Thanks to ease of installation, low cost and natural strength, drywall has replaced plaster as the primary material for residential walls and ceilings in the U.S. While many people are familiar with standard drywall -- which consists of a gypsum core coated with heavy paper -- some may be unaware of just how many variations of this product are available. Subtle changes to drywall materials and construction during manufacturing results in products that may look very similar, but actually offer very different benefits. Understanding the different types of drywall on the market can help you choose the right product for your project and create a finish that will endure.
Moisture-resistant drywall, also known as green board for its characteristic green coloring, is designed for kitchens, bathrooms and other areas that may be subject to moisture or humidity. This material features wax-coated paper to repel water, and some varieties also have silicone or oils added to the core to resist moisture. Keep in mind that this product is not waterproof, but it does offer greater resistance to moisture than standard drywall.
If you like the look of traditional plaster, or you plan to use specialty finishes like Venetian plaster, swap standard drywall for plaster board. Also known as blue board for its blue coloring, this product uses special paper for an ultra-smooth finish that bonds well with plaster compounds.
Fire-resistant drywall, also known as Type X, features a denser core with glass fibers mixed in to make the wall more resistant to heat and flames. It essentially takes the fire rating of a way from a standard 30 minutes to a full hour, which means more time to escape and less property damage in the event of a fire. This product is often required by building codes when drywalling stairwells, garages and certain other areas.
Many schools and hospitals skip standard drywall in favor of impact-resistant board, also known as high-abuse board. This product is lined or coated with fiberglass mesh to increase the strength of the board, which helps reduce dents, holes and other signs of damage.
While no drywall product is truly soundproof, sound board -- or sound-resistant drywall -- helps to reduce sound transfer between rooms or floors. This product alternates layers of gypsum with layers of plastic, specialty glue or other materials. These layers absorb sound while also stiffening the board to reduce vibration.
While green board is a great choice for moisture-prone areas, it won't hold up against frequent water exposure. To construct walls behind tiles, such as in the shower, stick to cement board. This product is made of cement, not gypsum, and uses glass fibers for added strength and moisture-resistance.
Phase-change drywall, also known as heat-absorption drywall, is one of the newest innovations in the drywall market. This product contains tiny chemical capsules that absorb heat by day, then slowly release it throughout the night. When used in passive solar design, this product can help to reduce the demand for air conditioning and heat, saving money on operating costs while reducing the impact on the environment.
For more information about drywall choices, talk to a drywall company such as Zip Drywall.