So, how thick is drywall? This article is a guide on the various types of drywall and their thickness.
Drywall was first patented in 1894, by Augustine Sackett and originally it was known as Sackett Board. It was developed as a substitute for plaster as labor-saving material. US Gypsum Company purchased the Sackett invention in 1909 and continues to remain the largest drywall board producer in North America.
Drywall is economical and easy to install, and its flat white, clean appearance makes it ideal for ceiling finishes and wall finishing in residential construction. More than 96% of new and modern homes have drywall finishing even though homeowners hardly ever give their interior wall or ceilings a second thought.
You get a large variety of drywall sheets and materials vary in thickness and material quality too. When you want to install drywall or get a contractor to do so, you can choose between tapered or square edges as well as qualities like fire-resistance, moisture resistance, etc.
You get different drywall sizes and drywall dimensions as well as thickness, with some type, therefore, more suitable depending on its purpose. It is therefore important that you understand drywall sizes and its uses.
Types of Drywall
Image source: dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA
A standard sheet of drywall is good for residential remodeling and basements. It does not contain any interesting features and used for ceilings and residential interior walls.
Image source: dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA
Drywall sheet sizes with a square edge are used for ceilings and walls that will be plastered. It is standard drywall with sheets that butt against each other.
Taper-edged drywall is for finishing walls with the tapered ends which allow compound fillers between the gaps.
Moisture resistant drywall is also known as cement board and green board. These drywall types prevent absorption of moisture as it is treated with a covering and paperless backing which is better than traditional drywall especially when used in spaces like bathrooms. It is a breathable wall which is used in the kitchen as well as utility rooms, basements, laundry rooms and often acts as tile backer too in these areas. The best types include GP Green Board, National Gypsum and American Gypsum.
Foil-back does not offer as much moisture resistance compared to actual moisture-resistant boards as explained above. However, it is suitable for areas with less moisture, but more for colder temperatures.
The board options for mold-resistance include American Gypsum (M-Bloc), National Gypsum (XP), and USG which is called, MoldTough. These types use special coatings and paperless backing that are better to prevent mold. It reduces mold significantly and extends the appearance as well as the lifespan of surfaces.
You want drywall in a garage that can withstand abuse and here you will get the type of drywall that has a polystyrene layer that bonds to the non-decorative side of the gypsum board.
When you want fire resistant drywall it is important to know how thick is drywall, when you need for fire-resistance. You get a 5/8-inch thickness which is known as Type X or Fire Board and these have glass fibers in its construction.
They have great use for places like stairwells, corridors, and garage ceilings and will reduce flames from spreading in the event of a fire. In addition, will these walls generate less smoke too and also good for sound control with the additional thickness provided.
When you renovate a home, the building codes will request or require that you use Type X when in areas where you have rooms with wood stoves and furnaces as well as garages and utility rooms.
How thick is drywall and what are its sizes
The length and drywall width are available in multiples of feet, more commonly in x 4. The drywall sheet size is commonly 4 x 8-foot, 4 x 12-foot, and 4 x 16-foot sheet sizes. However, a client’s needs, the builder and architect can determine the exact size of drywall.
4-foot x 8-foot:
The drywall size that is more often used since it is easy to carry, work with and install is the 4 x 8-foot drywall size. A drywall board size with these dimensions and a thickness of ½-inches would weight around 57 pounds, therefore still manageable.
4 x 12-foot and 4 x 16-foot:
When you have long and tall walls, you could opt for drywall lengths of either twelve feet or sixteen feet. If you want an unbroken line from floor to ceiling and prefer a smooth surface when working with a long and high wall it would be the best size.
2 x 2-foot:
This drywall size is great when you have small spaces or need to do patchwork around stairs, alcove, and nooks. It is not a standard size of drywall, but you will find it at local hardware stores and home improvement stores.
Choosing a sheet size
You have to decide on the size of a sheet of drywall as it comes in sheets. You can buy different lengths but commonly the 4 x 8 is the most popular.
Now you need to determine the thickness required and we explain, how thick is drywall?
Drywall thickness sizes are in standard drywall sizes, therefore, is it important that you understand size variance to get great results depending on where you want to use it.
Drywall sizes have an important factor to consider and that is its thickness. You might want to look at thicker sheetrock sizes for ceilings and walls as light and flimsy panels could break.
Standard drywall thickness sizes:
- 1/4-inch (6.35mm)
- 3/8-inch (9.52mm)
- 1/2-inch (12.7mm)
- 5/8-inch (15.9mm)
When you want an economical drywall sheet this is the recommended option, but keep in mind that they are very thin. You have to treat it with care as it could break as they commonly weigh a maximum of 38 pounds. These are good when you want to create a surface over plaster or make a curved wall.
- Good for slightly curved walls covering
- Placed over existing strong walls as a skimming
- Not a common thickness
When you want to fix patches of drywall or where drywall is damaged or worn, his is a great drywall thickness. It is the best solution for remodeling.
You get the ½ inch drywall thickness in varying lengths and often used for ceilings and walls. Most modern homes have ½-inch thickness drywall sheets. It is suitable for wood and steel frames.
This is the thickest drywall you get and used for commercial construction jobs. The 5/8-inch drywall thickness is called Firewall too as it has strong noise proof and fireproof attributes.
Which side is which?
Drywall colors are usually standard with a brown or dark grey on the one side and ivory on the other side. The side with the darker color usually has the manufacturer stamp and visible seams. The lighter side faces the room.
When you choose drywall that is too thin, it will bow and break and building codes require specific stud spacing for projects. Local municipalities will have codes for your contract to use. when you use 16-inch stud spacing when applying drywall, it should be better. However, a drywall manufacturer will be able to answer your question regarding the on-center stud spacing and wall lining systems.
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