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Drywall is one of the most fundamental parts of your home and office interiors. So, whether you have planned new construction, home improvement, or repair work — chances are, you will need drywall. But the big question is: What are the right types of drywall for your project?
You’re in luck. This article tells you about the different types of drywall available and how you can choose the one that suits your requirements.
What is drywall?
Drywall aka sheetrocks, wallboards, or gypsum boards are the large rectangular sheets that one uses to construct walls and ceilings in rooms. These sheets are actually gypsum plaster covered with thick paper. They are lightweight, cost-effective, and create function as well as beauty effortlessly. And, they are easy to install too.
What is gypsum?
Gypsum is a durable material used for drywall. It’s easy to work with, often fire-resistant, versatile, and dries quickly. It’s also beautiful.
Drywall is not just for wall and ceiling construction; it adds character to the interiors of any space — whether a house, building, or a shop. Wherever you see beautiful walls and ceilings, you’re looking at drywall.
Do you know about the history of drywall? Well, let us enlighten you.
Till about WWII, most of the walls and ceilings were constructed using wet plaster. The process was labor-intensive, time-consuming, and tedious. The process of applying wet plaster to wooden laths in layers needed extensive drying time too.
This is when people started realizing the importance of the different types of drywall. Their usage reduced time drastically and gave an amazing touch to interior walls and ceilings.
Today, there are several different types of drywall to choose from. You can learn about all of them and choose the right one depending on your project needs. So here goes.
1. Regular/Standard/White Board Drywall
This basic drywall has no special enhancements but works just as fine as other kinds. If not totally fire-resistant, it does retard fire naturally. The reason is that the water molecules present in the gypsum slow the spread of flames.
Standard drywall is usually white on one side and brown on the other side. Most homeowners, especially those who remodel their home on a budget, prefer this regular drywall variety as it is one of the most economical types on the market. Also, it comes in different sizes — ranging in thickness from 3/8 inch to 1 inch. Its sheets are available in 4 x 8 panels.
2. Green Board or Moisture-resistant Drywall
Water damage is a common problem — an almost-inevitable part of owning a house. This moisture-resistant drywall often called indoor tile backer board or cement board has a special coating on its surface that minimizes water damage. This is the reason, it’s the most preferred choice for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, or other humid locations that may feature water pipes.
You can look at the green covering to identify such types of drywall. Needless to say, they are somewhat more expensive than standard drywall. An important fact to keep in mind is that green board drywall is not waterproof. Avoid its direct contact with water.
3. Blue Board Drywall
Also called plaster baseboard, the blue board drywall is quite similar to the green board one but is slightly more enhanced. It is used for veneer plastering. The best part about it is that the paper on its surface has special absorption qualities. It has high water and mold resistance.
This board is a great choice when you require your interiors to be in top form. It even helps reduce noise and has low emissions. Do note that blue board drywall is not meant for mud, tape, and paint but works well in places with a lot of moisture — bathrooms for instance.
4. Paperless Drywall
While paper drywall has been the norm in the past, this paperless variety is gaining popularity over the last few years. It is covered with fiberglass instead of paper. Such a configuration prevents the gypsum board from rotting. Hence, you can expect greater resistance to mold and mildew.
The board quality is slightly tougher because of the fiberglass than standard drywall so may need extra steps during this drywall installation. It generally does not have a clean, smooth finish. You will have to apply a joint compound to even out its natural texture.
The good news is that this drywall is both moisture as well as mold-resistant. It’s a great choice for your kitchen and bathrooms.
5. Purple Drywall
You don’t want mold and mildew in your house, right? They cause various health problems and deteriorate your house quickly and mercilessly. This specially treated purple drywall is the solution. It resists the growth of mold and mildew.
The superior board costs more than regular drywall, but we feel the extra expense is justified. Because of its improved technology, you can use it even for areas that have direct contact with water.
You can install it on walls and ceilings. It is ideally suited for areas where you need enhanced moisture and mold resistance.
6. Fire-resistant Drywall
This drywall is made using special noncombustible fibers and resists fire effectively — allowing more time for people to escape in such dire situations. Thus, it helps minimize the extent of damage during fire breakouts.
No wonder, most building codes make the use of fire-resistant boards mandatory in garages, bedrooms, apartment buildings, and commercial buildings.
There are two categories of fire-resistant drywall: Type X Drywall and Type C.
Type X is usually 5/8 thick and has a 1-hour fire rating.
Type C drywall is usually 1/2 or 5/8 thick and has a 2 to 4-hour fire rating. More glass fibers are used in Type C than Type X drywall. Its gypsum core has shrinkage-compensating vermiculite.
How do you get the Type X or Type C rating?
A Type X gypsum board must show that it is able to achieve not less than a one-hour fire resistance. Type C — more resistant than Type X — provides two to four hours of resistance.
When it comes to fire-resistant drywall, you can always use several thicknesses in layers to achieve a higher fire rating. These extra layers also improve their soundproofing characteristics. The only drawback is that it is harder to cut and work with than standard drywall.
7. Soundproof Drywall
Soundproof drywall is laminated and contains a mix of wood fibers, gypsum, and polymers. These layers increase the sound transmission class, or STC, and help the drywall in dampening sound.
Since it’s soundproof in nature, this type of drywall is preferred in areas where noise is an issue. A great choice for a music room or a family room if you have a musician in the house. You can install it on walls, ceilings, or even floors.
The only downside of this drywall is that it is denser and stiffer than basic drywall. Therefore, it might be a little harder to cut than other types of drywall.
8. Eco-friendly Drywall
There has been a conscious effort to create and develop eco-friendly drywall options. And thanks to technology, it is now possible. These earth-friendly products use sustainable materials and manufacturing process. And, there is no compromise on quality.
A game changer in this field is the Eco Rock. It is used the same way as regular gypsum-based drywall but is made using more than 20 different recycled industrial materials. These byproducts are then mixed with fillers and water to create drywall that even resists mold and termites. What’s more, the new-age technology uses 80 percent less energy to produce!
Enviroboard compressed fiber panels are another good option to use. They are made from environment-friendly materials. The process is interesting. Waste fibers from industries such as agriculture, newspaper, etc are compressed into solid concrete-like panels. These are then used to make the walls and ceilings of homes and buildings.
Now that you are aware of all the drywall options available on the market, it’s time for some extra information and quick takeaways.
- There are different types of drywall; white, green, blue, paperless, purple, fire-resistant, soundproof, and eco-friendly are the most popular ones.
- Drywall comes in sheets. The most common sheet size is 4 x 8 feet.
- You can buy drywall sheets that are eight, nine, 10, 12, or 14 inches.
- There are different drywall thicknesses; 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch are the most common.
- Thicker sheets are required if there is a considerable gap between studs or joists.
- Standard drywall can be square-edged ( for walls and ceilings) or taper-edged (for finishing walls). The latter creates a shallow recess for drywall tape and joint compound — allowing invisible finished joints.
- Different drywall can be used in combination — for different locations.
Whether you are contemplating a home remodeling or constructing a new house, there will always be drywall to suit all your needs. Thankfully, today, drywall choices have become more specific to meet the different types of room environments. We hope our article will make it easier for you to understand the different types of drywall and help you pick the best one (or a combination) for your home.
Thank you for reading!
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