If you are building a new home or renovating an old one, you may want to take a moment to applaud the inventors of drywall. Were it not for this ubiquitous building material, finishing walls would take about ten times as long. Plus, you would endure the mess and imprecision of slathering your walls with several coats of wet plaster. Fortunately, since gypsum wallboard became popular after WWII, products have come to market for every application, making your life as a builder or remodeler much easier.
Will just any old gypsum board suffice for your project? It depends. If the scope of your plans encompasses an interior closet, maybe any old type will do. Otherwise, consult your code requirements. The following common types of wallboard have their individual characteristics, and should cover any ordinary residential application or code requirement.
Most walls receive traditional, 1/2-inch gypsum wallboard. It’s thick enough to not sag with studs up to 24 inches on center, light enough to easily work with, comes in the standard 4 by 8-foot panels and is non-combustible. This is what the professionals mean when they speak of “regular” drywall.
You can get thinner panels, thicker panels and longer panels, if desired, but traditional drywall usually enables you to finish walls in standard rooms with the fewest amount of joints. However, because old homes and custom-designed luxury homes often go off-standard, you can also get panels up to 16 feet in length, as thin as 1/4-inch and up to 5/8-inch thick. If you have curved walls or windows, you can bend two layers of 1/4-inch drywall around them.
Water Resistant Greenboard
Because the gypsum mix pressed between two paper backings can deteriorate and foster mold where constant moisture penetrates the paint or wallpaper, you will prefer water resistant greenboard drywall in kitchens and bathrooms. While not waterproof, the green-colored backing has a petroleum-based coating to resist water and mold growth. It’s best used in bathrooms and kitchens on the walls that will not receive direct contact with water. Bathing enclosures need a different product to retain integrity against water intrusion.
Waterproof Cement Board
For your shower and tub surrounds, you’ll need cement board — cement reinforced with fiber — instead of gypsum wallboard or greenboard. The stiff and waterproof nature of this product serves well as the substrate for tile applications. That water which eventually penetrates the grout won’t harm cement board while the greenboard on the rest of the bathroom walls resists the extra moisture in the air from bathing.
Fire Resistant Type X
Traditional drywall is already non-combustible, meaning that it won’t leap into flames if you hold a match to it. However, if a house catches fire, sooner or later, the inherent moisture in the gypsum will dissipate, leaving the board ready to burn. Many jurisdictions require extra fire protection in some areas of your home. The type X (the letter “X” not the Roman numeral “ten”) drywall forming process impregnates the gypsum with a center layer of fiberglass for added fire resistance. Often, finished garages with bedrooms above must use a 5/8-inch Type X drywall system on the ceiling at the very minimum. The Type X should allow a 1-hour barrier between a fire and the next room. Regular drywall, on the other hand, is rated at twenty minutes. If your budget allows, you may wish to install Type X drywall throughout your entire project for peace of mind.
Above, we presented the most common types of gypsum board products. But if your new home or remodel job includes special conditions, Jones Heartz can supply you with specialized wallboard materials to meet your needs. We supply Colorado homeowners and professionals with building products fit for any occasion. Plus, we only buy drywall from North American producers. You never have to worry about toxic chemicals out-gassing from your new walls to harm you. To learn more, please feel free to contact us today.