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Drywall (also known as plasterboard, wallboard, sheetrock, gypsum board, buster board, custard board, or gypsum panel) is a panel made of calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum), with or without additives, typically extruded between thick sheets of facer and backer paper, used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings. Drywall is also the name of the panels as they are supplied for hanging. Drywall is commonly made from Calcium Sulfate. In addition to its rigidity compared to wood framing and conventional lath-and-plaster wall/ceiling surfaces, drywall provides excellent fire resistance, acoustic performance and strength.

Drywall Consistency

The plaster is mixed with fiber (typically paper, glass wool, or a combination of these materials), plasticizer, foaming agent, and various additives that can reduce mildew , flammability, and water absorption. Drywall construction became widespread in the late 1940s as a simple, cheap alternative to traditional plaster. Also known as ” paneling “, ” wallboard “, or ” wallboard panels “, drywall began as a gypsum-based product called Schuller Board which was essentially a solid dried gypsum block extruded into rectangular sheets. Drywall systems were originally marketed as an alternative to other suspension systems because they could be easily attached to steel studs and did not require wooden framing sub-floors. Wooden sub-floors had been the norm as a fire resistance standard, but Drywall systems became popular because builders could frame directly on concrete slabs. Drywall panels were typically 4 feet by 8 feet with 1/4 to 3/8 inches thickness and came in 25 foot long sheets. Sheetrock Drywall is an industry registered trademark.

In 1953, gypsum manufacturers began adding a small amount of aluminum powder to drywall compound, which expanded into a marketable product called “drywall”. The National Gypsum Company unveiled its patented brand of drywall – called WonderBoard – at that time. A few months later United States Gypsum followed suit and began production using the name USG Board. In 1960, James C. Fletcher Associates invented a Drywall texture machine, which would propel the drywall industry forward creating a boom in the Drywall construction business. Drywall installation gained popularity due to its quick speed and ease of use compared to traditional lath-and-plaster or “mud” walls. Drywall is available in various core thicknesses from 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) to 1/2 inch (13 mm) with 1/4 inch now being the most widely used for interior wall surfaces.

Drywall Make-up

Drywall consists of four sections: The paper facer, top layer or Greenboard, a middle layer known as DryBack , and bottom layer called SoundBack. The finish coat on both sides of DryWall is typically five-eighth inch thick gypsum which is often referred to as Drywall compound. Drywall can be cut or drilled without special precautions, but any holes larger than 1/4 inch should be carefully taped to prevent formation of cracks, which are difficult to patch. When properly installed DryWall partitions will not normally require painting except in the case of previously painted surfaces that have become water-stained due to penetrations or other defects. Drywall panels are generally available with several different surface textures, including smooth wallboard, sandpaper, and knockdown.

Drywall Manufacturing

Drywall panels are manufactured at a factory using large machines known as “multi-head gang saws”. The boards exit the saw in an arrangement called a “mat”, which typically has two rows of staggered boards running in opposite directions. The mat is trimmed at the ends to give a finished edge and then loaded onto trucks or conveyors where it is transported to distribution centers. Drywall panels are also manufactured in Canada by International Gypsum Company’s Canadian Drywall Division which has 4 operating facilities throughout Ontario located in Cambridge, Picton, Tillbury & Brampton which was established in 1933. DryWall can be manufactured using either steel studs or wood frames depending on local building codes. Drywall panels are typically installed with screws that are rated for drywall installation, which can include nails, ring-shank nails, staples, bolts, toggle bolts, molly bolts. Drywall installations require special tools such as circular saws, drills, pneumatic brad and finish nailers, masonry drill bits, Drywall saws and other power tools.

Drywall Installation

Drywall installation typically involves several steps.

  • First, the metal or wood studs are installed upon which DryWall panels are attached using appropriate fasteners such as screws or nails.
  • The DryBacks (interior gypsum board) is then screwed (using self-tapping Drywall screws ) to the DryBacks of all surrounding panels while applying a bead of plasterboard joint compound along joints and seams before inserting DryBacks into place.
  • The top textured layer called GreenBoard is then applied with tapered edge strips creating a smooth finished edge before finally applying finishing coats for paint and texture.

On average, the entire job takes about a day depending on the size and complexity of the area. Drywalling is a preferred method of construction for those wishing to complete their own home additions as DryWall is inexpensive, easy to use, and quick to cut and install. Drywall is an efficient weather-resistant building material with excellent soundproofing properties that comes in four different standard core thicknesses: 3/8″, ½”, ¾” and 1″. Often after a repiping project, a plumber will offer dry wall repair services with texture matching.

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