Most often called plasterboard in Australia, drywall is one of the world’s most common building materials. The majority of homes in Australia that are not brick clad have drywall interior walls and ceilings and even most brick homes have drywall ceilings and some drywall walls. What is drywall and what makes it so popular?
What is Drywall?
Drywall is the result of the evolution of the building industry. For thousands of years, plaster made from lime, sand, animal hair and other ingredients was used to create a smooth interior finish. Later, it was discovered that gypsum dried faster than lime, so gypsum became the main ingredient in plaster. It wasn’t until well into the 20th century, though, that sheets of plasterboard began to replace traditional wet plastering.
Today, drywall comes in standard sizes and thicknesses. The drywall sheets used in Australian homes are usually 2.4 metres long by 1.2 metres wide – the same as a standard sheet of plywood or particle board. The sheets are heavy and brittle and care must be taken when handling them. Straight cuts can be made in plasterboard simply by scoring through one outer paper layer and snapping off the unwanted excess.
Drywall is applied to walls and ceilings using special drywall nails or screws, which penetrate the gypsum without shattering it and hold the heavy sheets firmly with their wide heads. Drywall nails and screws are sunk just beneath the surface of the drywall. After it is installed, the indentations and seams are filled using special plastering products applied with a trowel.