What Is Drywall?
Drywall is a construction material shaped as a panel and used to create walls and ceilings. It is usually made of layers of gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of paper.
Chances are, you’re surrounded by drywall at the moment of reading this; it’s everywhere. But what makes this material so perfect for walls, and how did it come to be so widely used in construction today?
Physically, What Is Drywall?
Drywall is usually comprised of gypsum, a mineral mined from the earth in relatively pure form. Gypsum is heated and mixed into a slurry, which is poured onto a layer of heavy (usually recycled) brown paper. The first layer of slurry is a dense, heavy mixture, followed by a lighter, aerated layer in the core, covered with another dense layer, and finally enveloped in another sheet of paper.
The layering produces a more lightweight, stronger board. It is rolled out to produce the desired thickness and uniformity, then left to dry before being cut and sold.
In the past, buildings were generally finished with plaster, but in the last hundred years, drywall was invented and took over the vast majority of the market. Both materials serve to make interior walls strong and decorative barriers between rooms, but the reason drywall is so ubiquitous is that it became easier, quicker, and cheaper to install than the alternative, plaster.
Drywall’s properties will vary based on the thickness of panels used. It is an excellent insulator, and as such, it helps to keep the temperature in a room more constant and comfortable. It can help to reduce noise between rooms. And most importantly, drywall offers a degree of fire resistance which helps to slow the spread and buy precious time in the event of a fire.
As you can see, drywall proved to be the better product and came to the forefront because of its superior properties. For the foreseeable future, as long as interior walls are needed, drywall will still be around.
Turner Bros Contractors Ltd. has been providing steel-stud framing, drywall, and acoustic ceiling services for residential and commercial applications in the Vancouver area since 1932. The company is family-run with four generations of the family represented in the business.
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