What Is Drywall and What Is It Made Of?

Drywall is a cheap, effortless-to-work-with design materials which is broadly utilised throughout the world to construct partitions and ceilings. It normally takes quite minor time and work to put in and can final for numerous many years. Even if you’ve in no way accomplished any construction, you have most likely presently observed sheets of drywall when making an attempt to restore cracks on the walls or modify the wallpaper/paint.

But what is drywall made of, in any case? What are the most frequent employs for it? Are there different kinds of drywall out there? What sets them apart? We’ll go over all these queries in this thorough guide, along with the greatest professionals, cons, and usually asked inquiries. So, if you’re all set to understand every thing there is to know about this oh-so-popular material, be part of us, and let’s get started out!

How Does It Work?

In the development globe, drywall is a “workhorse”. It will come at a low price tag and does not get a diploma to reduce, form, and put to very good use. That’s why drywall covers the flat surfaces in most modern day-working day homes (at minimum in Western international locations). Most likely, the framings in your house are lined with it. This is fascinating: considering that the submit-WW2 design growth, drywall has been utilized to build tens of millions of non-public houses and apartment structures in the States.

Today, North American organizations manufacture a lot more than 20 billion sq. feet of drywall for every 12 months. It is not at all fancy, nor does it get long hrs to get ready, which is exactly why it’s so well-liked. This content is also known as plasterboard or wallboard. Gypsum board is another typical identify for it. So, why gypsum, you may question? Is that what sheets of drywall are created of? That is appropriate! Here’s a more comprehensive search at the person factors that make up a standard drywall panel.

man painting drywall with smooth white
Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

What Is Drywall Made Of?

No matter how big, tiny, thick, or skinny the drywall is, it’s produced from gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate)—a all-natural delicate sulfate mineral. This is an environmentally-pleasant product, and to make it hard and sturdy, gypsum plaster is put via a dehydration procedure. Following, it’s combined with hardeners and additives like paper pulp or starch that give it the preferred form and regularity for numerous assignments.

The sort of chemical substances utilised and the thickness of the drywall sheets give it specified qualities. We’re speaking about resistance to fireplace, humidity/mould, and effect, together with the capability to block outside the house noises. Now, while gypsum is, in fact, the primary “ingredient” in any drywall panels, it is constantly wrapped in fiberglass or hefty paper. Here’s how drywall is utilised in development:

  • First, it’s secured to the framing with a set of screws or nails (a regular set will do)
  • Next, the joints between the individual sheets are taped and covered in mud to make a uniform surface
  • After that, construction workers sand the wallboard panels to achieve an even smoother finish

What Are the Different Types of Drywall?

1 of the best factors about drywall is that it’s available in diverse versions, every single exclusively formulated and produced for particular needs. And, they are very effortless to set apart from each other by examining the color (no, drywall is not usually grey or white) and the cardboard/fiberglass bordering the gypsum. Here are the most typically employed drywall sorts on the marketplace:

  • Standard Drywall Panels. You’ll often hear construction workers refer to standard drywall as the whiteboard. Produced on a large scale, it is cheap and widely available. Standard drywall is usually 1/2-inches thick and comes in 4×8-feet sheets, which makes it a flexible and reliable material. Most private houses and commercial buildings in the States are built using this drywall.
  • Green Drywall Sheets. Also known as mold-resistant drywall, green wallboard is wax-coated which protects it from above-average moisture levels. The outer wrapping paper, in turn, is much thicker and that makes the sheets even more resistant to mold and mildew. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens—that’s where green wallboard is frequently used. It’s a bit more expensive than regular drywall, but still rather affordable.
  • Paperless Drywall. Often mistaken for green drywall sheets, paperless drywall is what you might call the next step in evolution. First, instead of paper, this drywall has fiberglass as backing. More importantly, the gypsum itself is water-resistant. Compared to regular drywall, paperless panels cost +/- 30% more ($25–35 for a standard 4×8-feet sheet). But, they’re well worth it for the right project.
  • Purple Drywall. If you’re looking for the ultimate protection against moisture, mold, and mildew, consider investing in purple drywall. It’s even more expensive ($20–60 for a 4×8-feet panel) and is wrapped in 100% recycled paper. That means the mold won’t have anything to feed on and reproduce. Purple drywall is only used when it’s clear that the boards will be in permanent contact with water.
  • Type C/X Drywall. Fiberglass is constantly used to fire-proof basements (where the furnace is usually installed), garages (packed with tools and devices that could cause a fire), and other potentially hazardous areas. That’s exactly why Type C and Type X drywall panels are wrapped in fiberglass. So, what’s the difference between these two types? Type C is recommended to use on ceilings as it doesn’t shrink under extreme heat. Type X, in turn, can keep the fire away for up to an hour.
  • Blue Board Drywall. Planning on covering the walls in your house with plaster? Then plasterboard will be a perfect choice. Also known as the blue board, it serves as an ideal foundation for veneer plastering. Blue board drywall boasts strong resistance to mold and it’s a go-to material for bathrooms. As for the price, it costs roughly the same as green drywall.
  • Soundboard Drywall. Even the cheapest type of drywall will block outside noises to a certain extent. As for soundboards, or soundproof drywall sheets, they are rich in polymers and wood fibers that prevent sound waves from penetrating the walls. This is quite a thick material and takes a bit more expertise to work with.
  • VOC-Absorbing Drywall. A new product on the market, VOC-absorbing drywall panels have proven to improve the air quality instead of contaminating it. By literally “soaking up” all the hazardous chemicals in the room, these sheets make it a safer environment. Along with that, they minimize the growth of mildew.
stack of moisture-resistant drywall
Image Credit: Kirill Gorshkov, Shutterstock

Where Is It Used?

Drywall is the go-to design material for walls and ceilings. As soon as the framing structure is in location, you are free to nail or screw the drywall sheets on to that body. Alongside with that, drywall is also utilized by designers to produce stunning ornaments, arches, eaves, and other (instead intricate) architectural factors. Drywall can be thick or thin, and also massive and tiny. Here’s a quick appear at why that is critical:

Different Thickness for Different Tasks

So, for constructing the walls, one/2-inch sheets are the golden normal. If you want the drywall to be hearth-resistant, use five/8-inch panels as an alternative. The ceiling will also reward from marginally thicker sheets as they will last lengthier. Thinner sheets (1/4 inches) are only great for masking curved walls and masking cracks on thicker panels. The very same is true for three/4-inch drywall: it’s employed for patching up old, worn-out, and cracked drywall.

The Size Also Matters

Most drywall sheets you see out there are 4×8 ft. Very first, these are low-cost. Second, considering that they’re reasonably light-weight, they don’t call for two sets of fingers for transportation. Apart from, most framing constructions are particularly developed to accommodate drywall boards of this dimensions. With that mentioned, to accomplish a sleek surface that retains paint truly well, you may well want to select 4×10-foot sheets as an alternative. They’ll be fifty% heavier and value much more.

Next, we have 4×12-foot and 4×16-foot. These aren’t as common, however, specially when it arrives to normal construction or Do-it-yourself strategies. Nonetheless, for massive-scale assignments, the bigger the panels, the faster you can protect the body with drywall. In the long run, it all comes down to what your existing requirements are.

two men installing drywall on the wall
Image Credit: DUO Studio, Shutterstock

Advantages of Drywall

  • Highly affordable. Drywall is cheap—that’s its biggest advantage over other construction materials. To produce it, manufacturing plants don’t have to use expensive or sophisticated equipment, and that’s why it’s available at such a low price. More importantly, industrial-scale production helps keep the prices low.
  • Flexible and versatile. While drywall sheets aren’t the most pliable material out there, they are, indeed, easy to work with. You can cut them right there and then with a regular construction knife. Also, most drywall sheets can be secured to beams and columns both vertically and horizontally.
  • Extended lifespan. Expect drywall to last for up to 70 years (30–50 years on average) in a dry environment. Regular drywall sheets won’t be able to serve for that long when exposed to extreme levels of humidity, though. But if it’s purple drywall, you won’t have to worry about that.
  • Can be painted over. Regardless of what type of drywall you use to cover the walls or the ceiling, it will be able to hold paint. And, the paint will “stick” without any sanding.
  • Easy to fix. What if one of the panels cracks? Will you have to replace the entire wall? Not quite! Drywall sheets are easily repaired by cutting out the damaged parts and replacing them with new ones.
  • Acoustic and thermal insulation. Regular drywall won’t be very impressive in this regard. Still, you will get some basic noise reduction and absorption along with heat insulation.

Disadvantages of Drywall

  • Messy to work with. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with drywall, you know how messy it can get. Primarily, we’re talking about the dust that is released into the air. Cutting it fills the whole room with dust. Even if you just move it around, the dust will still find its way into the atmosphere.
  • Weak against water/mold. This mostly applies to green drywall, of course, but, since you might not have the budget for the more resistant types that cost extra, this is still a con.
  • Not exactly lightweight. It depends on the size of the sheets. As mentioned, 4×8-foot drywall isn’t that heavy. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to handle the larger sheets (4×12 and 4×16) without help.
applying putty on drywall
Image Credit: Alyona Tec, Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the Right Size for Drywall?

To response this concern, you need to have to very first decide what kind of a venture you are operating on and what role the drywall will engage in in that. If you are not a professional but like to perform on some Do-it-yourself stuff in your garage, go with 4×8-feet sheets. The largest purpose for that is flexibility. These panels can be minimize with basic instruments/instruments and are fairly light-weight.

At the very same time, folks that do this for a living (like building staff) usually decide for much greater dimensions. Once more, dependent on the activity at hand, big drywall sheets can get the occupation completed more quickly and cleaner. Nevertheless not sure which dimension to pick? Go again to our in depth breakdown and comparison of the a variety of dimensions, drywall sorts, and thickness/density. That must aid make up your head!

Is Drywall Better Than Plaster?

This drastically is dependent on the mother nature of the venture you are operating on. Drywall panels are more secure, do not require to be sanded, and consider a whole lot considerably less work and expense to restore compared to plaster. On best of that, they arrive in distinct sizes, which, again, cannot be said about plaster. Drywall is not a perfect development content, however. Plaster is much more versatile, prolonged-lasting, and not nearly as hefty. That implies no additional established of arms will be needed.

Additionally, with plaster, you won’t have to be concerned about mold/mildew expansion, as it’s pretty much immune to it. Talking of that, plaster is also far more resistant to fires and exterior noises and does a greater occupation of trying to keep cold air out and warm air in. To match it, you will have to commit in a much more pricey sort of drywall, like purple, blue, or green. Summing up, each substance has its professionals and cons.

When to Use Drywall
  • Heat and sound insulation is a priority
  • You want an easily fixable surface
  • The work has to be done in a short time
  • You need a cheap building material
When Not to Use Drywall
  • Hazardous materials are off-limits
  • You can’t work with heavy panels/sheets
  • You don’t want any construction dust
  • High humidity is common in your area


For a Diy fanatic, drywall is a go-to materials merely simply because it is inexpensive, simple to cut/form to your liking, and will get the work accomplished quick. Now, based on how large the sheets are, you may well not be able to pull the project off. On the vibrant side, common-sized panels should not be that challenging to deal with. Speaking of that, there are lots of different styles, dimensions, and sorts of drywall accessible on the market.

Durable, lengthy-long lasting, straightforward (and quick) to repair, and largely problem-totally free, drywall is an essential component in any development project, no make a difference how big or tiny it is. Correct, drywall does generate dust and is total messy. But if you choose the proper type, you’ll get a soundproof, water-resistant, or non-flamable substance for a really minimal cost!



Highlighted Image Credit history: Zakhar Mar, Shutterstock