Gypsum board is one of several building materials covered by the umbrella term “gypsum panel products.” All gypsum panel products contain gypsum cores; however, they can be faced with a variety of different materials, including paper and fiberglass mats.
Gypsum board is often called drywall, wallboard, or plasterboard. It differs from other panel-type building products, such as plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard, because of its noncombustible core and paper facers. When joints and fastener heads are covered with a joint compound system, gypsum wall board creates a continuous surface suitable for most types of interior decoration.
Advantages of Gypsum Board Construction
Gypsum board walls and ceilings have a number of outstanding advantages:
- Ease of installation
- Fire resistance
- Sound isolation
Ease of installation
Gypsum board building systems are easy to install for several reasons. Gypsum board panels are relatively large compared to other materials. They come in 48- and 54-inch wide sheets and in lengths of 8, 10, or 12 feet, so they quickly cover large wall and ceiling areas. Gypsum board assemblies require only a few tools for their construction. Gypsum board can be cut with either a utility knife or a variety of saws, and it can be attached with a variety of fasteners, including screws, nails, and staples. It can also be adhesively attached to many substrates. Gypsum board is a lightweight material. Two workers can easily handle most panels and cover large areas in very short time periods. Gypsum board is easily finished using either a few hand tools or relatively modest machines. Gypsum board installers can quickly learn most application techniques in a few hours.
Gypsum board is an excellent fire-resistive building material. In North America, it is the most commonly used interior finish where fire resistance classifications are required. Its noncombustible core contains nearly 21% chemically combined water, as described earlier, which, under high heat, is slowly released as steam. Because steam will not exceed 212 degrees F under normal atmospheric pressure, it very effectively retards the transfer of heat and the spread of fire. Even after complete calcination, when all the water has been released from its core, gypsum board continues to serve as a heat-insulating barrier. When installed in combination with other materials in laboratory-tested wall and ceiling assemblies, gypsum board serves to effectively protect building elements from fire for prescribed time periods.
Preventing the transfer of unwanted sound to adjoining areas is a key consideration when designing a building, specifically when taking into account the intended activities of the occupants in the various parts of the building. For example, a building containing office spaces adjacent to manufacturing facilities requires more noise-reducing features than are typically necessary in a building that has only office space in it. Gypsum board wall and ceilings systems effectively help control sound transmission.
Gypsum board is used to construct strong, high quality walls and ceilings that offer excellent dimensional stability and durability. Surfaces created using gypsum board are easily decorated and refinished.
Gypsum board is readily available and easy to apply. It is an inexpensive wall surfacing material that provides a fire resistant interior finish. Gypsum board building systems can generally be installed at significantly lower labor costs than most alternate systems.
Gypsum board satisfies a wide range of architectural requirements for design. Ease of application, performance, ease of repair, availability, and its adaptability to all forms of decoration combine to make gypsum board unmatched by any other surfacing product.