All types of drywall are essential components of any home construction or remodeling project. Drywall is the stuff that holds the home together, and without it, some rooms and buildings would not be structurally sound.
This drywall guide will help you understand the benefits of the types of drywall available and help you choose the right types of drywall for your projects. We will also discuss some possible alternatives to drywall, as well as some other names for drywall that you may have heard before.
Check out this guide for a full list of features and hidden tips on how to use all the types of drywall the right way.
What is Drywall?
Drywall, also known as wallboard or Sheetrock, is a lightweight material used on interior walls during a construction or renovation project. It typically comes in the style of thin board sheets and installed on walls or ceilings.
What is drywall made of, exactly?
Drywall is made of a few different materials, but most commonly, it is made from gypsum, which is a sturdy yet lightweight rock that provides versatile uses when ground up into a powder. Gypsum powder makes up drywall; it is finely ground and then pressed in between two thick pieces of paper. This creates a “board”, or a thin sheet. This sheet is attached to the wooden frame of a building with nails and screws.
Joint compound fills in the seams and nooks that the drywall has left open. Drywall was invented as a way to make it easier and faster to fill the interior of a wall without having to use plaster or another sort of quick-drying compound.
How Thick is Drywall?
There are several types of drywall thickness options to choose from when deciding on the right types of drywall for your project. Here is a quick overview of the different types of drywall sizes available at your local hardware store when beginning a renovation project:
- ¼” Drywall: This is the thinnest sheet of drywall available. It is the ideal choice for remodeling your basement, or for any residential interior walls and ceilings that do not require thick reinforcement.
- ¾” Drywall: Three times thicker than the thinnest form of drywall, the ¾” is a non-standard thickness of this drywall. It is used for extra reinforcement in interior walls, possibly in large or industrial-sized buildings. It is also good for use in the bathroom, where extra insulation is never a bad thing.
- ½” Drywall: An even thicker piece of drywall that contains extra features such as moisture resistance, different types of gypsum, and GP Green Board, which is an eco-friendly and recycled material that offers durability without making an impact on the environment. It is typically ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and basement walls.
Is there a standard drywall thickness?
The short answer is: Yes! For most projects, the standard drywall thickness typically ranges from the ½” size. While there are many types of drywall sizes to choose from, the most “regular” wallboard has a ½” thickness and a width of 4’ x 8’. This is the most versatile and typical board used for renovation and construction projects.
Is there thin drywall?
The ¼” drywall size is the thinnest drywall available; however, there are multiple thicknesses to choose from. Anything from ¼” all the way up to ⅝” is available at your local hardware store, or through special order from a manufacturer of construction supplier.
How Much Does a Sheet of Drywall Weigh?
One sheet of standard drywall, which is ½” thick and 4’ x 8’ long, weighs around 50 pounds. Sometimes, it can weigh a little bit more.
You may be thinking, “With a board that thin, how can it possibly weigh that much?”
Gypsum is a type of rock, and even when finely ground into a powder, it still carries a lot of weight. For a sheet of that size, however, the weight is not unmanageable at all. Depending on the width and height of the board, the weight might vary.
If you are curious to know what your sheets of drywall weigh, or how much a certain thickness of drywall would weigh, there is an online drywall weight calculator that you can use. You can even choose between standard and lightweight options to get the most out of your research.
Types of Drywall
There are plenty of different types of drywall available for you to choose from for your renovation project. In fact, there are specific types of drywall that are great for performing specific tasks. For example, you can invest in a type of drywall that offers moisture resistance and the ability to prevent mold from building up. There is also a type of fire resistant drywall to invest in as well; these typically come in larger and thicker sheets.
Ceiling drywall can come in a range of thicknesses and sheet sizes to make installation easier. Installing drywall on a ceiling can be quite tricky since you have to hang it in a perpendicular fashion and with much precision. It is recommended to use half-inch or even go up to ⅝” inch thick panels to prevent sagging.
Acoustic drywall is quite the advancement in the drywall industry and is certainly fitting for soundproofing the individual rooms of your home. This type of drywall enhances its acoustic abilities with high-density gypsum, which is also usually coated with moisture-resistant materials. This helps keep the sound within the walls, rather than reverberating through to the other side.
Alternatives to Drywall
Some alternatives to drywall include:
- Textured wall panels. These panels have a printed texture, which can actually cover existing walls. While they require a base before installation (they cannot be the only type of wall installed in your home), they are great for adding style and design to your walls, with the added benefit of extra reinforcement.
- Wood paneling. Real wood is still used in a wide number of construction projects, and it is still popular in the industry as a consumer favorite. While wood paneling is heavier and sometimes less affordable than drywall, it can add a stylish touch to your home while offering an unmatched amount of sturdiness.
- Wahoo Walls. This is a product that involves the use of expandable polystyrene foam core, which makes them a lot easier to install than drywall. They also add some thermal protection.
Interior wall paneling is a great alternative to plain painted drywall–adds personality and an outstanding focal point as shown in this contemporary living space.
While this rustic Denver home showcases distinguished reclaimed barn wood on the wall, you could create a similar look with wood paneling.