Level 5 Drywall Finish: Cost and Levels Explained

A Level 5 drywall finish is being specified more often by discerning architects and homeowners. But what exactly does this building requirement mean and how much will it cost you?

We go over all the drywall finishing levels and standards to help you understand what level is right for your project and what cost per square foot you should expect:

Standard Level 4 Drywall Finish

Drywall finishes are not all equal. Thankfully, there is a grading system that helps us distinguish. establish mutual expectations for the process and quality of a finish. Ranging from Level 0 to Level 5, a Level 4 drywall finish is the standard:

  • Level 0: The drywall is only hung, no finishing has been done. - Suitable when no decision has been made on finishing.

  • Level 1: Drywall joint tape has been embedded in joint compound, but not covered. - Suitable for attics, access corridors, and areas that are unseen.

  • Level 2: Joint compound is skimmed over the joint tape and drywall screw holes. - Suitable for Garage spaces and areas that will be covered with tile or other building material.

  • Level 3: An additional coat of joint compound is applied to the joint tape and drywall screws. - Suitable for walls that will have knockdown or other heavy texture applied.

  • Level 4: To qualify as a level 4 drywall finish, a surface must fulfill the following requirements: A third coat of joint compound is applied to the tape and screws, scraped, then sanded when dry. Suitable for areas that will have a light texture, wall covering, or flat paint.

How much does a level 4 drywall finish cost?

For an experienced and reputable drywall contractor to install and finish drywall up to a Level 4, costs will range from about $1.80-$3.10 per square foot. Read more about the cost to install drywall in Vancouver.

Level 5 Drywall Finish

The highest grade drywall fishing requires the most time and expertise. A level 5 drywall finish requires rolling or spraying a skim coat of joint compound over top of the level 4 finished drywall. The skim coat is then smoothed and sanded lightly, once dry.

This level of drywall finish yields the most smooth and appealing result for your walls. However, to achieve the benefits of this premium-level finish, the drywall must be hung well and finished effectively up to level 4. Even with a Level 5 skim coat, poorly hung and finished drywall will still show bowing seams and tape bubbles.

This is how a skim coat is typically applied to achieve a level 5 drywall finish:

Where are level 5 drywall finishes needed?

Level 5 drywall finishes are used when special attention will be drawn to an area of the wall. These are examples of when a Level 5 finish should be considered:

  • When sconce lights or natural light will be hitting the wall in such a way that imperfections would become noticeable.

  • Walls that will have dark paint or paints with sheen or gloss, as these tend to amplify imperfections.

  • Large walls expanses and long corridors.

  • Ceilings that are finished smooth, rather than textured.

How much does a level 5 drywall finish cost?

Because of the increased time, difficulty, and materials required for a level 5 drywall finish, the cost is slightly higher than for a level 4 finish. You can expect to pay an average of $0.30-$0.45 more per square foot to bring a finish from a Level 4 to a Level 5.

For many property owners, this is a wise investment for the areas listed above. A small additional cost to achieve the best possible drywall finish will mean a better looking home for decades. These small details will make your space feel more high-end and well-built.

How to get a level 5 drywall finish

When you need the smoothest walls, ask your drywall contractor for a level 5 finish. Custom Drywall is greater Vancouver’s reliable Drywall Contractor. Contact us today for a free quote on your level 5 drywall finishing.