You’ve come across plasterboard more often than you think. It can be present in offices, classrooms, homes, or other closed spaces around you. But what is plasterboard and what is it used for?
Plasterboard is a paneling material used for partitions, ceilings, and other interior walls. It’s composed of gypsum layered between two specialized papers. There are many other terms for plasterboard, such as gypsum board, gyprock, wallboard, and drywall.
This article covers the purpose, qualities, types, and other things you should know about plasterboard.
What Is Plasterboard Used For?
Plasterboard is most commonly used in partition walls as well as for lining and sheathing walls or ceilings.
Depending on its type, plasterboard can also be used for a particular purpose, like soundproofing, fire protection, and many more.
Distinct Qualities of Plasterboard
There are other materials you can use for partitions and walls at home. But what are the qualities that set plasterboard apart from the rest of these choices?
Plasterboard is solid but relatively softer than other materials used for interior walls. Unlike plywood or plaster walls, plasterboard can be easily penetrated by nails and pins.
You won’t need a hammer to pierce a sharp object into it. You can easily do it with your hand.
Gypsum, as previously mentioned, is one of the elements that make up plasterboard. It’s a non-flammable mineral found in rocks that contain water.
The water it holds will be released as steam to keep the plasterboard’s temperature at 212° F max until all the water evaporates. This is how plasterboards can be fire-resistant to some degree.
There are types of plasterboard that can provide better and longer fire protection. On the other
hand, a regular one can resist burning for about 30 minutes, also depending on the thickness.
Take note that fire-resistant and fireproof are different. No plasterboard is ever completely fireproof.
Uniformed Thickness and Standardized Sizes
Plasterboards are pre-sized based on construction standards. The common plasterboard thickness ranges from 9.5 mm and 15 mm, or ¼ to ⅝ inch. Standard sizes are in multiples of 4 feet—4 ft. x 8 ft., 4 ft. x 12 ft., and 4 ft. x 16 ft.
Usually, plasterboards used for ceilings are thinner than those used for walls. This is because walls need more acoustic and thermal insulation. Thinner plasterboards, on the other hand, are perfect for ceilings because they’re easier to install.
Since plasterboards are manufactured in standard sizes, you’ll know the available sizes in advance. Hence, planning for your interior needs will be easier.
Thinner Compared to Other Materials
When installing plasterboard, you need to affix it to wall studs. Knock on some parts of the installed plasterboard and you’ll notice that the parts not attached to studs would produce hollow sounds. This further proves that the material is not dense.
Since plasterboard is thinner, it falls behind other materials when it comes to providing insulation. This means that it’s less capable of blocking the transmission of noises coming from the opposite area.
On the bright side, you can remedy this with additional insulation. Plasterboards are flexible and can accommodate layers of wall insulation better than other materials.
Easier to Install
Again, compared to other materials such as plywood or plaster walls, plasterboards are easier and therefore faster to install. But the task in itself is not a walk in the park.
What makes plasterboard installation easier is that it’s straightforward and more organized. This panel is lighter and a breeze to control. A homeowner can install it alone with the right tools and guided knowledge.
In contrast, plastering walls will take more time since you need to wait for the mixture to dry, plus it can be messy. Without help from someone with skills and prior experience in plastering, you’ll surely have a hard time doing it yourself.
Last but not the least, the complete installation of plasterboard costs less compared to its alternatives. Referring back to the previous point, you don’t have to hire skilled workers to put up plasterboards for you. You’ll save a big amount of money by cutting labor costs.
Without considering labor, the materials needed for plastering and plasterboards have closely proportional costs.
Still, this isn’t the case when plasterboards are compared to wood materials. Products made out of wood are generally expensive.
Types of Plasterboard
There are different types of plasterboard distinguishable by their own particular purpose.
Also called the standard plasterboard, this is the most common type of plasterboard and also the most basic.
It doesn’t have any special features. It’s only good for serving the primary purpose of plasterboard: to line walls and ceilings.
Fire-resistant or fire-rated plasterboard is equipped with glass fiber reinforcement and additional layers to delay its reaction to fire.
There are two common types of fire-resistant plasterboard. These are Type X and Type C.
This has a gypsum core and glass fibers that help boost its fire resistance and allow a 60-minute fire rating, which is the typical standard for building codes.
Type X is made thicker, coming in ⅝ inch or 15.9 mm compared to the regular ½ inch or 12.7mm thick plasterboard.
Type C is the better version of Type X.
It contains more fiber enhancements and a richer gypsum core, making it a stronger contender when it comes to fire resistance compared to Type X.
Also goes by acoustic plasterboard, it’s made of laminated plasterboard combined with additional gypsum, wood fibers, and polymers.
All these components make the plasterboard denser and more capable of blocking out sound.
This plasterboard is ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or any space that’s often humid to prevent wall damage.
Its green covering is coated in wax, which is why it’s water-resistant.
This type of drywall is fitting for curved surfaces like archways, stairways, and round walls or ceilings.
It has stiffer liner paper and heavier face paper compared to regular plasterboard, allowing it to bend without cracking.
What is plasterboard?
Plasterboard is a promising choice for all wall works. It’s cheaper than other materials and yet still offers a bundle of efficient features.
The fact that it takes less intensive labor for it to be set up is also a plus. Although, bear in mind that installing plasterboards is not an easy task. Sure, you can install them on your own, but having an assistant to work with will still make the job lighter.
We have discussed the differences between plasterboard and drywall here.