Drywall is probably the most commonly used material in today’s homes construction. Drywall is used on the interior walls of homes and other types of buildings where finished surface is needed. It is known by many names including wallboard, gypsum board, sheetrock and plasterboard.

Drywall was invented and introduced on the building materials market by the U.S. Gypsum Company (USG) in 1916 and after a period of slow adoption it started to gain significant market share during the WWII.

Drywall is made is by using a layer of gypsum mixed with paper and fiberglass fiber, some kind of foaming agent and additives for mildew and fire resistance placed between two sheets of thick paper or fiberglass. The face side of standard drywall is usually white and the back side is usually darker (brown).

One detail to keep in mind is the presence of tapered edges on the long edges of drywall sheets. When two sections of drywall are joined along the tapered edges they will form a shallow recess for drywall tape and drywall compound that allows for invisible finished joints.

Drywall is manufactured for various types of applications and because of this it varies in size, thickness and the characteristics of the materials used to make it.

These variations in drywall types make it important for the DIY-er to be aware of them in order to be able to pick the best possible drywall for every specific project.

In this article we are going to discuss drywall types based on size and types of applications.

Drywall thickness and size

  • 1/4″ and 3/8″ thick drywall panel
    • Residential repair (applied on top of old drywall most of the times on ceilings)
    • Used for curved surfaces wiht small radius (usually double layer); this drywall can be dampened for easier application
    • Double layer application (to achieve some level of sound proofing)
  • 1/2″ thick drywall panel
    • It is the most common type used in homes
    • Single layer application over 16″ spaced studs (on center)
  • 5/8″ thick drywall panel
    • Single layer application over 24″ spaced studs (on center)
    • Used on ceilings over 24″ spaced studs (on center)
    • Used on ceilings to prevent sagging
    • Provides better sound proofing and fire resistance
    • Used between the house and the garage as fire resistant drywall required by the building codes
  • Standard size is 4′ x 8′
    • Smaller sized sheets are easier to work with if you work alone or with just a buddy
  • Long 10′, 12′ and 16′ boards
    • They allow for less joint work and they
    • Are better suited for the newly popular 9′ or more tall home floors and for cathedral ceilings
    • Keep in mind these are heavy

Drywall purpose

  • Regular white board 1/4″ to 3/4″ thick is used for normal residential installation
  • Fire-resistant drywall (“Type X”)
    • Various thicknesses can be used in multiple layers to achieve increased fire rating (the time a wall can withstand a standard fire test) above the standard 20 minutes.
    • Paper is a very flammable material so the difference will be made by composition of the gypsum core. Glass fiber, perlite, vermiculite and boric acid are added to improve fire resistance.
    • This type of drywall is harder to cut and work with than regular drywall.
    • Used and required by building codes in garages, furnace rooms and in multiunit buildings like townhouses and apartment buildings.
  • Moisture resistant drywall or greenboard
    • Contains oil-based additives in the green colored paper covering that provides moisture resistance
    • Used in washrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms and areas with higher than usual levels of humidity
  • Mold-resistant
    • Can be paperless; fiberglass can be used instead
  • Blueboard
    • Has a blue face paper specially treated to bond with a thin coat of plaster finish providing dent, water and mold resistance
  • Cement board or rock board
    • It is more water-resistant than greenboard
    • Used in showers or sauna rooms
    • Used as base for ceramic tile
  • Soundproof drywall for better sound rating (STC)
    • Laminated drywall made with gypsum, wood fibers, and viscoelastic polymers to increase the STC
  • Lead-lined drywall
    • Used in X-Ray rooms and other areas exposed to high radiation
  • Foil-backed drywall
    • Used control moisture in a building or room
    • Used to fix moisture problems in concrete buildings
  • Abuse resistant drywall
    • Usually used in commercial buildings and impact prone areas
    • Thicker than most drywall, usually coming in 5/8-inch thick panels
    • The paper coating is thicker and specially treated resist better to penetration and impact
    • Recommended to be used in garages, workshops, schools and play rooms
  • Flexible drywall
    • For curved walls and arches
    • Thinner (1/4″)
    • Dampened before use

    Support this work, share it with friends ...
    Tagged with: