Is It Ok to Install Drywall Backwards? (Explained!)

You started hanging Drywall, and halfway through, you realized you hanged them backward, so what do you do? Can you just leave them, or is it ok to install Drywall backward? 

Hanging Drywall backward is possible but not recommended. The backside is rough and will be visible through any paint. It’ll be impossible to have a smooth finish as you would with the smooth side. Lastly, Drywall sheet’s beveled edges need to be covered, you can cover this with mud and tape, but with the rough side, this task is challenging.

The conventional wisdom is that Drywall should be installed with the smooth side facing out. However, some believe installing Drywall with the rough side facing out is perfectly acceptable (and even preferable). 

Can I Install Drywalls Backwards?

It’s possible, yes. But if you want a smooth finish, installing Drywall backward is probably not for you. In this practice, you’ll notice bumpier backing material, resulting in a rougher appearance. Some people like it, but for most homeowners, this is not the finish they are going for.  

Drywall panels are usually used to cover interior walls and ceilings. To get a smooth finish, following a proper installation process is recommended. The best practice is to install ceiling drywall first for it to last long enough and then cover the walls. Moreover, the front side of the board should always face out!

Some installers deviate from this common practice and try installing backward. This approach results in a rougher appearance and makes the finishing job more difficult. 

What Happens If Drywall Is Installed Backwards?

Similar to Drywall before flooring, there are conciciences of installing Drywall backward. Hanging the Drywall backward and, as a result, having the rough side as a surface will be visible through the paint, which is not something most homeowners want. It also makes it almost impossible to attain an even surface.

In addition, drywall sheets come with beveled edges that make the Drywall finishing fast and convenient. To cover these edges, builders use drywall mud and tape. The drywall tape is usually used within the bevel, allowing seams to rest below a flush level, which is one of the main reasons why you don’t hang Drywall without tape.

Alternatively, if you install Drywall backward, drywall edges will fast the interior, making the finishing job more difficult as the edges will form ridges instead of resting below the flushed level. To get your desired results, you’ll need to coat each ridge using drywall mud, wasting material and time.

Does It Matter Which Way You Face Drywall?

Yes. Outside of the fact that it’s much rougher and aesthetically less pleasing, there are also different colors of sheetrock panels available out there. The rear side is always brown, which is not the color you’d want as a surface. 

One of the main reasons why all gypsum boards have different colors, including white, yellow, green, blue, and grey, is that different drywall types have different purposes. For instance, while green Drywall is ideal for humid areas, purple and blue sheets offer excellent resistance to mold. So, if the back side is facing out, you won’t be able to enjoy all the benefits your sheetrock is supposed to offer.

Which Way Do You Install Drywall?

The code for commercial buildings is different than residential. Why is this important? When installing Drywall in commercial buildings, it must be done vertically to meet fire codes, so there isn’t a potential hazard. However, when it comes to residential buildings, they must be hung horizontally. And if you decide to ignore these rules and, on top of it, hang them backward, you won’t not only be not compliant, but the chances are that when a fire breaks out, having Drywall will not have any effect at all, even when you have fire resistant drywalls. 

That being said, there are some scenarios when you can install Drywall backward without worrying about the consequences. For instance, if you renovate an unobtrusive place (inside of a closet) where the final results are not that important, you can install Drywall backward.

How To Fix Drywall Installed Backwards?

If you have installed a drywall panel backward, it’s not the end of the world. You can fix it by applying several coats of the joint old compound across the entire surface. This will certainly cost you more money and time, but you’ll be able to smooth the roughness.

That said, fixing Drywall installed backward is not a piece of cake. You’ll have to be patient and put in a lot of effort. As drywall panels feature beveled edges, it’ll be quite challenging to tape the joints with the rough side facing out.

Unless you have an option to remove your drywall panel and re-install it, you’ll need a lot of joint compounds to fix this issue. You have to as many thin coats of joint compound as needed to smooth the drywall seams. 

Here are some steps that you’ll need to follow to fix the Drywall installed backward:

  1. Apply the joint compound over the entire surface
  2. Use as much joint compound as needed to get a smooth finish
  3. Cover the seams using drywall mud until they are even
  4. Tape the drywall joints (This step might be a little difficult)
  5. Use a high-quality primer to prime the surface
  6. Use multiple coats of paint to hide the roughness

Alternative Approach

By using multiple coats of drywall mud, you’ll certainly mess up the texture of your interior wall. Moreover, the above-mentioned can cost you a lot of money as you’ll need extra joint compound and manpower.

Alternatively, you can try to uninstall a drywall panel. If you haven’t applied drywall tape and mud over your drywall sheets, this approach is for you. You can simply remove your drywall sheets and turn them around. However, you’ll need to be extra careful because you might end up cracking drywall sheets while removing them!


Can Both Sides Of Drywall Be Paint?

Generally speaking, Yes. You can paint both sides of the Drywall. However, you’ll need to use a lot of joint compound and primer to paint the rear side. This is because the back side of the Drywall features a rough appearance. So, it’ll be hard to smooth the back side and then paint over it.

Which Side Of Drywall Tape Faces Out?

To use the drywall tape, apply a coat of drywall mud over the joint compound and run the tape over it. If the drywall seams are raised, make sure to install the drywall tape with the seam’s outside raised area against the wall. 

Which Side Of Drywall Do You Cut?

You can score the front side (the one with white paper) of Drywall using a sharp drywall knife to cut it. During this step, make sure you are not applying too much pressure. You need only to score the paper, not the gypsum board. Afterward, tap on the back side to cut the Drywall.

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