer and Taper Education

Although there are no education requirements for becoming a drywall and ceiling tile installers, or taper, high school math and vocational technical courses are considered useful.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer and Taper Training

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job by helping more experienced workers and gradually being given more duties. They start by carrying materials and cleaning up, and then learn to use the tools of the trade. They also learn to measure, cut, and install or apply materials. Employers usually provide some on-the-job training, lasting up to 12 months.

A few drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical work and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn construction basics related to blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices.

A few groups, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering such a program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to perform the work

After completing an apprenticeship program, they are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own.

Important Qualities

Balance. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, often wear stilts. They must be able to move around and use tools overhead without falling.

Math skills. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, use math skills for measurement on every job. For example, they must be able to estimate the quantity of materials needed and measure accurately when cutting panels.

Physical stamina. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, constantly lift and move heavy materials into place, so workers should be in good physical shape.

Physical strength. Drywall and ceiling tile installers must often lift heavy panels over their heads to secure onto the ceiling.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer and Taper Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers is $39,220. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,030.

The median annual wage for tapers is $47,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,720.

The starting wage for apprentices is usually between 40 percent and 50 percent of what fully trained drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers make. As apprentices learn to do more, they receive pay increases.

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, work full time.

About 1 in 5 are self-employed. Self-employed installers and tapers may be able to set their own schedule.

Job Outlook for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, is projected to grow 5 percent through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Drywall is, and will continue to be, the most common interior wall covering in nearly every building. As a result, new residential and commercial building construction will drive demand for workers. Home-remodeling projects are also expected to create jobs, because existing homes and other buildings will require improvements.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Job Prospects

Job prospects for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, are expected to be good as building construction and remodeling activity continue to grow. As with many other construction workers, employment is sensitive to fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, these workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, with a good employment history and experience in the construction industry should have the best job opportunities.

Employment projections data for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers 127,000 133,600 5 6,600
  Drywall and ceiling tile installers 106,000 111,500 5 5,500
  Tapers 21,000 22,100 5 1,100


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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