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Drop Ceiling vs. Drywall: Cost and Other Considerations!

Drop Ceiling vs. Drywall: Cost and Other Considerations!

You finally have a home of your own! But it doesn’t feel like yours yet. It feels like it was made for someone else.

This is true, as you are not the original owners.

You’re going to hire a renovator or a contractor to change the ceilings and then you’ll move on to the patio, the kitchen, and then the furniture.

But what kind of ceiling do you want in your home?

At first, you were considering a drywall ceiling, but you’ve noticed there are some great drop ceilings out there. Which one is better?

There are various pros and cons that apply to both drop ceilings and drywall ceilings. For people looking for customization, the drop ceiling cannot be beat. But if you plan to resell your home, drywall ceilings are the way to go, as they’re hearty and require almost no maintenance.

But they absorb heat which will keep rooms hotter, especially in the summer.

Drop Ceiling vs. Drywall

What is a Drywall Ceiling?

As its name suggests, a drywall ceiling is a ceiling made of drywall. Drywall ceilings are a common sight in many residential homes.

Drop Ceiling

What is a Drop Ceiling?

It is very rare to find a drop ceiling in a residence. Drop ceilings are used for businesses, especially high-rise buildings, as well as small businesses and public buildings.

But drop ceilings can provide another level of customization, the uniqueness that other siblings just can’t do.

Plus, if you’re on the creative side, you can exchange Audi drop ceiling tiles for a new design every few years.

The Pros and Cons of a Drywall Ceiling


Fire Resistant: A drywall ceiling will last longer in a house fire. This means you will have more time to escape before the ceiling comes crashing down.

Everyone knows how to work with drywall: Drywall is one of the most basic materials that contractors and DIYers learn to use.

Material is available everywhere: Drywall is in most American and Canadian homes. It’s hard to remember a time where drywall material ran out.

In the event of a drywall ceiling damage, materials are always available for quick and easy repair.


Easily damaged by water: Ask any homeowner who’s had their house for over 10 years and they will tell you horror stories about their drywall ceilings and water damage.

Drywall and water do not mix. Even a bit of water damage can cause a costly repair bill. Do not install a drywall ceiling underneath restrooms, showers, or a room with water heaters.

Takes a lot of time and labor to install: There’s no way that you and a friend can install a drywall ceiling by yourself. It usually takes a contractor’s crew to install a single drywall ceiling.

Drywall is heavy and the construction crew needs to lay in the infrastructure before the ceiling can be installed.

The Pros and Cons of a Drop Ceiling


Customization: No other ceiling allows the homeowner to customize and change the look of the ceiling in just an hour or so.

Removing the tiles and adding new ones can completely change the look of the room. With drop ceilings, even the positions of the light fixtures, fans, and vents are changeable.

Easier to repair than drywall: Compared to many other types of ceiling materials, drywall is easy to repair. But nothing is easier than replacing damaged tiles with new ones.

Lower electricity bills: Because of the decreased wall height, there will be less room to warm up or cool. If you use your air conditioner and heater in the spring, summer and winter, you might just see your electricity bill drop.


Will not increase the value of home: This is only an issue if you plan to sell your home. Most home buyers do not see a drop ceiling as positive. They do not want to deal with replacing the tiles if they break or fall to the floor.

It may be harder to sell a home with drop ceilings. Unless you are selling to someone who has tastes to yours, do not expect home buyers to be persuaded by the sight of drop ceilings in your home.

In fact, some people will take one look at the drop ceiling and head right out the door.

Ceiling will be lower than regular ceiling height: Obviously, you do not replace your current ceiling with a drop ceiling. The drop ceiling is installed underneath the existing ceiling.

So, the height of the room will decrease. Drop ceilings should only be installed in rooms that have a high wall height.

Do not install a drop ceiling in an older house, which has smaller rooms and lower ceiling heights.

Drop ceilings are also not recommended for earthquake zones.

Most business and commercial buildings do have drop ceilings, even if they buildings are in a region or area that is prone to earthquakes.

But the drop panels in residential buildings are not heavy at all. The panels designed for residential buildings may be much heavier than the commercial building panels.

If the manufacturer discontinues your favorite tile, then it’s over: What issue that you will have to face with drop ceilings is the manufacturer’s discontinuing unpopular tiles.

You may want to buy a few extra tiles when you buy a tile set, so you can use the extra tiles as replacements in the future.

Cost of a Drop Ceiling vs. Drywall Ceiling

Drop Ceiling

The average cost of a drop ceiling for a single 400ft room is between $2,000 and $11,000. This price includes both materials and the cost of labor.

The cost of a drop ceiling is split between the ceiling tiles and the grid system.

Drywall Ceiling

Drywall Ceiling

With square footage in mind, the average cost of a 400ft drywall ceiling is the same as a drop ceiling is around $1,000 to $4,800.

This price includes both the materials and the labor.

Cost by Square Foot

According to, the average cost of drywall is 1 to $3 per square foot. Once the drywall is installed, it will have to be painted.

This brings the cost up to $2 to $6 per square foot. However, some types are significantly more expensive. The average cost of a drywall drop ceiling by square feet is $5 and $28.

Online Cost Calculators

There are several cost calculators on the internet that can provide a ballpark estimate of drywall and drop ceiling costs.

Plus, each calculator can also provide costs relative to your area and the average cost of material.

We recommend using the drywall ceiling calculator from and the drop ceiling calculator from

Conclusion to Drywall vs. Drop Ceilings

Drywall ceilings are fire resistant, can be repaired by practically anybody, and material to make or repair them is abundant.

Drop ceilings can be customized multiple times a decade in just a day or so. Both the grid and the tile are extremely light, so they are easy to install. Even DIYers can install a drop ceiling.

However, homes with drop ceilings do not sell as quickly. Plus, drop ceilings shorten the height of a room, as you have to install the drop ceiling underneath the existing ceiling.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.