Sometimes called plasterboard, gypsum board or sheetrock, drywall is one of the world’s most common materials used in construction. Majority of homes in the USA, Canada and Europe that are not brick clas have drywall interior walls and ceilings and even the most brick homes have drywall ceilings and some drywall separation walls. What is drywall and what makes it so popular?
What is Drywall?
Drywall comes as the result of the development of the building industry. For many years, in order to achieve smooth interior finishing builders used plasterm which was made from lime, sand, animal hair and other ingredients. With time, it was discovered that gypsum dried faster than lime, so gypsum became the main ingredient in plaster. However, it wasn’t until the late 20th century, that someone decided to make a sandwich from two layers of paper and a layer of gypsum in the middle, thus creating the prefabricated sheets of drywall.
Nowadays, drywall comes in standard sizes and thicknesses. The drywall sheets used in Canada are usually 8, 10 feet long and ½ or ⅝ inch thick. The sheets are heavy and brittle and therefore care must be taken when handling them.
Drywall is applied to walls and ceilings using special drywall nails or screws, which penetrate the gypsum without shattering it and hold the heavy sheets firmly with their wide heads. Drywall nails and screws are sunk just beneath the surface of the drywall. After it is installed, the indentations and seams are filled using special plastering compound. This process is called taping and mudding.
Professional drywall contractors make this job look easy. However that’s only because they do it every day for many years. Technically the process is straightforward and can be done by anyone, but if you need to install and tape drywall for anything larger than a very small home renovation project, it’s better to let the professionals do the job for you. Aside from having the expertise to create a smooth finish, professional drywallers know the best techniques and materials to use in any given situation. Wet areas, for example, require special products and techniques.
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