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Drywall vs Plasterboard: Are Drywall and Plasterboard the Same Thing?

is plasterboard the same thing as drywall?

You may be puzzled about the difference between drywall vs plasterboard. The short answer is basically just the name. They are the same product just described in various terms, often depending on geographical location.

The origination of plasterboard or drywall is deeply rooted in the history of plaster. The internal layers of the boards are closely related to the plaster material that has been used in building for centuries. These innovations in building materials have changed the way homes and buildings are finished to this day.

Ancient plaster has morphed into the commonly used modern-day drywall material. Its manufacturing technique has evolved since it’s invention. This has made the popularity of drywall or plasterboard continue to increase.


The History of Plaster

commercial space with installed plaster board

Plaster is a paste made from minerals and water that is applied in layers with drying time in between. It has been used as a building material to create walls since ancient times. Many of the techniques used by primitive people are still in use to this day.

The technique expanded to exterior walls in the form of stucco. European civilizations used to plaster to create detailed ceilings and to add ornamental architectural details. The Romans even developed the technique of using lime in the same manner, leading to the invention of concrete.

Fast forward to the American Progressive Era of the early 1900s. Urbanism brought the need for convenience in building materials. Drywall or plasterboard were invented to replace the tedious installation of plaster.


The Transition to Drywall and Plasterboard

Drywall was toted as a budget-friendly option that eliminated the wait for plaster dry time. The flame-resistant features and quick installation were seen as benefits to its early adopters. Despite its innovative features, drywall usage didn’t take off right away.

However, by the mid-century, it surged as an extremely popular building material. The baby boom created a demand for more affordable and efficient building materials. This catapulted the sales of drywall leading to its lasting popularity to this day.


The Manufacturing Process of Drywall and Plasterboard

Drywall boards and plaster boards are traditionally made from gypsum. This white sandy mineral is mined from the earth in many locations worldwide. Gypsum is used in various applications like drywall boards, lawn fertilizer, and sidewalk chalk. The mineral has high water content, giving drywall it’s fire-resistant properties.

The gypsum is mixed with other additives like recycled paper pulp to create a slurry or paste. This slurry is spread in thin layers between paper or fiberglass backing. It’s then heated in a drying chamber to harden and dry.

The boards are cut into a wide variety of sizes for different uses. Boards are usually four feet wide but can vary in height. Taller boards can be used for quicker and more seamless installation on higher walls.

The thickness of the drywall boards also varies. From as thin as a quarter of an inch to up to five eights of an inch, the different thicknesses have different applications. The thinnest boards are best for curved walls or adding a layer to the existing drywall. If you are looking to reduce sound or add insulation to an exterior wall, choosing thicker boards will provide the most benefit.


The Installation Process Of Drywall or Plasterboard

men working on installing a drywall ceiling

The drywall or plasterboard installation process is relatively quick and efficient. An experienced installation team can complete a job within a tight deadline. The process doesn’t require loud power tools meaning it causes minimal disruptions.

Boards are mounted to the walls using the appropriate fasteners. One benefit of using this material is that it can be mounted to anything from cement block to metal or wood studs. It’s also lightweight, making the mounting simpler and safer.

The seams between boards are then expertly taped. A compound is applied over the tape to ensure a smooth look and erase any evidence of the seams. Several coats of the compound may be applied to create a flawless appearance.

The wall is then sanded smooth. It may also be textured with various techniques depending on the intended finish. The surface is then ready to be primed, painted, or whatever finishing method is selected.


The Benefits of Drywall and Plasterboard

Drywall or plasterboard is an extremely popular building material, and for good reason. The convenience and benefits make it a great choice. Plus, it’s budget-friendly and versatile.

Dry walling can be used in a wide variety of applications. It can be used to finish an entire basement or create barriers between rooms. It can also be used to cover an outdated ceiling to create a smooth, seamless look.

Adding drywall to exterior walls offers protection from the elements. It can help retain the controlled temperature of the room. Drywall can also reduce drafts from outside.

Drywall boards are dense so they reduce noise pollution. They can block sound from coming in from the outdoor environment. Drywall is also helpful in preventing sound from echoing or being carried from room to room.

Its fire-resistance is one of the best benefits of installing drywall. It’s naturally resistant to flames and can slow a fire from spreading between rooms. There are boards available with added materials that make them even more fire-resistant.

Are you located in an area of high humidity? Drywall can help absorb and moisture that gets trapped in between walls. This offers a significant reduction in the presence of mold and mildew.

Drywall is durable, but it’s also easy to repair. Small kicks and scratches can easily be repaired with some simple materials. Large areas of damage are also an easy fix. A drywall installer is skilled at replacing just the board needed while avoiding disrupting the rest of the wall.

Finally, adding drywall just looks great. It can hide unsightly wires and utility lines. It also offers a smooth, polished look that can be finished in an endless variety of ways.



drywall vs plasterboard being coated with a paint

Plaster has come a long way from ancient walls and ceilings. The invention of drywall transformed it into accessible and affordable material. Its multiple benefits make it a great choice in countless applications.

Whatever you choose to call it, drywall or plasterboard has clear benefits. Its continuous reliability will make it a mainstay in the building industry. Evolving technology and innovative installation techniques prove that it will be here long into the future.

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