by Shawn Kyles
Drywall was invented by the U. S. Gypsum Company in 1916, which still exists today and remains one of the top producers of the product. It was first sold as fireproof tiles before being sold as a single layer of gypsum in between two sheets of heavy paper.
Gypsum is a sulfate mineral that looks like white sand and contains large amounts of crystalline water. Gypsum beds come from lakes, sea water, and hot springs, as well as volcanic vapors. One of the largest beds of gypsum in the U.S. is located in New Mexico.
After the gypsum has been mined, it is brought to factories for processing, where it is mixed with additives and turned into a paste. The paste is then spread onto paper and cooked in ovens, which dry out the boards.
Before drywall was invented, buildings were constructed using plaster, which was applied in layers over wood chips. When the plaster dried it hardened to form walls and ceilings. Installation and repairs were often extremely difficult and took a lot of time due to the fact that many layers of plaster often needed to be applied and each coat took a long time to dry.
Because drywall was less expensive than plaster, it initially had a poor reputation and was rarely used by builders. World War II brought about a rapid increase in the use of drywall because it was cheap and easy to work with. Drywall also made it possible to build structures faster, which became important during the war.
Following World War II, drywall dominated the building marketing. Today it has replaced plaster in home construction.
A standard drywall sheet is 4’ x 8’, with 10-foot long and 12-foot long pieces also available. The drywall used for walls in generally ½ inch thick, and the drywall used for ceilings is 5/8 inch thick.
These days there are many different types of drywall, including square edged sheets, taper-edged sheets, moisture resistant drywall, soundproof sheets, fire-resistant drywall and foil-back drywall, which is typically used in cold climates.
After drywall has been cut and hung, it must be finished. The finishing process involves applying drywall tape, various layers of mud and sanding. To being with, joint compound is spread into each seam. Then, drywall tape is laid down on top of the compound. Another two coats of mud is then applied; the block coat and the skim coat. After the mud dries, any bulges or tape showing on the surface are sanded.
Although drywall is generally used to construct walls and ceilings, it can also be used for design and architectural features. It is valued for its durability and fire-resistance, in addition to its low cost, and ease of installation.
If you are planning a room addition, a general contractor in your area can provide the expertise you will need to ensure your project is a success. If you need to make repairs to your walls or ceiling, it is best to talk to a contractor with experience in home foundations and foundation repairs. Many times structural damage can be caused by foundation problems.