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Can You Use Drywall For Flooring? (How To)

There are times when we want to use some unusual building materials for simple tasks. This could include using drywall for flooring. Is it possible?

Drywall should not be used for regular or finished flooring. Using it could be dangerous, especially if it was used in the wrong manner or if it didn’t have appropriate subflooring.

House renovation with drywall flooring

Although it would be one thing to say that flooring should never be made out of drywall, there are some rare instances when it can be used for that purpose.

The real key in using drywall for flooring successfully is in using it for the proper purpose.

Although I would never recommend that drywall be put on the floor permanently to my clients, there have been some instances when they wanted it done and I did it.

Actually, there were some instances when it turned out well, but it required some special treatments and was not going to be a long-lasting option, such as tile or hardwood floors.

First of all, you should never use drywall for a subfloor if the floor itself is exposed to open rafters. Plywood does not have the necessary strength to hold a person in that situation, and it could easily break through, causing you to fall to the next level.

The only reason why you would use drywall as a subfloor is if you were putting it over an existing subfloor, such as a concrete slab or plywood. Even then, it isn’t a good idea but there may be times when you need to cut corners and it can work in a pinch.

In addition, drywall should never be used in an area of the home with a lot of use. If you are walking through the area or living in the area regularly, the drywall floor will quickly show some wear and tear.

The problem is in the construction of drywall. If you were to drop something on a tile floor and chip the floor, it isn’t going to be a huge deal.

On the other hand, if you damage a drywall floor, it will tear through the paper and show the gypsum on the inside of the drywall. It won’t take much more to cause it to start going downhill even further.

Even if you do take all of the precautions for using drywall as a flooring material, it is still not going to have the strength of other types of flooring. Simply walking on the floor regularly can cause it to crack and crumble.

Let’s take some time to consider some alternatives to drywall flooring. These can be used in place of drywall and, at times, may offer you the finished look you desire on a budget.

Concrete: If you finish a concrete slab properly, it can be a beautiful addition to the home. You may have to make some repairs to the concrete if you were considering covering it with drywall, but count the cost.

Floated Floor: Aside from concrete, you can also float the floor using Ardex, or another suitable material. This should be done if the subfloor is stable and will not move. Otherwise, it could easily crack as you walk on it.

Tile: There are some reasonable options for tile and it will last a lot longer than drywall. If you aren’t able to afford ceramic or porcelain tile, try using peel and stick vinyl tiles.

Vinyl Sheet: If you are looking for a smooth, finished look, you can get it using a vinyl sheet floor. As long as you have a smooth and defect-free subfloor, the vinyl sheet will give you a nice, long-lasting floor under your feet.

Laminate: If you shop at the right time, you can find some nice laminate floors on sale. These can be very reasonable and will look beautiful once they are installed.

Carpet: One final recommendation is to lay carpeting in the room. This is not going to suit every taste, but there are some nice options available that cover almost anything you would want out of a floor.

The bottom line is, although there are times when you may want the finished look of drywall on the floor, it is not going to provide a suitable surface for you to live day to day.

Should You Use Drywall For Flooring? (Any Problems To Look Out For)

House renovation with drywall flooring

We have already discussed the fact that you should not typically use drywall for the floor. In this section, we will look at some of the specifics as to why you would not want to do it.

These are not given to tell you not to use drywall for flooring, it is to help you avoid the problems if that is possible.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on June 3, 2023.

Moisture: One big problem with drywall is that it doesn’t stand up well to moisture. If you spill something on the surface and wipe it up immediately, it is not going to be as big of a problem.

On the other hand, if moisture gets into the drywall, it is going to ruin it. Within a short time, mold can start growing and the material will deteriorate.

Even high humidity can lead to problems over time. Unlike other types of flooring material that can stand up to moisture, drywall can’t handle it at all.

Durability: When you walk on a floor, you are causing possible damage to it every time. This can be a problem, as drywall doesn’t handle much use or abuse.

Drywall was meant to be used on the wall. We rarely ever come in contact with it, so it is suitable for vertical installation but, on the floor, it is going to be a problem right away.

Weight: If you put any weight on drywall, it is likely to crack and crumble. This can happen, even if you have a suitable subfloor supporting it.

On the other hand, using drywall over open rafters is a recipe for disaster. Without the proper support, anyone walking on the drywall between the rafters is putting themselves at risk of falling through.

Installation: Aside from all of the other issues we discussed, it can be difficult to install drywall as a flooring material. This is especially true when it comes to cutting and fitting the floor.

Code: Finally, it is unlikely that any community or city will allow drywall to be installed as a flooring material. If you check with the local AHJ, you will likely find that they have regulations that specifically prohibit the use of drywall on the floor.

What Preparations Do You Need To Use Drywall For Flooring

House renovation with drywall flooring

If you are set on using drywall on the floor, despite the fact that it isn’t recommended, you want to install it the right way. Here is how you prepare for the project.

Subfloor: The only way you should ever install drywall on the floor is if it is supported by a suitable subfloor. This could include material, such as a concrete slab or plywood.

Check the subfloor for any defects and repair them before installing drywall. If there are any defects, including high and low spots, it is likely to crack the drywall the first time pressure is put on it.

The drywall must be installed flat on the subfloor with no gaps.

Clean: You can’t overclean a subfloor before installing drywall. Any dirt or debris left behind is going to be a problem that could possibly cause the drywall to crack under pressure.

Sweep the subfloor and then use a shop vac. Make sure you are also getting dirt and debris out of any small gaps in the subfloor. Wash the floor with a damp mop and allow it to dry.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on June 3, 2023.

How To Use Drywall For Flooring

House renovation with drywall flooring

Now that everything is prepared, you can begin the process of installing the drywall. Here are the steps to take.

Start Installing: All of the sheets you install in the middle of the room should be full sheets. The only cuts you make should be on the edge of the room or around an obstacle.

PRO TIP: As you are installing the drywall, try to stagger the joints as much as possible. This will help to limit the natural tendency of the floor to move and will add a little strength to it.

Measure and Cut: After measuring to cut the drywall for the edge of the room, make the drywall and carefully cut it using a straightedge and utility knife. Be careful not to cut the hand holding the straight edge.

Cut through the paper on the first pass and slightly into the gypsum. Lift the drywall and put pressure on the backside of the board. It will break cleanly at the score mark. You can then cut the paper on the back of the drywall.

Finishing: Use drywall tape and compound to fill in the gaps between the sheets of drywall. Sand the surface of the drywall to smooth out the drywall compound. Repeat until smooth.

At this point, the only thing left to do is to prime and paint. Choose a primer that is suitable for the paint you are using.

After painting the drywall, do your best never to walk on it. A drywall floor is good for show but not good for use.

Drywall is not recommended for use as flooring material. It does not have the strength or durability to be used as a subfloor or a finished floor. The only reason to use drywall for flooring is if it will be in a showroom and will not be walked on.

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