Picking out the right type and finish of drywall for your project
Most homes in central Florida have drywall, unless your home is from the pre-1980s when builders would use siding and interior wood finishes. Most homeowners understand very little about drywall, and like most things in the construction industry, they don’t know how drywall varies in type and finish depending on the application. Far too often, inexperienced drywallers and home improvers use the wrong drywall or finish, which can lead to disappointing results.
Most of the drywall used on the wall is a lightweight 1/2 “x4x12 sheet of drywall that is installed with drywall screws and then covered with mud, tape, and some form of knockdown or smooth finish. For homes with 9 foot ceilings 54-inch drywall is becoming increasingly popular as the number of joints and piecings is reduced.
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Typically, drywall is installed horizontally and two 4 foot wide pieces cover a standard 8 foot high interior wall. For smaller jobs, some use a 4×8 piece of smaller drywall as it’s a lot easier to work with. The most popular thicknesses are 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch thick, with 5/8 being used in refractory rock.
For applications with ceiling weight or span issues, many contractors use ceiling tiles because they are stiffer, lighter, and have the sag resistance of regular 5/8 ”rock. Gravity can cause regular drywall to sag over time, and 5/8 inch rock is more difficult to handle because of the weight. Ceiling tiles are very popular for preventing sagging from continuous gravity.
Many construction projects have areas where the builder needs to install drywall that is fire or moisture resistant. In wetter or wetter areas, moisture-resistant rock should be used to prevent deterioration, and fire-resistant rock should be used if there is a possibility of fire spread.
A good place to use moisture-resistant rock is in a bathroom, and fire-resistant rock is used in multiple unit joints or in areas that separate a garage from the house. For the direct area around bathtubs, there are special types of panels that have been developed to divert water directly behind tiles and bathtubs. Using the right drywall or panels in these areas will prevent damage and mold.
Keep in mind that there are different types of drywall that are used for many applications such as: Discuss with your plumber and explain that when choosing the type of drywall you want maximum protection for the structural components of your home.
The surfaces of drywall differ in many ways. Finishing rates range from 0 to 5. Finish 0 is not a drywall finish, and Finish 5 is for smooth, light-colored surfaces where you don’t want to see glue lines or blemishes. Most houses are ready at level 4 for full surface painting under normal light. Remember, the higher the finish, the more it costs.
Then there is the drywall texture that is applied after the drywall is mudded and glued. Most older homes have an orange peel wall structure with a popcorn ceiling. Both styles in central Florida are not that popular. Popcorn surfaces with leaky roofs can turn into a falling nightmare and orange peel surfaces are very unforgivable if damaged.
Most homes are finished with a medium to heavy knockdown finish that hides blemishes much better and is easier to repair. There are a variety of texturing options for drywall, including trowel, sand, swirl, and brush surfaces. What you choose will determine the look of your project, and you may have to dig harder for skilled finishers for the more intricate surfaces and levels.
When planning a project, take the time to understand the board and textures to ensure you get the look of your home. For a better explanation of the board, visit the American Gypsum website and check out the brochure which has great information.
Bad drywall is noticed every day you live in a house. Hiring the right drywall subcontractor and choosing the right products and textures make all the difference.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc. and the host of the Around the House show, which can be seen on AroundtheHouse.TV.