What is Drywall?
Drywall is a modern building material used for the finish construction of interior walls and ceilings. It came about in the mid-twentieth century when the old methods of plaster and
lath were too cumbersome and manpower intensive. The drywall (or also known as Sheetrock® (USG Product), Gyp Board, Gypsum Board, Plaster Board, Wallboard) was invented in 1916 by the US Gypsum Company. It is basically gypsum squeezed between fiberglass matting or heavyweight paper. Additions such as anti-mildew and fire-resistant materials, are mixed with the gypsum plaster before applying the paper (depending on manufacturer of material). It is then nailed onto a frame and the seams between the sheets are plastered, or special tape – tape is then covered with spackle-like paste called joint compound, then sand to smoothness.
Types and Applications
Drywall come in various thickness – 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ (typical), 5/8″, and panel lengths range from 8 feet to 10 feet. It can go as long as 16 feet. Panel widths are usually 48″ and the most common panel size found is a 4\’x8\’ panel in a 1/2″ thickness.
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ thick panel are recommended for residential repair / renovation and is typically used in a single or double layer application when covering a curved surface with a small radius. One common use of these thin and relatively lightweight panels is to go over the top of severely cracked old plaster ceilings to get a nice smooth surface.
- 1/2″ thick panel are used in residential construction. Recommended application is for single-layer applications over studs spaced 16″ on center. Most doors frames and window frames are designed for use with 1/2″ drywall thickness.
- 5/8″ Thick Panel are recommended for residential single-layer applications over studs spaced 24″ on center or where more sound control or a one-hour fire rated wall is required such as between the garage and the house. To achieve the one-hour rating use a Type “X” 5/8 wallboard. Type “X” drywall usually has perlite, vermiculite or boric acid added for added fire resistance.
- Special water and mold resistant drywall is used in wet applications such as in bathrooms and usually has a green paper face.
Tools for Drywall Installation
- Wallboard / drywall
- joint compound/plaster – plaster should match drywall type;
- utility knife / Keyhole Saw;
- hammer / electric drill (cordless or otherwise);
- trowel / joint-knives (6 to 10 inches at minimum);
- sander (electric) or sandpaper 80-100 grit plus sandpaper block;
- nails/screws (for hanging drywalls – Generally approximately one pound of nails for every five 4X8 sheets is needed);
- Drywall corners – made of light angled metal for protruding angle; approximately the same number of linear feet of this product needed for the same linear feet of protruding corners;
- goggles, hardhat, face mask and gloves (for personal safety);
The ideal wall (though possibly not something one can get at all times) will be walls that have been built 16-inch on center (meaning the frame is built so that there is at least a stud every 16 inches) or some other number evenly divided into 48 inches. This prevents necessity for cutting every sheet of drywall to length, and save waste and man-hours. Ensure that there are no uneven surfaces or old nail sticking out of the wood.
Ensure insulation, plumbing and electrical wires (including phone, cable TV lines and alarm systems) are properly run and secured. Electrical boxes would extend beyond the frame by 1/2 inch in order to make sure the box is flush with the outside of the final wall. Dampness in the walls or ceilings should be corrected.
Locations of all wall studs on ceiling and floor for vertical nailing pattern should be marked.