Advantages and Disadvantages of Drywall

The walls and ceilings in your home are some of the most critical elements in the building’s structure. It’s essential that the materials you choose are durable and stable because, ideally, they should last as long as the home is standing. While plaster used to be the most common material used in walls, drywall has overtaken it to become much more popular. Of course, every building project is unique, and drywall has both advantages and disadvantages to consider. Whether you are remodeling or building a home from scratch, here is the key information you need to know about drywall before you make your choice.

What’s the difference between drywall and Sheetrock?

It’s worth mentioning that drywall is often referred to as Sheetrock, although they are essentially the same thing. Sheetrock is a leading brand of drywall which has become so well-trusted and widely used that the name is often used to refer to drywall as a material. It’s the same as people referring to a hot tub as a ‘Jacuzzi’ or to facial tissues as ‘Kleenex.’

Many people (including first-time self-builders and renovation professionals) will choose to use Sheetrock because of the added benefits it offers as well as the high availability of support. This means that down the road should you need to find a New York, Seattle, San Francisco, or Houston sheetrock repair specialist, you’ll be able to find an experienced drywall contractor to help.

Advantages of Drywall

  • Easier to install

Drywall is faster both to manufacture (which means less energy is used in its production) and to install than traditional plaster. While the drywall is heavy, a professional contractor with the correct lifting equipment and machinery can install both ceilings and walls in a very efficient time. Plaster needs to be applied by a skilled professional in multiple coats while it is possible for amateurs to install the drywall by themselves (although you are likely to need help when lifting and placing it). A professional will need to finish the job with taping, but you can save time and cost by taking on some of the work yourself.

  • Combine with plaster for extra strength

While drywall on its own is not as durable as plaster, it only takes a layer of plaster on the top to improve its strength significantly.

  • Fire resistant

Drywall includes a mineral called gypsum which can prevent a fire from spreading. The best type of drywall for fire resistance is known as Type X.

  • Moisture resistant

While drywall is susceptible to water damage, you can buy moisture resistant drywall. This sometimes called ‘green board’ because it is colored green. It has extra protection (coating of fiberglass) against humidity making it ideal for laundry rooms or bathrooms. Mold resistant is also available and moisture resistant drywall with extra protection against mildew and mold.

  • Versatile material

Drywall can be used in the construction of ceilings and walls as well as partitions. It can be easily removed, installed, and cut to size, so if you need to cover a small gap, you can do so easily. You can also hang anything you want to from the drywall and can include recessed lighting.

  • Acoustic drywall

Drywall is now available with soundproofing qualities when it is made from high-density gypsum, which is ideal for homes concerned about insulating the noise of individual rooms.

  • Range of sizes and thicknesses

Drywall sheets can be cut to any size and in a variety of thicknesses (usually 1/4 and 5/8 of an inch) to suit your project. Choose the right wallboard for the job. Drywall sheets are typically 4 feet wide on delivery and vary in length from 8-16 feet.

Disadvantages of Drywall

  • Prone to damage

If you don’t opt for moisture resistant drywall which is finished with fiberglass rather than paper, you may find that it becomes water damaged in bathrooms or rooms with a lot of moisture. If you don’t plaster over the drywall, it can be easily damaged through impact and can develop holes, cracked joints, dent, damaged corners, or loose tape. On the plus side, drywall is simple to repair with a drywall patch or joint compound to fill in holes or dents.

  • Needs professional input

Drywall is simple to install, but you will need a professional to be present before the installation to protect the house from dust and afterward to tape up the joints accurately. It’s also a heavy material with a typical 4 x 8 ft. sheet weighing over 50 lbs., so you may need to use machinery to install ceiling panels.

  • Not as flexible as plaster

It’s difficult to use drywall for curved surfaces while plaster is more flexible. It does not leave a ‘handcrafted’ finish which, depending on the aesthetic you’re going for, may not look authentic or traditional enough.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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