An Introduction to Drywall – Fine Homebuilding

Prefabricated in the 1940s and 1950s Drywall Panels gradually replaced plaster as the material of choice for the finishing of interior walls and ceilings. The earliest drywall was used to replace the slat backs in plaster; They were narrow (16 inches wide) and only 3/8 of an inch thick. Drywall now comes in a wide variety of lengths, thicknesses, and specialty materials. The low cost and large, easy-to-attach panels make drywall a preferred choice over traditional plaster.

A sheet of drywall consists of a hardened gypsum core sandwiched between two layers of paper – strong, smooth paper on one side (the front) and rougher, “natural” paper on the back (see drawing “End view of a drywall”). The face paper is folded around the long edges which tapers slightly after the panel is installed to accommodate the tape and connection. The ends of the board are cut square and smooth, leaving the plaster core exposed.

Drywall cross-section

Plaster of paris and slat constructions add a lot of moisture to a building, and plastered surfaces are traditionally allowed to dry for up to two weeks (depending on humidity, temperature, and airflow) before they are decorated. In comparison, drywall is low in moisture and the grout used to finish the panels only covers part of the exterior rather than all of the surface, so they dry in 24 hours or less – hence the name “drywall”. Drywall is also known by many other names, such as Sheetrock (a brand name), plasterboard, plasterboard, wallboard, and plasterboard.

Drywall offers excellent Tone control, structural integrity and fire resistance. It’s easy to decorate and makes a good base for paint, wallpaper, paneling, textured surfaces, decorative fabrics, and vinyl wallcoverings. The generic term drywall refers to a number of different types of panels, each with properties that make them suitable for specific residential and commercial applications.

Truck load of drywallA heavy burden: Sheets of drywall stacked on top of a truck are waiting to be unload.

Types and uses of drywall

When most people think of drywall, they probably think of the standard 4 × 8 panel that has been used since drywall was first introduced. However, this is by no means the only size or type of drywall available today. Panels are available in lengths of up to 16 feet and 48 inches. and 54 inches. Widths. A wide variety of special purpose drywall is also available, including moisture / mold resistant, Fire resistant, and abuse-resistant panels;; 1/4-in. flexible panels;; 1/2-in. high strength ceiling panels; and foil sheets. There is also one lighter drywalland a new type of drywall that removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, creating a healthier environment. In the following sections, I’ll walk you through the different types and their uses, the thicknesses and lengths available, and their respective frame specifications. With this information, you can make the right decision about what type of drywall to order when it is time to start planning an assignment.

Why use drywall?

Regardless of the type, all drywall have common properties that make them more suitable for wall cladding than plaster of paris, plywood and other materials.

  • Panels are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses at most wood stores.
  • The panels are easy to cut and install and are flexible and have slack.
  • When properly reinforced with tape and grout, the panels are very resistant to cracking.
  • The panels easily accept paint and most other decorative materials.
  • Drywall eliminates excessive moisture during construction – a common problem with plaster.
  • The non-flammable plaster core offers fire protection.
  • The dense panels provide more effective sound control than lighter materials like plywood and fiberboard.

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