Must-Have Equipment for DIY Drywall

Our plan all along was for John to do the drywall himself in the house and new addition.

A few people said, “You’re going to do the drywall yourself?” Obviously hanging drywall in a 2800sf house with a 20ft vaulted ceiling is a big job for one person to do but this was our plan all along.

We never had any intention to hire a drywall crew. Sure, it would be nice to hire someone else to do this phase of the renovation but it’s expensive labor and quite frankly, it’s not in our budget.

With that in mind, we figured that we would rent a drywall panel hoist (or sometimes they’re called a “drywall lift.”) John said, “The drywall panel hoist simply makes the impossible possible.”  Without one, your arms will burn in pain when doing ceilings.

For the amount of time that we would need to rent the equipment, the rental fee would be as much or more than buying the equipment.

I did a search online and discovered Northern Tool’s Ironton Drywall and Panel Hoist. I contacted Northern Tool about the unit and we’re lucky to partner with them. For a 15-second video of John using the equipment, click here.

Thank you to Northern Tool for sponsoring the Ironton equipment in order for John to do the DIY drywall in our house.


John was a happy camper when he walked outside and saw the box shipped from Northern Tool. He yelled, “Oh my God, it’s here.” He brought it into the bedroom where he had started hanging Sheetrock and tore the box open with the same exuberance as a kid getting his first Tonka Truck.

The base arrived preassembled/attached with 3 wheels (smooth-rolling casters) and locking outriggers. The Ironton Drywall and Panel Hoist holds up to 150lbs and it tilts allowing John to do the job alone. It lifts up to 11ft which is perfect for us because the vaulted ceiling in the new master bedroom is 11ft. (You can increase the lift height to 15ft by ordering a separate telescoping extension bar.)


When pulling each piece out of the box, John noticed the quality and strength of the unit; the steel frame is strong and sturdy. After assembling it, he felt in control and safe with it at any height.

As John took each piece out of the box I noticed the bright powder coat finish is top-notch and it’s corrosion-resistant too. I also realized this unit is not just for a DIYer but for professionals too.


John unpacked all the parts and laid them out.


There is a total of five pieces (the ship weight is 99lbs).


Easy breezy assembly!


It was effortless to assemble the drywall panel hoist. All that was needed was a socket wrench for the large nut holding the control wheel.

It only took a mere 15 minutes to fully assemble this must-have piece of equipment for hanging drywall alone.


John said, “For us, this machine is ideal for its size, weight and capability.” Since assembling the panel hoist last week, John has installed 8, 10 and 12ft Sheetrock Panels by himself with ease.

There are 3 bedrooms in the original part of the house. John started hanging drywall in the original master bedroom (above photo). While waiting for the panel hoist to arrive, he started hanging drywall from the floor up. There were a lot of holes to cut for outlets — CAT6 (blue wire/communication cable and RG6 (black wire for cable TV). It was perfect timing because once he was finished with the bottom row, the Northern Tool equipment arrived.

He placed his first 8′ Sheetrock panel on the hoist, turned the wheel and up it went to screw into the ceiling. Normally, he would have used a 10′ Sheetrock panel for the ceiling but we had 8′ panels on hand at the time.

Last night, we made a run to Home Depot and bought more 8′ panels along with 10′ and 12′ panels. Today’s another rainy spring day and perfect for working indoors doing drywall.

Thanks again, Northern Tool!

8 thoughts on “Must-Have Equipment for DIY Drywall

  1. You’ve really been blessed time and again to find help in acquiring items you’ve needed for your project and it’s so nice to know that old fashioned American spirit is still with us.

    I received much the same recently when having a Cable upgrade. I mentioned to the installer I lost my ability to hear sound on you-tubes and I recall clicking the screen accidentally and all was quiet thereafter. He said, “you can’t be without music” and he took 20 minutes to discover I had duplicated a file and I too was very thankful.

    1. Yes, you’re absolutely correct about good old-fashioned American spirit; it’s still thriving, and we are extremely thankful for our generous sponsors. Your story is a nice one too!

  2. My husband and I disagree about the savings in hanging drywall yourself. I think it’s worth the aggravation and I hate to pay someone to do something that I could do myself.

    1. We received two quotes from drywall businesses that were just about $11,000. It wasn’t even possible, but even if it was possible, we would be doing the drywall ourselves…that would be $11,000 in our pocket not spent (with the exception of the cost of the Sheetrock & screws). But even if a homeowner is doing a small scale renovation such as a kitchen, and if the homeowner is handy, why not save the money and do it yourself. It’s possible for DIY-type homeowners to do.

  3. How fun.

    Nothing like a new toy. While the job could be done without something like this it would take more bodies and be a lot more labor intensive. Having a tool designed for the job and designed and built so well is really the way to go.

    Did you consider doing a YouTube video of John assembling the lift? Then a separate one of him demonstrating it’s use?

    A Brick House YouTube channel might have been nice. Too far along now to back track and you probably only took stills and no video. But a channel might have been a good tie in no only for your book but also when soliciting vendors for free stuff.

    1. I wish I had filmed video all along. Right now, I’m starting to post 15-second videos on my Instagram account. It’s quick and easy. Longer videos are actually a little difficult to do because you have to memorize a script and you have to know how to edit the video, otherwise it doesn’t come off well. I don’t know how to edit video and I would need to know how to do that for YouTube videos that are a few minutes long.

  4. I know everybody has an opinion, like everybody has a you-know-what, but I gotta ask. Why not stand up the 8-footers, in the low rooms, and do away with the butt joints ? I go to great lengths to avoid them. Tapered joints are your friend !! I know 12-foot boards, or bigger, are hard for one man to wrangle,(without damage or loss), but butt joints are a Taper’s nightmare. In a small, okay, if you must, but in a great room, with light from windows coming in at angles close to the wall, there is no way to make that look good, and you’re in for TONS of sanding. I’m sure John knows to keep the boards tight as possible, and to use adhesive on all ceiling boards. More adhesive, less screws. Someday, drywall will be installed with adhesive only !
    Your Taper will have fits with lots of butts, and gaps in the boards. And if you do it yourself, and if you are an amateur, you’re putting yourself behind the 8-ball, right from the start. Keep that floor lamp right close to the wall, when you’re sanding, to see the how it lays.
    Believe me, I’m not trying to be a wise-guy. I am just curious about the method you have chosen. Thanks !

    1. Hi Mark,

      I know you’re not being a wise guy; we appreciate constructive criticism. I just read your tips to John and he said “Got it.” He’s definitely taking your advice into consideration. In no way is John an expert at drywall. He did a couple of small drywall jobs years ago when he worked for a builder and we did the drywall in the kitchen at our previous house. Other than that, he hasn’t done enough drywall to know your trade secrets/tips, so thank you for telling us! And thanks again for your crowdfund contribution. The crowdfund didn’t work out but it was worth a try. Cheers!

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