Can drywall touch the floor? [Explained]

Even though this may sound weird initially, the question of whether you should leave space between your drywall and floor is very common. In fact, even a very important one. 

Drywall should never touch your floor in any circumstances. You should leave at least a ½-inch gap between your drywall and the floor. Leaving no gap would result in cracks in your drywall and moisture damage seeping from your wall into your floor.

There are a lot of misconceptions about drywall and flooring. Should you leave a gap between the two? Can they touch? What comes first, the drywall or the flooring? It can be confusing trying to figure out how your walls and floors should interact, but it’s an important decision. If you get it wrong, it could mean costly repairs later on. 

Should I Leave A Gap Between Floor And Drywall?

Drywall should never touch the ground. So, leaving a gap is essential to avoid irreparable damage in the future, which might come at a great cost. According to most professionals, there should be at least ½ inch of gap between the drywall and the floor. This is also one of the main reasons why Drywall and floor should be done in the right order.

Why Should Drywall Not Touch Floor?

Knowing why you need to leave a gap is as important as leaving one. Because this will help you understand why and help you make better decisions in the future.

Here are some of the most common reasons why leaving a gap between the floor and the drywall is unavoidable:

Weather Changes

As you know, walls and floors contract and expand as the weather changes. If your drywall is sitting on the floor during the expansion stage, they’ll put a lot of pressure on each other. And because of this pressure, your drywall will crack. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons why drywall cracks. Another reason might be the lack of taping.

The same happens when your house settles. If the drywall is in direct contact with the floor, it will most probably crack due to pressure.

Uneven Floor

It’s important to note that a concrete floor is never perfectly level. Even though installing drywall will correct most of the imperfections. Even the smallest bump can cause your entire drywall sheet to be out of level if the panel is attached to the floor.

A floor that isn’t correctly leveled can cause a lot of issues. For instance, it can create gaps between drywall and the ceiling or between two drywall sheets if you decide to drywall over drywall. Moreover, it makes it quite hard to create a smooth finish, making it even more difficult to paint and wallpaper your drywall.


Moisture is the archenemy of drywall. If your drywall sheets seep in the moisture because you’ve glued them directly on a concrete wall, they can rot or flake apart. So, putting your drywall on the floor will wick up the moisture on the concrete floor. Even worse when your Drywall got wet for more than 48h. If you don’t ventilate it or use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture, you’ll have to replace the whole thing.

Moisture can destroy your entire drywall sheet. Moreover, letting your drywall touch the floor creates an ideal place for mold to grow. If you think your drywall will be in contact with water, picking moisture and mold-resistant drywall sheets is essential. They might be expensive but are worth every single penny.

What Comes First, Drywall Or Flooring?

If you’re both hanging the drywall and installing the flooring, it’s recommended to secure the drywall first and then continue with the floor afterward. This practice has several benefits. For instance, hanging the drywall beforehand offers additional protection. 

Keep in mind that both floor installation and drywall work create a lot of mess. However, doing it the other way around might mess up much more. If you install your flooring first, you’ll have to take extra measures to protect your flooring from the drywall’s mess.

Moreover, installing new flooring beforehand will make it difficult for you to create changes. This is because the drywall sheets would extend over the newly installed flooring. Alternatively, if you hang the drywall first, you can simply install new flooring without any hassle.

Additionally, you also have to worry about the humidity if you are selecting wood flooring. Taping drywall seams can increase a room’s humidity. You can drywall without taping to avoid this a little. However, wood is a natural material. It contracts and expands as the weather changes. Therefore, most experts recommend at least 2-week acclimation period after a certain room is climate-controlled.

What Should I Put Between Drywall And Basement Floor?

Leaving at least ½ inch of space between the Drywall and the floor should protect it from water if your basement floods. To get more protection from moisture, you can even put waterproof filler material between the basement floor and the drywall.

A baseboard is one of the best ways to cover the gap between the floor and drywall. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about the gap; it is an eyesore. Afterward, run a small bead of silicone caulk to seal the baseboard.

How To Put Drywall On Floor?

Hanging drywall before the new flooring is recommended. However, what if you want to install drywall sheets over an existing floor? Well, in that scenario, you can follow these steps to make sure your drywall stays at least ½ inches over the floor:

Things You’ll Need…

Before you start drywalling, here are some of the basic tools that you’ll need for this project:

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Box cutter
  • Utility knife
  • T-square

Furthermore, make sure to wear work clothing, boots, and gloves to avoid accidents!

Pair the Edges

While installing drywall, the best practice is to pair the edges beforehand. You should pair all raw edges together and all bound edges to each other. To create a smooth surface, you shouldn’t place the drywall seams against each other.

Additional Spacing & Less Room

As mentioned earlier, your drywall should never touch the ground. If you are installing drywall over existing flooring, make sure to leave at least ½ inches of space between the floor and the drywall. Moreover, allow at least ¼ inches of expansion space between the horizontal seams.

Ceiling to Floor 

Always hang your drywall from ceiling to floor to create a perfectly level surface. So, while working on a renovation project, make sure to install the ceiling first. Afterward, hang the drywall and finish the project by installing new flooring.

Finishing Touch

Once you have hung the drywall sheets and installed the flooring, it’s time to apply the finishing touches. This includes tapping off all the seams and joints with high-performance tape and applying a thin sanding coat over it. You should wait at least 72 hours before wallpapering or painting your room.

How do you seal a gap between drywall and your floor?

Sealing the gap between floor and drywall can be done in several ways. This depends on what room this is and the environment. But before we dive in, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t cover the entire gap. Otherwise, it can put a lot of pressure on your drywall during wall expansion, leading to cracking.

Shower Bathroom

You can use silicone caulk to create a waterproof seal for high humidity places such as bathrooms and showers. The advantage of silicone caulk is that it crystallization when exposed to oxygen, they cure quickly, and most importantly, they prevent moisture from getting into your walls. However, just note that regular drywall should not be used in shower bathrooms. The same can be said with bathroom ceilings unless it’s a non-shower bathroom.

Matching the color of the wall

For most other rooms, you can use latex caulk, as they can be bought in many colors, making it easier to match the color of your wall. You can also use this caulk to match the color of your floor instead, and it cures through an evaporation process. It’s important to note that latex caulk may create a tight seal, but this is not a waterproof one. 


Can Joint Compounds Be Used For Flooring?

Yes, you can use the joint compounds for flooring. In fact, joint compounds can be used on both cement and concrete floors. You can even use it on the wood only if you have enough patience to wait for it to dry.

Can Drywall Touch Subfloor?

No, drywall shouldn’t touch the subfloor. You should keep your sheets at least ½ inches over the subfloor. This is because if both your drywall and subfloor are attached to each other, the drywall can crack due to expansions or if the house settles.

Moreover, if the subfloor floods, the moisture can seep into the drywall sheets, making them rot and flake apart. Therefore, they should be at least ½ inches of space between the drywall and the subfloor.

Should Drywall Be Vertical Or Horizontal?

Now, the answer to this question depends upon your installation building. These sheets must be secured vertically if you are installing drywall panels in a commercial building. Alternatively, if you are hanging them in residential buildings, you should hang them horizontally. 

In commercial buildings, you should hang drywall sheets vertically because it offers easy access to areas that require inspections. Moreover, the vertical installation allows every sheet to fall down safely in case of an emergency.

In contrast, the drywall should be hung horizontally in residential buildings as vertical installation puts more lateral loads on the walls. Furthermore, the horizontal installation will also increase the wall strength of a residential building.

How to Lower a Basement Ceiling for Drywall?

For this approach, you should use 5/8 drywall. Instead of putting 2 layers, use just one layer of drywall if you don’t have a permit. Afterward, space the ladders at up to 24” on center or 16” if you want to overdo it.

During the process, if you run into any obstruction, such as pipes, build the ladder around it or stop the ladder before and continue it afterward. You can fasten every 24 inches within the ladder as long as all the edges can be secured properly.

Can you use drywall for underlayment? 

No. Drywall cannot be used for underlayment purposes. It’s one of the few classes of building material that cannot be used. The problem with drywall is that it can break up easily under the pressure of walking on it or from the constant association between furniture and changing weight. Then there are moisture-related issues like how hygroscopic this material also turns into something decomposing due to high levels of water vapor condensation.

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