I need to remove an old ceiling and I am told that the older drywall panels did not use to be 4'x 8'.

What size did they use to be ?

  • Why does it matter if the old drywall panels were a different size? You will be tearing it off and throwing it away. The spacing between the studs to fasten new drywall is all that matters and even then you could cut to size if you had odd stud spacing—you will be cutting some drywall to size regardless. Aug 15, 2020 at 23:39
  • true but I want to know what I can expect if I go in the attic and I cut the nails that hold the pannels, will they fall off ? (I want them to :-)) ) Not sure why a contractor I wanted to hire mentioned that as an impediment to the above way of demolishing a ceiling without cutting it in to pieces and making lots of dust
    – MiniMe
    Aug 15, 2020 at 23:42
  • 1
    I think any way you do it, you should expect a lot of dry wall dust both in demolition and in refinishing. I would just go with whichever way is fastest on demolition and cutting each nail individually could be a real pain since you will first need to make enough room between the nail and the drywall for your sawzall to fit which means you will need to push out the panel slightly. At that point, I say just rip off the drywall and come back to fully pull out any remaining nails with a claw hammer. Aug 15, 2020 at 23:50
  • the guy suspects the finish is Artex (possible asbestos) ...so cutting the panel will airborn the dust I suggested wet the heck out of the finish before cutting it (tedious) or cut the nails and support eacch pannel with the hoist Cutting can be done with an osculating tool. Dust created at the top above the panel where there is no Artex, will be fine
    – MiniMe
    Aug 15, 2020 at 23:58
  • 1
    Hazmat suit and 3M 3800 ( amazon.ca/3M-6800-Facepiece-Reusable-Respirator/dp/B00IROQ1PY) are on the shopping list. Covering the entire room in plastic sheets taped together. Portable dust collector set in the room near the area where I work. Heavy duty disposal bags
    – MiniMe
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


Drywall has always been 4x 8 or 12 as long far back as I know it was first used in the 20’s . By the late 40 and 50’s it was the preferred method it las less expensive and easier to install but the size has been similar to plywood 4x8 sheets has been the standard.

Demo of old sheetrock is much easier than today’s screws, knock a hole stick the framing hammer in the hole turn 90 and pull down the sheetrock will break on the nail lines sometimes sections of the nails come out some not but they come out easily except on oak 2x4. In my youth I could strip an entire bedroom in a little over an hour and a half including pulling nails with a framing hammer and wonderbar . It was more work to pick up the peace’s and toss them in the dumpster or if close to the dump in a truck. But you do not cut the nails.

  • 1964 built house I had to rip into did have thinner than what's normal today (1/2 or 5/8") in some spots, but you can still buy 1/4 and 3/8 inch thick panels if you need to match that.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:01
  • There has been different thickness with 1/2” bringing the most popular thinner sheets usually had a coat of mud to look more like plaster.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:04
  • the thickness is my last concern here. I just need to remove the Artex without disturbing it
    – MiniMe
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:35
  • The size of drywall / plywood was what drove the size of the first Transit van and its floor - which is why they sold so well: every builder had one...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 16, 2020 at 5:03

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