How To – Intro to Drywall

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    Most home interiors are now finished with Drywall but not so long ago most homes were finished with either wood paneling or Plaster over lath. So what made the change and what are your choices?

    The main reason for the change to Drywall was the ease of installation.
    To install plaster over a lath base takes both a lot of time and a good amount of skill. Some more expensive homes will still be finished in Plaster but most installations are just a skim or thin 1/4″ or thinner layer of plaster over a blue board drywall substructure.

    So what are your choices and what should you look for when you are finishing your home with drywall?

    There are many different products that will help you get the best performance in different areas of your home.

    Regular Drywall comes in two main sizes 4×8 foot and 4×12 foot. The difference is usually found when you are installing ceilings. Most installers prefer to use the larger sheets on ceilings because they require fewer finished joints. Additionally the 12 foot length allows installers to span most bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms and other smaller rooms with just one sheet. 4×8 sheets are great for installing vertically along walls since most home wall heights are 8 feet tall but most installers will use the sheets length wise to allow easier cutting for electrical boxes and because fewer vertical seams will show as daylight casts along the face.

    Since we said the first product was regular drywall you may be thinking what other type of drywall is there? Well in the beginning we mentioned that there was blue board for plaster walls. Blue board costs more because of the special paper coating and its ability to easily accept that plaster skim coat and since it costs more so don’t buy it unless you are repairing a room in a older home that needs plaster finnish to match the original walls.

    There is also Green Board or drywall for wet / moist areas. This drywall is not able to resist all moisture or water and should not be thought of as a replacement for tile in wet areas like bathrooms or kitchens but it is moisture resistant and because of its special paper layer it is great to resist the moisture in these areas caused by steam. The coatings will reduce paint pealing or bubbling in bathrooms. Green Board is also good for some tile installs but our next product is best for areas that will get wet often and stay wet for long periods.

    Cement Board is a relatively new product that has really advanced in the last 10 years. In areas like Custom or Tiled Showers and Bathtubs or in any area that will stay wet for long periods of time it is important to use a product that will stay structurally strong and also resist rot, mold and deterioration over time. Cement board is also an excellent base material for counter tops and bathroom floors when installing ceramic tile.

    There is also an exterior grade drywall product that is showing up in commercial construction. This product is not used in residential projects at this time but may be in the near future if it can be produced at a price that is similar to OSB Plywood.

    In our other HowTos we will explain more about all of these products and what tools will help you get a professional look and quality install. Even if you are not doing the work yourself it is beneficial to understand what materials are being used and why the are needed for your specific project.

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