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Can You Put 5/8 Drywall on Ceiling? (Explained)

Would you like to use some drywall for something other than a wall? The versatility of drywall allows it to be used for many purposes, from installing ceilings to building partitions. However, can you install 5/8 drywall on a ceiling? It’s time to find out.

Can you put 5/8 drywall on ceiling?

You can install ceilings using 5/8 drywall. To accomplish this task, you will need drywall tape, a level, and a saw. On average, ceilings up to 16 inches thick can be covered with 5/8″ drywall. There may be a need for thicker drywall if the ceiling is thicker. 

Be sure that there is enough headroom when installing the drywall since it is not advisable to install it above the ceiling light fixture or outlet. Ceilings usually require a drywall of a thickness of 5/8″, which is usually sufficient for most applications. 

It’s also relatively easy to set up, so you can start using it right away. As a result, if you’re planning on installing a ceiling using drywall tape and a level, 5/8″ is an acceptable thickness. 

Always allow for headroom when installing the drywall, and be mindful of any potential conflicts with lighting or other equipment.

Furthermore, there is a possibility that you have enough 5/8″ drywall to make four ceiling tiles. If so, you can cut the sheets into four-foot lengths (ideally shorter) and screw them together with glue or nails at one of the long edges. 

Decorative tiles of this type should not be supported by ceiling supports. As all the weight is supported on the edges of the tiles, there is nothing that takes that force inwards for support above.

What size drywall should I use on a ceiling?

For the ceiling, you should use 5/8 or 3/8 inch drywall. 5/8 drywall is used when the ceiling is less than 16 inches thick. The thickness of the ceiling must be at least 16 inches to use 3/8 drywall. 

Depending on the ceiling thickness, be sure to use the correct thickness of the drywall and allow for headroom.

However, the choice often depends on where you are installing the ceiling. The type of ceiling will be chosen by a professional contractor after checking the thickness of the ceiling. Therefore, if necessary, a 3/8 inch drywall shouldn’t be considered inappropriate.  

Rather, they are determined by safety requirements such as work floors, egress paths, and fire code compliance concerns that may require greater strength or functionality.

Do you have to use 5/8 drywall on ceiling?

Generally, you have to use 5/8 drywall for ceilings. 3/8 inch drywall is recommended if you are using a higher density foam on your ceilings, such as Infiniti expanding foam or Raytek’s Icynene insulation. 

Insulation of this thickness will prevent electrical wires from being dragged down by their weight. A ceiling less than 16 inches thick can also be covered with 5/8 inch drywall.

In the case of ceilings with a thickness of 16 inches or more, 3/4-inch drywall is the better choice. To ensure that the drywall is installed correctly, be sure that you allow sufficient headroom and that you use the appropriate thickness depending on the thickness of the ceiling.

Why 5/8 drywall on the ceiling?

The best choice for ceilings seems to be 5/8 drywall. Here are some reasons why 5/8 drywall is a good choice for ceilings.

Suitable for electrical connection on ceiling:

The thickness of the foam will not pull down on the electrical cables or ignite them. 5/8 drywall protects against fires and heat that can cause problems with wiring materials (such as insulation). There may be a slight weight increase when installing 3/8 drywall. 

However, it will allow for greater support from ceiling anchors, which can help avoid problems such as sagging ceilings that place added strain on cables.


Adding a layer of drywall to a room will provide headroom if a second layer is needed in the future. Besides, it will make the room easier to hang speakers and lights in the future. You can also hang pictures or artwork on the walls of the room here.

Enough thickness:

To use 5/8 inch foam on a 16″ thick ceiling, 1.5 inches of drywall would be needed.

 Increasing the thickness of wires can cause them to sag and possibly cause electrical fires or be cut through by tools used during construction or repair work requiring special precautions (like escaping smoke).

Why is it standard to use 5/8 drywall on the ceiling of a room?

5/8 drywall is the standard size for ceilings for a few reasons. The first reason is that the size of the panel allows for the evenest coverage of drywall. The seams between the drywall sheets become more visible when you use a smaller drywall size. 

Additionally, 5/8 drywall is the standard size because it is the most affordable and easiest to find.

Also, the majority of ceiling fixtures are standard sizes and can be found in the majority of home improvement stores. 

In the case of outlet boxes, for instance, you can choose between three different thicknesses, from 3/8-inch to one inch, so that you don’t have to use drywall in different places around the house.

How far can 5/8 drywall span on a ceiling?

It is common for 5/8-inch-thick drywall to span up to 24 inches on a ceiling. There may be times when it is necessary to use less drywall depending on the size of a fixture or the height of the ceiling. 

As a general rule, you can cut away the excess drywall so that the total span does not exceed 24 inches.

You should, however, ensure that when you lay your drywall you are fully attaching every piece of ceiling cover to the beams or walls. 

Install metal corner plates between each drywall sheet at the point where it meets a beam or wall surface, and cover the metal corner plates with wood trim that is screwed around the opening of the sheet. 

For extra strength and stability, it is best to install these trim strips with at least two screws.

How to install 5/8 drywall on the ceiling? 

The process of installing drywall is not as difficult as it may seem. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a 5/8 drywall to the ceiling on your own.

Remove the old drywall:

The area where you intend to install your new drywall should be cleared of all old drywall and insulation. If any light fixtures or electrical boxes are hanging from the ceiling, they should be removed.

Lay down the sheet:

Depending on how much room you have, you may want to lay your sheet of 5/8 drywall on the floor or even in a large room where you will work. Make sure that all seams are covered with joint compounds before you install your new drywall so there will be no visible seams.

Paint the seam:

It is important to paint your drywall seams with joint compounds before you begin to install them. Using this technique, any imperfections will be hidden and it will be easier to prime and sand later on.

Start installing your drywall:

The first sheet of drywall should be laid in line with the seams on the floor or wall using a trowel or claw hammer. You should use templates if they are available throughout your project to ensure consistent cuts.

Use screws and nails:

It is necessary to attach the sheets of drywall with screws and nails to complete the task. Use at least two screws per screw to make sure your drywall is secure and won’t move during its installation.

Continue installing panels:

Using the same techniques as before, install additional sheets of 5/8 drywall in line with the previous ones. New drywall should be installed over any exposed trim and finishes.

Finish the job:

Use a finish such as joint compound or skim coat to seal and sand the surface after the drywall has been installed. Keep an eye out for any missed spots or seams, and touch up any blemishes before you finish.

Final Thoughts

In general, 5/8 inch drywall can be installed on ceilings up to 2 inches thick. Thicker drywall is recommended for thicker ceilings. A standard ceiling thickness is 5/8 inches. A thickness of this size is acceptable. Using a thicker ceiling can increase its durability.