How strong is drywall?

by | Walls&Ceillings

if you’ve started a remodel project or finishing a basement, then it will end up with you by installing some protection coverings to the framed walls and ceilings or what we called drywall, So, How really strong is drywall?

Well, …if you take two wood boards and put them on 1 ft high and 16 to 24 inch across, then lay a piece of drywall over the top of them (like the karate man do), stand on, and let me know your opinion about its strength.

Anyone of average strength can make a hole on it easily, and I have seen that many times, didn’t you? but that doesn’t mean it’s completely vulnerable or unuseful, and we can measure the strength of drywall according to its thickness and type.

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a broad category of construction materials that contain several types of panels with different purposes, including common gypsum-based wallcovering panels as well as specialty wallcoverings and tile backers.

Drywall usually consists of a strong paper skin adhered to a gypsum core. The finish-ready face paper wraps around to the back of the panel at the sides, where it overlaps the coarser, more rigid paper used on the back.

For handling purposes, sheets of drywall are joined at the ends by removable strips of tape.

To facilitate finishing, panels are typically tapered at the long edges. The shallow depression formed where panels meet is easily covered with tape and filled with joint compound for a flat surface that appears continuous.

The short, butt-end joints are not recessed and are more challenging to finish.

Drywall Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Drywall is fire resistant
  • It isolates sound and temperature
  • Easy to install on interior wood-framed buildings
  • cheap to buy
  • It can be painted
  • Easy to repair and to fill
  • Has many different panel types and thickness grades
  • Easy to use for interior steel-framed building
  • The best for the decoration
  • Easy to store and to move
  • Easy to remove

Cons

  • Easy to be wet, Not recommended for bathrooms
  • Slightly weak
  • Lower durability than many other boards
  • Drywall panels are heavy, you need a partner to install it

Drywall Panel Types

Up until the 1930s, interior walls were created by troweling wet plaster onto wood or metal lath that had been nailed to the wall framing members.

The finished wall required three coats of plaster, each of which had to be permitted to dry or set. The first generation of drywall panels replaced the lath and the heavy “scratch” coat of plaster.

Today, even when a traditional plaster wall finish is desired, special blue-papered drywall panels are anchored to the framing to form the base of the wall instead of a hand-troweled scratch coat. This reduces labor and drying time greatly.

Since the end of World War II, the typical drywall panel wall requires no finish layer of plaster.

Only minor surface corrections are required, including the filling of seams and covering of fastener dimples with joint compound.

Eliminating hand-troweled finishes saves time, labor, and money.

GYPSUM: is a naturally occurring crystal mined from the earth. It is formed when calcium sulfate chemically combines with water. The scrubbers that neutralize sulfuric acid emitted from power plants also create gypsum synthetically. Today much of our gypsum drywall is a byproduct of this effort to protect the environment from acid rain. When buildings burn, the water is driven out of gypsum crystals in drywall, producing steam. This characteristic makes gypsum a fire suppressant, though eventually, the dehydrated gypsum will collapse.

Types of Panels

1- Standard drywall —>2- Flexible drywall —>3- Fire-resistant drywall
  • Standard drywall is used for most walls and ceilings in dry, interior areas. It comes in 4-ft.-wide panels in lengths ranging from 8 to 16 ft. and in thicknesses of ¼”, 3⁄8″, ½”, and 5⁄8″. There are also 54″-wide panels for horizontal installations on walls with 9-ft. ceilings.
  • Flexible drywall, specially made for curved walls, is a bendable version of standard ¼”-thick drywall. It can be installed dry or dampened with water to increase its flexibility.
  • Fire-resistant drywall has a dense, fiber-reinforced core that helps contain the fire. Thicknesses are ½”, 5⁄8″, and ¾”. Most fire-resistant drywall is called “Type X.” Fire-resistant panels are generally required in attached garages, on walls adjacent to garages, and in furnace and utility rooms.

1- Moisture-resistant drywall —>2- Abuse-resistant drywall —>3- Decorative drywall
  • Moisture-resistant drywall, commonly called “green board” for the color of its face paper, is designed for areas of high-humidity. It is no longer allowed as a backer for tub and shower surrounds.
  • Abuse-resistant drywall withstands surface impacts and resists penetrations better than standard drywall. It’s available in ½” regular and 5⁄8″ fire-resistant types.
  • Decorative drywall products include prefinished vinyl-coated panel systems, decorative corner treatments, prefabricated arches, and drywall panels that look like traditional raised-panel paneling.

1- Sound-resistant drywall —>2- Plaster-base drywall —>3- mold-resistant drywall

  • Sound-resistant drywall products have up to eight times as much sound-deadening capability as standard drywall. These products are good for home theaters.
  • Plaster-base drywall, sometimes called “blue board,” is used with veneer plaster systems instead of a traditional hand-troweled scratch coat. Panels have two layers of paper—a blue-colored face paper that’s highly absorptive over a moisture-resistant paper to protect the gypsum core.
  • Mold-resistant drywall is a specialty board designed for areas that are regularly damp, have high humidity, or that are otherwise susceptible to mold and mildew growth.

Tile Backer

If you’re planning to tile new walls in wet areas, such as tub and shower enclosures, use tile backer board as a substrate rather than drywall.

Unlike drywall, tile backer won’t break down—and ruin the tile job—if water gets behind the tile.

There are three basic types of tile backer.

Cementboard is made from Portland cement and sand reinforced by a continuous outer layer of fiberglass mesh. It’s available in 5⁄16″, ½”, and 5⁄8″ thicknesses.

Fiber-cement board is similar to cementboard but is somewhat lighter, with fiber reinforcement integrated throughout the panel material.

It comes in ¼” and ½” thicknesses. Cementboard and the fiber-cement board cannot be damaged by water, but water can pass through them.

To prevent damage to the framing, install a water barrier of 4-mil plastic or 15# building paper behind the backer.

Dens-Shield®, commonly called glass mat, is a water-resistant gypsum board with a waterproof fiberglass facing.

Dens-Shield cuts and installs much like standard drywall but requires galvanized screws to prevent corrosion.

Because the front surface provides the water barrier, all untaped joints and penetrations must be sealed with caulk before the tile is installed. Do not use a water barrier behind Dens-Shield.