How to Select Wallboard
Wallboard is used to create a fireproof barrier in interior spaces. They are also used to provide decorative value. Typically, wallboard is made of gypsum and sold in sheets. Gypsum (calcium sulphate dihydroxide) is a relatively inexpensive mineral that resists fire and heat. In wallboard, a layer of gypsum is sandwiched between two layers of paper. Wallboard manufacturers then cut these three-layer sheets to a standard size. Gypsum wallboard can also be cut to size by builders and carpenters. These building materials do not require the use of special tools, making them a good choice for many construction projects.
Wallboard is sold in standard sizes such as 4 ft. x 8 ft., 4 ft. x 9 ft., and 4 ft. x 10 ft. In terms of thickness, choices include 3/8 in., 1/2 in., and 5/8 in. In the United States, most residential construction uses 1/2-in. gypsum wallboard. Builders refer to products by a variety of names, including drywall and paneling. Sheetrock, a registered trademark of the U.S. Gypsum Co., is a popular type of gypsum wallboard. Like other types of drywall, Sheetrock differs from traditional plaster wall-covering methods in that it does not require the application of moisture. Builders can avoid lengthy dry times and continue with construction projects even during cold-weather months.
Drywall is also less expensive to install and easier to maintain than traditional plaster wall coverings. Wallboard is relatively easy to install. Drywall panels are positioned against unfinished walls and then screwed into wooden planks called wall studs. Builders use either drywall screws or drywall nails to attach the panels. Joint compound or "mud" and joint tape is used to cover the seams. Although wallboard can be oriented vertically or horizontally, vertical wallboard is most often used with eight-foot walls. The seam between the ceiling joist and panel is then covered with a wallboard tape. Wallboard is hung horizontally to avoid creating too many seams between panels, usually when the height of a single panel is not enough to reach the ceiling. Wallboard such as wooden paneling are hung vertically.