Putting up a wall has been anything but easy a century past. When you framed a ceiling or wall from timber and have been ready to shut it in with a completed surface ready for paint or paper, you would first nail on small bits of wood known as laths, then put on several different layers of plaster. The job was time consuming and hard to grasp.

Today you’ll be hard pressed to find anybody installing a traditional plaster finish out of scratch. It is much simpler to put up sheet of gypsum plaster sandwiched between newspaper, known as drywall, gypsum board, wallboard, Sheetrock (a trademarked brand) or just rock. Here’s an introduction to this ubiquitous material.

Claudio Ortiz Design Group, Inc..

Drywall vs. Plaster

Drywall is a master of disguise. The walls in this picture look as though they could be plaster. One of those visual giveaways that you are actually considering home is when you see the sharp corners created by regular corner bead.

Fur bead is a metallic or plastic piece that covers the outer corners of drywall to protect them from harm. Then joint compound is dispersed over the bead and sanded smooth.

In many standard plaster programs, a round piece of wood trim has been placed at the corners and then plastered over, making a round corner. To mimic this appearance with drywall, start looking for a bullnose corner bead.

Before Photo

Buckminster Green LLC

Unlike with traditional plaster programs, for which the whole surface has been troweled on by hand, only the seams and fasteners are coated with joint compound when you are finishing drywall.

The concluding happens in a number of steps. First paper tape is inserted in joint compound, or “mud.” Then two more coats of sand proceed before sanding.

If you are looking for a plaster-like complete, you should install blue plank — a drywall product made for this function — then skim coat the whole surace instead of only the seams. This is a lot quicker compared to traditional plaster.

Before Photo

Buckminster Green LLC

Drywall Sizes

Most drywall or Sheetrock you visit is 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch thick. What size to use depends on a variety of factors, including durability, location and fire safety.

The width of drywall sheets is 48 or 54 inches. The reason behind the two width dimensions is that when installed, two sheets will equal 8 or 9 ft — common ceiling heights in residential construction.

The sheet spans vary from 8 to 16 feet. For the do-it-yourselfer, a 4- by 8-foot sheet will probably be tough enough to move. And remember that you’ll want to cut holes every single outlet and light fixture box and find those all to lineup, too.

Experts generally utilize the more sheets, such as the one shown in this picture, since it decreases the time spent on taping joints.

Before Photo

Buckminster Green LLC

The benefit of 5/8-inch-thick drywall is the fact that is doesn’t bend or sag up to 1/2-inch drywall, which can show imperfections at the framing.

But what if you want the drywall to flex? Use 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch drywall. You may also have to make slits in the cloth to allow it to take the curve.


QuietRock Soundproof Drywall

Drywall Types

aside from regular gray drywall, you’ll also see green and purple. Both of these are great for areas that will see a good deal of moisture, like a bathroom. The purple is a step up in moisture protection against the green. In spite of this extra security, I do not recommend installing those in a shower or bathtub surround — you’ll want to tile on cement plank instead. Use green or purple plank for bathroom walls outside the shower. And install a good bath fan with a timer switch so that you’re not analyzing the capability of the gutters.

Additional types of drywall you’ll see are kind X for extra fire protection and QuietRock (revealed), which will be two pieces of gypsum laminated with a special glue that permits the assembly to absorb sound and make your living space quieter. The drywall is installed with the exact same special glue at the seams, and also a putty-like substance is placed around outlet boxes. If installed properly, it’s fairly powerful — but that doesn’t come cheap.

In case you’re searching for a milder sheet of rock, try USG’s new lightweight drywall. Even better, DIYers should rent a drywall lift for ceilings. It is well worth the extra expense.

Mark English Architects, AIA

We’ve only scratched the surface of what could be accomplished with drywall. Although drywall is simpler to install than plaster, it takes time to master the skill. Look for chances to practice, such as in a garage, until you try your skills on the living room.

Have fun, wear a mask when you sand, and rock!

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