Is Gypsum Board Drywall? Here’s the Truth!

Author: Stuart Hunt - Published: 31.10.20
Is Gypsum Board Drywall

Before we start comparing what makes gypsum board and drywall both alike and different, it’s essential to know what each of these items is.

Builders use a lot of different materials and even more terminology that is uniquely theirs, but once you learn a few essential words and terms, questions such as, is gypsum board drywall, become a lot easier to answer.

Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral and is used to make the products that go inside of drywall, while drywall is what is placed in between the walls and ceilings of nearly every home built today – in other words, a finished product.

This is why many people today call drywall many different types of “boards,” but you have to keep in mind that drywall consists of materials – such as gypsum – found inside of the drywall so that the drywall works the way it’s supposed to work.

If you’re still confused about the difference between drywall and gypsum board then I will go through what rely makes the difference between gypsum board and drywall.

Let’s get started with some of the basics.

What Is Drywall? And What Is Gypsum Board?

Drywall is a material placed inside interior walls and ceilings in homes, and it is there to reduce flammability, mildew, and water absorption.

It usually consists of a panel made out of calcium sulphate dihydrate and can be made with or without certain additives.

Drywall goes in between thick sheets of facer and backer paper and often consists of plaster that is then mixed with agents such as foaming agents, plasticizers, and even fibre, which is what makes it mildew- and flame-resistant.

Drywall also goes by other names, even though not all of them are accurate. Some of these names include plasterboard, wallboard, buster board, sheetrock, custard board, gypsum panel, and of course, gypsum board.

But the name gypsum board became popular because gypsum plaster is what is used to make the type of drywall that has a fibreglass matting covering on each side of the board.

So in essence, drywall is actually made partly out of gypsum plaster, but there are other materials used in the drywall as well, not just the gypsum.

Why Drywall Is Important

Often, fire-resistant materials are added to the gypsum plaster used in the drywall so that the finished product holds up better if the home experiences fires or other catastrophes.

Drywall usually comes in large panels that are 1.2 metres x 2.4 metres in size, which is more commonly known as 2400mm x 1200mm.

When it comes to interior wall finishing in new homes, drywall is what most, if not all, builders want because it provides a high-quality protective product that goes a long way in keeping new homes safe.

Drywall offers numerous advantages, including:

  • It is both easy and fast to install.
  • It can be used over plastered walls.
  • It gives you very smooth surfaces.
  • It helps the rooms be much quieter after it’s installed.
  • It is easy to find and very cost-effective.
  • It is fire-, mould-, and moisture-resistant.
  • It is super easy to paint and repaint over and over again.
  • It is usually less expensive than conventional plastering.
  • It is very energy-efficient.
  • It makes chips and cracks much easier to repair.
  • The materials are recyclable.

Drywall is made out of a paper liner that the manufacturer wraps around the gypsum plaster, which has a core inner material that offers the advantages mentioned above.

The gypsum that is used in drywall goes through a process first, starting with calcination while it’s in its raw form, and this is done so that the volatile part is removed.

What Is Gypsum?

Now, let’s talk about the main ingredient in drywall – gypsum. Also called hydrated calcium sulphate, gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral that is used mostly as a raw material for dozens of different products, including but not limited to drywall.

Gypsum is naturally fire-resistant, making it extremely useful in the construction industry, as well as in other industries such as agriculture and manufacturing.

Selenite is a variety of gypsum, and it is both transparent and colourless. In addition, it has a glowing property that sets it apart from most other minerals. There are different varieties of gypsum as well, including satin spar, which looks a lot like satin; and alabaster, whose crystals are very fine-grained.

If you heat gypsum to temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius, most of the water is eliminated, and it turns into a material that everyone calls Plaster of Paris. Plaster of Paris was used as a building material for almost every construction job until drywall came along, which is another form of gypsum plaster.

The reason drywall is so popular in the building industry is that if a fire does occur, it can significantly reduce the number of damages that occur while the home is on fire. This means less structural damage to the house, and this saves both the homeowner and the builders who are hired to repair the home a lot of money, not to mention time.

How Is a Gypsum Board Made?

Before the gypsum board is included as part of the drywall, specific processes have to take place first.

Gypsum is quarried and crushed, then ground into powder and heated. This is part of the calcination process, which occurs when 75% of the water is removed from the gypsum after the calcined gypsum has been mixed again with water and additives to form a slurry Afterwards, it is compacted and pressed between layers of recycled paper facers.

which results in it being ready to be used in the drywall process.

It isn’t a complicated process, but it does have to be done correctly for the gypsum board to be ready to be used in the drywall itself. Today, roughly 95% of the homes constructed use gypsum board in their drywall, which is the perfect item to place in between the walls and ceilings of today’s modern homes.

As mentioned earlier, gypsum board is also called plasterboard, sheetrock, and wallboard, but Sheetrock and Gyprock – another name used when describing these boards – are actually two brand names, not generic names for a board that is used to build homes.

They are all essentially the same thing, but different English-speaking countries use different names for what is almost the same item, although not always. Once again, gypsum boards are used in drywall, so the two are not precisely the same item.

The reason they call it “drywall” is because the product is dry and ready for painting right away. Before drywall came along, plaster and lath were used, and you had to wait until these were completely dry before you could paint them and get them ready for the homes they were scheduled to go into.

If you are restoring an older home and find plaster and lath on the inside of the walls, it’s best not to replace it with drywall. Why? Because plaster and lath are more durable and much more substantial than nearly anything else, including drywall.

Besides, plaster and lath also suppress sound much better so that in the end, you get a much quieter home to enjoy.

Types of Gypsum Boards/Drywall

There is actually more than one type of drywall, although the classic gypsum board is still extremely popular with homebuilders. These include:

  • Pre-decorated drywall. This type of drywall is very decorative and contains a vinyl finish. It is fade-resistant and has bevelled sides, and it is perfect for rooms that are meant to have a functional but straightforward décor, especially rooms that have a lot of people traffic such as retail stores, classrooms, and business offices.
  • Soundproof drywall, which is made in layers of both gypsum and either glues or polymers in between the gypsum layers. This type of drywall costs roughly four times what standard drywall does, but the good news is that if you want to soundproof a room, this is what you’ll need. This type of drywall is perfect for rooms that are made into recording studios or home offices.
  • Type X offers extra fire-resistance because it is enhanced with extra fibres inside of the gypsum core. Usually sold in thicknesses of 1.5 cm or more, Type X is generally used in situations where fire-rated materials are required. This is also the reason the Type X gypsum board is a bit more expensive than the standard kind.

In Summary

Gypsum board consists of a core made out of the mineral gypsum, and a paper facing. It is part of the drywall, and this is where the confusion sometimes happens.

Different people in different countries have unique names for every part of the drywall, but if you think of drywall as the finished product and consider the materials used to make the drywall, which includes gypsum, the two terms are a little bit easier to understand.

Of course, drywall is often referred to as gypsum board because people are referring to a board – that is, the drywall – that is made partly out of gypsum. In this sense, is gypsum board drywall?, - you can consider a gypsum board to be the same thing as drywall, as long as you keep in mind that gypsum is how it starts and drywall is actually where it ends because this is the purpose of the gypsum.

Some of the best places to purchase drywall is Wickes Diy store which costs around £7.60 per sheet of which each board is 2400mm x 1200mm in size.

For a full in-depth guide for home DIY – Our Grant New Homeowners Maintenance Guide

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