The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (2023)

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (1)

Art Decor Gesso

All types of drywall are essential components of any home construction orremodeling project. Drywall is the stuff that holds the home together, and without it, some rooms and buildings would not be structurally sound.

This drywall guide will help you understand the benefits of the types of drywall available and help youchoose the right types of drywall for your projects. We will also discuss some possible alternatives to drywall, as well as some other names for drywall that you may have heard before.

Check out this guide for a full list of features and hidden tips on how to use all the types of drywall the right way.

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (2)

What is Drywall?

Drywall, also known as wallboard or Sheetrock, is a lightweight material used on interior walls during a construction or renovation project. It typically comes in the style of thin board sheets and installed on walls or ceilings.

What is drywall made of, exactly?

Drywall is made of a few different materials, but most commonly, it is made from gypsum, which is a sturdy yet lightweight rock that provides versatile uses when ground up into a powder. Gypsumpowder makes up drywall; it is finely ground and then pressed in between two thick pieces of paper. This creates a “board”, or a thin sheet. This sheet is attached to the wooden frame of a building with nails and screws.

Joint compound fills in the seams and nooks that the drywall has left open. Drywall was invented as a way to make it easier and faster to fill the interior of a wall without having to use plaster or another sort of quick-drying compound.

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (3)

How Thick is Drywall?

There are several types of drywall thickness options to choose from when deciding on the right types of drywall for your project. Here is a quick overview of the different types of drywall sizes available at your local hardware store when beginning a renovation project:

  • ¼” Drywall: This is the thinnest sheet of drywall available. It is the ideal choice for remodeling your basement, or for any residential interior walls and ceilings that do not require thick reinforcement.
  • ¾” Drywall: Three times thicker than the thinnest form of drywall, the ¾” is a non-standard thickness of this drywall. It is used for extra reinforcement in interior walls, possibly in large or industrial-sized buildings. It is also good for use in the bathroom, where extra insulation is never a bad thing.
  • ½” Drywall: An even thicker piece of drywall that contains extra features such as moisture resistance, different types of gypsum, and GP Green Board, which is an eco-friendly and recycled material that offers durability without making an impact on the environment. It is typically ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and basement walls.

Is there a standard drywall thickness?

The short answer is: Yes! For most projects, the standard drywall thickness typically ranges from the ½” size. While there are many types of drywall sizes to choose from, the most “regular” wallboard has a ½” thickness and a width of 4’ x 8’. This is the most versatile and typical board used for renovation and construction projects.

Is there thin drywall?

The ¼” drywall size is the thinnest drywall available; however, there are multiple thicknesses to choose from. Anything from ¼” all the way up to ⅝” isavailable at your local hardware store, or through special order from a manufacturer of construction supplier.

(Video) 5/8" Sheetrock vs 1/2" Sheetrock (Drywall)

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (4)

How Much Does a Sheet of Drywall Weigh?

One sheet of standard drywall, which is ½” thick and 4’ x 8’ long, weighs around 50 pounds. Sometimes, it can weigh a little bit more.

You may be thinking, “With a board that thin, how can it possibly weigh that much?”

Gypsum is a type of rock, and even when finely ground into a powder, it still carries a lot of weight. For a sheet of that size, however, the weight is not unmanageable at all. Depending on the width and height of the board, the weight might vary.

If you are curious to know what your sheets of drywall weigh, or how much a certain thickness of drywall would weigh, there is an online drywall weight calculator that you can use. You can even choose between standard and lightweight options to get the most out of your research.

(Video) 18 Types of Drywall Explained | DIY For Beginners

Types of Drywall

There are plenty of different types of drywall available for you to choose from for your renovation project. In fact, there are specific types of drywall that are great for performing specific tasks. For example, you can invest in a type of drywall that offers moisture resistance and the ability to prevent mold from building up. There is also a type of fire resistant drywall to invest in as well; these typically come in larger and thicker sheets.

Ceiling drywall can come in a range of thicknesses and sheet sizes to make installation easier. Installing drywall on a ceiling can be quite tricky since you have to hang it in a perpendicular fashion and with much precision. It is recommended to use half-inch or even go up to ⅝” inch thick panels to prevent sagging.

Acoustic drywall is quite the advancement in the drywall industry and is certainly fitting for soundproofing the individual rooms of your home. This type of drywall enhances its acoustic abilities with high-density gypsum, which is also usually coated with moisture-resistant materials. This helps keep the sound within the walls, rather than reverberating through to the other side.

Alternatives to Drywall

Some alternatives to drywall include:

  • Textured wall panels. These panels have a printed texture, which can actually cover existing walls. While they require a base before installation (they cannot be the only type of wall installed in your home), they are great for adding style and design to your walls, with the added benefit of extra reinforcement.
  • Wood paneling. Real wood is still used in a wide number of construction projects, and it is still popular in the industry as a consumer favorite. While wood paneling is heavier and sometimes less affordable than drywall, it can add a stylish touch to your home while offering an unmatched amount of sturdiness.
  • Wahoo Walls. This is a product that involves the use of expandable polystyrene foam core, which makes them a lot easier to install than drywall. They also add some thermal protection.

J Design Group – Interior Designers

(Video) Different Types of Drywall You Need to Know

Interior wall paneling is a great alternative to plain painted drywall–adds personality and an outstanding focal point as shown in this contemporary living space.

Another world-class example of textured wall panels around this fireplace in this modern sitting area. The deep, dark color adds to the overall elegant tone.

While this rustic Denver home showcases distinguished reclaimed barn wood on the wall, you could create a similar look with wood paneling.

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (11)

AMEK Custom Builders – The great room wall in this contemporary Minneapolis home is made from a raked plaster. Striking!

Drywall vs. Plaster

There are some benefits to drywall over plaster, but that doesn’t mean plaster has forsaken its uses as well. Reasons, why people prefer plaster over drywall, do exist, and we want to explore some of them now.

Plaster and drywall are the two most favorited ways to finish a wall, and both can add benefits to the overall construction of the home. If you’re looking for something sound and sturdy, you can’t go wrong with either option. Here are some comparisons between the two.

Advantages of Plaster:
  • Adds a smooth and refined texture that many people have grown used to as the feeling of “home” within the house.
  • Is extremely sound resistant.
  • Plaster is the more professional-looking option.
Disadvantages of Plaster:
  • Requires installation by a trained professional.
  • Plaster has no internal insulation within the walls.
  • Applying plaster is laborious and time-consuming.
The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (12)

Sebring Design Build

Advantages of Drywall:
  • Hangs easily on any wall surface.
  • Takes less time to install and does not require use by a professional.
  • Drywall adds insulation.
Disadvantages of Drywall:
  • Not as great as deflecting sound as plaster is.
  • Drywall is a heavier material.
(Video) Choosing Drywall That Will Last

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (13)

Drywall vs. Sheetrock

What exactly is Sheetrock? Well, Sheetrock is a drywall brand that many have come to rely on.Often, the words Sheetrock and drywall are interchangeable in the renovation industry. Think of it as the comparison of Kleenex to facial tissues, people will say “Kleenex” more than they will say “facial tissues”.

Sheetrock is a trustworthy drywall brand that offers a lot of benefits over a more generic type of drywall. Customers can enjoy added drywall features helping them complete their highly specialized renovation projects. Options such as fire-resistant or water-resistant Sheetrock are available through the website, or through your local contractor when you are ready to start your project.

Most contractors decide to choose Sheetrock over a generic brand of drywall due to the brand reliability and customer support options. However, there are no true differences between Sheetrock and generic-branded drywall. Again, people typically choose this type of drywall due to the brand recognition and availability of support.

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (14)

Estimate the Cost of Drywall

Having trouble figuring out how much your sheets of drywall are going to cost? Want to know how much drywall you’ll actually need to complete your projects? There are a few available tools that you can access online. Plus, they’re completely free!

To determine the price of your drywall, depending on whether you choose Sheetrock or a generic type, you can visit home improvement sitesto see what the prices are adding up to currently. Most standard and available sheet sizes are listed for you to get a good estimate of what you’re going to need in your budget.

To figure out how much drywall you need to purchase for your project, check out this drywall calculator. Simply put in the dimensions of your room, including the ceiling and excluded areas, and the calculator will tell you how many square feet of total drywall area you’ll need.

The Sheetrock vs Drywall Guide: Choosing Different Types of Drywall (15)

(Video) Types of drywall - Drywall Instruction

Sebring Design Build

Drywall Finish Levels

It’s important to note that the different drywall finish levels can determine the cost and amount of drywall you’ll need as well. There are several different gypsum board finish levels, from Gypsum Board Level 0 all the way up to Gypsum Board Level 5. Level 0 will grant you a limited amount of support for temporary construction projects, where you can depend on ultimately taking the drywall down. Level 5 is the most stable type of support, with the highest-quality finish levels. This is the best option for a permanent project. Levels 2-5 offer variations of that range, which can be great choices if you’re on a budget.

Ultimately, the decision on which type of drywall to use is completely your choice. Based on the thickness and weight levels of the gypsum content, you may find drywall beneficial for your nextconstruction or remodeling project.


What is the differences between drywall and Sheetrock? ›

Sheetrock is a brand of drywall that is a registered trademark of the U.S. Gypsum Company. With the exception of a couple of chemicals that allow the Sheetrock formula to be patented, there is practically no difference between Sheetrock and other drywall.

What are 3 different types of drywall? ›

6 Common types of drywall
  • Regular drywall. Regular drywall, often called white board, is the most common type used in ceilings and walls in homes and commercial projects. ...
  • Mold-resistant drywall. ...
  • Plasterboard. ...
  • Soundproof drywall. ...
  • Fire-resistant drywall. ...
  • VOC-absorbing drywall.
Oct 15, 2021

How do I choose Sheetrock? ›

1/2-inch drywall is the most versatile board and the most common thickness for the 16-inch on-center interior walls in most homes. It offers a good balance between strength and weight. 5/8-inch drywall is a heavier product that resists sagging in ceilings and in 24-inch on-center interior walls.

Is there a difference between drywall? ›

There are various brands of drywall, and some have different properties, such as moisture-resistant drywall or mold-resistant drywall, to best suit the needs of the specific project. All drywall is fire-resistant, however, some brands of drywall have more fire-resistant properties than others.

What are the four common types of drywall? ›

4 Types of Drywall You Should Know
  • Regular Drywall or White Board. The most common type of residential drywall is regular drywall. ...
  • Moisture-Resistant Drywall. Regarding indoor air quality, you need residential drywall that prevents the intrusion of water and moisture. ...
  • Fire-Resistant Drywall. ...
  • Soundproof Drywall.
Oct 24, 2019

What is better than Sheetrock? ›

Plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB) are expedient and low-cost solutions for garage walls. They can be attached over studs quickly with framing screws and, unlike drywall, wood doesn't require any taping, mud, or sanding.

What are the 5 levels of drywall? ›

What is drywall and how is it installed?
  • Step 1: Secure Drywall to the Wall. ...
  • Step 2: Tape & Mud. ...
  • Step 3: Texture. ...
  • Level 0 – Temporary Application. ...
  • Level 1 – Service & Utility Space. ...
  • Level 2 – Garage & Warehouse. ...
  • Level 3 – Standard Interior. ...
  • Level 4 – Upscale Interior.
Apr 15, 2022

Are there different types of Sheetrock? ›

Finally, some types of drywall, like Type X fire-resistant drywall, are available only with a 5/8-inch thickness. However, other types of drywall come in different thicknesses; the most common are 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch. The most common thicknesses for general application are 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch.

What is the most common drywall? ›

4-Foot by 8-Foot Drywall

The most common size of drywall is 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. Since 1/2-inch thick sheets of 4- by 8-foot drywall tip the scales at 57 pounds, this size tends to be the biggest sheet that most do-it-yourselfers can carry and lift into place.

What kind of drywall do you use for walls? ›

Choosing Drywall

For example, most living rooms and bedrooms are suitable for regular drywall, but bathrooms and kitchens should have moisture-resistant options like green board. Purple drywall may be necessary in bathrooms that see considerable amounts of water around the shower walls.

What drywall is best for ceilings? ›

5/8-inch drywall is generally reserved for use on ceilings and in commercial construction jobs. While significantly heavier and more expensive than the others, its thickness makes it a preferred choice for soundproofing spaces that expect plenty of noise.

Is Sheetrock waterproof? ›

Drywall waterproofing is mostly a myth. While there are some drywall types that are more water resistant than others and the performance of drywall can be improved with surface coatings in damp environments, drywall itself can never truly be 100% waterproof.

What thickness is Sheetrock? ›

Panels are available in four drywall thicknesses—5/8-in., 1/2-in., 3/8-in., and 1/4-in. (above are all 5/8-in.). Each drywall thickness has specific applications and framing requirement.

What are the new types of drywall? ›

In recent years, developers have started making a new type of drywall that uses fiberglass mesh for the outer layers instead of paper. Fiberglass-coated drywall is both mold and moisture resistant.

What is drywall actually called? ›

Drywall (also called plasterboard, dry lining, wallboard, sheet rock, gypsum board, buster board, slap board, custard board, and gypsum panel) is a panel made of calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum), with or without additives, typically extruded between thick sheets of facer and backer paper, used in the construction of ...

What is the most durable drywall? ›

PURPLE drywall, manufactured only by Gold Bond Building Products, is superior because it offers moisture, mold and mildew resistance. In addition, many PURPLE drywall products offer added benefits, including resistance to scratches, scuffs, dents and noise.

Why is drywall called Sheetrock? ›

Because the United States Gypsum Corporation (USG) invented the first modern drywall product in 1916 and named it Sheetrock®. Even though it was a brand name, the association between Sheetrock® and drywall stuck – and many people still use the terms interchangeably today.

What kind of drywall to use in a shower? ›

We recommend using cement board drywall in tile-covered wet applications, such as showers and bathtubs.

What is the cheapest wall covering besides Sheetrock? ›

Plywood. If you're looking to install wall panels quickly, plywood is inexpensive, easy to install, and durable. The wood grain will warm up a space and can be stained or painted to coordinate with any decor.

What is the best drywall for moist areas? ›

Purple board drywall is ideal for high moisture rooms. It's more expensive but is an enhanced version of regular drywall. It's waterproof rather than water-resistant.

What is harder than Sheetrock? ›

High-end plaster walls are harder and more durable than drywall. You can use a thumbtack to learn which material is covering the walls in an old house because a tack will penetrate drywall much easier than it will plaster.

What does Level 3 drywall mean? ›

Drywall Level 3

Typically found in residential interiors and in appearance areas which are to receive heavy- or medium-texture (spray or hand applied) finishes before final painting, or where heavy-grade wall coverings are to be applied as the final decoration.

Why is 5 8 drywall better? ›

The thickest option available, 5/8-inch drywall is ideal for commercial construction applications. 5/8-inch thick drywall is also referred to as firewall drywall. Its thickness makes it the ideal drywall for soundproofing in noisy buildings. 5/8-inch drywall can be used on walls, and will not sag when used on ceilings.

Is purple drywall better than green? ›

About PURPLE® What's the difference between PURPLE drywall and traditional green drywall? Traditional green drywall (also known as greenboard) is only moisture-resistant. PURPLE drywall, manufactured only by Gold Bond Building Products, is superior because it offers moisture, mold and mildew resistance.

Can I use purple drywall in shower? ›

You can use purple drywall for the ceiling and/or upper walls of a shower, for example. The biggest difference between green board and purple drywall is additional mold and mildew resistance. If you're concerned about mold growth, upgrade to purple drywall.

What is waterproof drywall called? ›

Greenboard is a water-resistant gypsum board or drywall panel that came out in the 1960's. The product is essentially a more durable gypsum board. It has the same gypsum core that you'll find on standard drywall all over homes, but it comes with a thicker coating of paper that's protected by wax for water resistance.

Do most homes use drywall? ›

This building material is most widely used to create walls and ceilings in new home constructions. It's also applied to many other architectural spaces around the home, such as arches, eves, and other decorative areas. Home drywall is quick and easy to install, extremely durable, and is easily repaired or replaced.

Why do most houses use drywall? ›

Gypsum is noncombustible, and compared to other wall materials, like solid wood and plaster, gypsum boards are much lighter and cheaper. As a result, drywall is popular in homes across the U.S.: According to the Gypsum Association, more than 20 billion square feet of drywall is manufactured each year in North America.

What kind of drywall is used in kitchens? ›

Often referred to as green board or purple board, moisture and mold resistant variants of drywall are a better option for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Should ceilings be flat or eggshell? ›

Although a flat finish is most popular, more ceiling paint finishes are available: Eggshell finish: After flat, eggshell finish is the next most popular ceiling paint finish. Eggshell paints offer a low sheen while still absorbing most light and hiding ceiling imperfections.

Should ceilings be flat or matte? ›

Ceilings should almost always be painted in a flat, matte acrylic paint. The reason for this is that: Flat paint will not reflect light or draw attention away from the wall and room furnishings. Ceilings don't receive much wear and tear, so a glossy, durable paint is not necessary.

Can I use 1 4 inch drywall on ceiling? ›

You can - HOWEVER, the local codes most everywhere will then require something else on there as well. Usually the least we could ever install was 1/2 inch on ceiling - though on garage generally always had to use 5/8 inch. Using such thin drywall on ceiling will also become problem unless you ...

Can I put wall tile directly on drywall? ›

It is perfectly safe to put tiles over the drywall of areas in your home that don't have excessive moisture so long as you prep the wall before installation and choose the appropriate mortar.

How much is a sheet of drywall cost? ›

Standard drywall is about $10 to $20 per panel, but the price depends on the height and thickness of the panels you need. For most rooms, a 4-by-8-foot panel of about 1/2-inch thickness is ideal and costs an average of $15 per panel.

What happens if drywall gets wet? ›

Even though drywall is pretty sturdy, it can be significantly damaged if it gets wet for too long. If moisture damage isn't handled right away, the drywall's structural integrity will be compromised, causing it to become soft, weak, and mold-prone.

Is tape necessary for drywall? ›

All drywall seams need to have tape embedded in joint compound. The tape strengthens the joint, and the joint compound, or mud, is the adhesive that holds the tape in place. But there's a lot more to hand-taping beveled drywall seams than slapping a bunch of mud on the wall and running tape.

What is the spacing between sheetrock? ›

You need to allow enough space for expansion and contraction of the framing members, which occurs naturally as seasons change. Without enough space when this happens, you'll get cracks. Keep a 1/8-inch space between sheets during installation to keep this from happening.

What did old houses use instead of drywall? ›

Older homes and high-end new homes will have plaster instead of drywall. Harder and more durable, plaster is also more expensive to install. In old homes, plaster is a three-coat system applied over wood or metal lath.

What is the most expensive drywall finish? ›

A Level 5 finish is a premium finish, and the highest degree of quality in drywall. It requires all aspects of a Level 4 finish and an additional skim coat of joint compound to cover the entire surface.

What goes on top of drywall? ›

Joint compound: Also known as mud (and the reason drywall finishing is also known as mudding), joint compound can come either premixed or in a dry form that you need to mix with water.

What is it called when you put mud on drywall? ›

Mudding,” the process of applying multiple thin coats of drywall compound to the joints and screw indentations in newly hung drywall, sounds messy, and it is. When done correctly, the result is a wall so flat that you cannot spot the seams.

What is 3 8 drywall used for? ›

3/8-inch drywall is a good choice for remodeling partitions or creating patches. It's slightly thinner than standard ½-inch drywall but sturdier and more rigid than ¼-inch drywall, making it a good choice when you'll need to add it to an existing wall or surface where the plaster has worn away.

What is purple drywall used for? ›

Provide extra protection

PURPLE XP® is a specially treated, mold- and fire-resistant paper-faced gypsum board that provides Xtra Protection (XP) against mold and mildew compared to standard gypsum board.

Do you paint on drywall? ›

Drywall must be primed before it can be painted to ensure that the paint stays on and isn't affected by temperature changes in the room or environment. To prime your drywall, you need to clean it first by sanding it, vacuuming it, and rubbing it down with a black cloth to ensure that all dust is gone.

What is all purpose Sheetrock used for? ›

Sheetrock® Brand All Purpose Joint Compound combines single-package convenience with good taping and topping performance. Recommended for laminating and repairing cracks in interior plaster and masonry not subject to moisture, this compound features great open time and cold bond, and has smooth and slick properties.

What is standard drywall called? ›

Regular drywall (also called white board) is normally white on one side and brown on the other, and as the most common type of drywall used in homes, it's suitable for most rooms. It is made of gypsum, but it does not feature special mold and mildew resistance like other types that are durable in moist areas.

Can you put drywall over drywall? ›

Dear Ronald: Installing drywall over old paneling is one method to improve the appearance of a room. As you noted, it can be a difficult task to extend all the window and door trim to fit over the thicker wall with the drywall attached, but it can certainly be done.

Do you have to put mud on drywall? ›

It's not recommended. The general rule of thumb is to properly tape and mud drywall joints before painting. Not only will skipping this step lead to unattractive walls, but it is also against building codes. So yes, mudding the drywall before applying the first coat of paint is a necessary step.

Why do you need to sand drywall before painting? ›

Sanding drywall is an essential task in any home renovation project. This task comes after hanging drywall sheets and covering gaps and nail gouges in the drywall with tape and joint compound. Sanding the drywall after the joint compound, or mud, dries creates a smooth and even surface for applying primer and paint.

Do drywall seams have to be taped? ›

All drywall seams need to have tape embedded in joint compound. The tape strengthens the joint, and the joint compound, or mud, is the adhesive that holds the tape in place. But there's a lot more to hand-taping beveled drywall seams than slapping a bunch of mud on the wall and running tape.

What happens if it rains on drywall? ›

Even though drywall is pretty sturdy, it can be significantly damaged if it gets wet for too long. If moisture damage isn't handled right away, the drywall's structural integrity will be compromised, causing it to become soft, weak, and mold-prone.

Can 1 2 inch drywall be used on ceiling? ›

1/2-Inch-Thick Drywall

Half-inch drywall panels are the standard thickness for interior walls, as well as ceilings. These panels are easy to carry and hang.

What thickness Sheetrock is used in homes? ›

1/2-Inch Drywall: Most drywall measures 1/2-inch thick. It's the most common choice for interior walls because they are easy to carry and hang. If weight is a concern, consider ultra-light half-inch drywall.

What are the disadvantages of using drywall? ›

Disadvantages of Drywall

Drywall is not sound proof itself hence it needs sound insulation between two layers. The drywall surface is prone to damage. Drywall can be easily damaged since it is not resistant to impact. So, you might have problems with holes, dense damaged corners, tapes coming off, and joints cracking.


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