If you’re new to the field of home renovations or are just curious, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the names of different materials and substances used in wall repair projects. After all, how are you going to ask the incompetent salesman at your local retailer if you don’t even know what you’re looking for?
Taking up a wall repair project can be tedious work, but as long as you have the right materials on hand, everything should go smoothly (hopefully). But one problem shared by many amateur handymen is telling the difference between dry wall and sheetrock.
Worry not, reader, as we’ll explain in detail what the “differences” between drywall and sheetrock are. At the end of the article, you should be able to “distinguish” between the two materials and decide on which of them will suit you more.
What is Drywall?
In the developed world, drywall is the most commonly used material in home construction and renovation. Drywall is available in large panels that are flat, smooth to the touch, and are extremely easy to install.
The main ingredient used to create drywall is gypsum – a rock variety that is crushed to powder and packed in between two super-thick sheets of paper. The result is a thin, sturdy board, sold in panels of several feet by several feet, that is glued and nailed or screwed to joists to create walls and even ceilings.
The great thing about drywall is that they leave a seamless appearance between panels. If the panels are installed correctly and sit flush next to each other, you shouldn’t have any visible gaps between panels. However, if for some reason, there is a visible line between drywall sheets, simply open a tub of spackle and fill those gaps right up.
The biggest problem that people have with using drywall is its lack of durability. A simple bump or throwing somebody against drywall can lead to devastating damage. The good news is that filling up minor holes in drywall is relatively easy. Using either spackle or joint compound will do the trick, but if we’re talking about huge holes that pierce through both sheets of the drywall panel, you need to replace the panel entirely.
The composition of drywall leaves it high and dry when it comes to water damage (ironic, huh?). When the drywall is exposed to water or high humidity levels, the structure of the panel will weaken. Water accelerates the deterioration process of drywall, so if possible, stick to plastered walls in moist rooms like basements, cellars, and garages.
Mold is mainly caused by excess moisture in a room, and we’ve already established that drywall isn’t all that water resistant to begin with. The good news is that if you catch the beginnings of mold growth, you can simply tear out the infected portion of the drywall panel and cover up the hole with spackle or joint compound. If the mold has grown beyond control, replacing the entire panel is your only option.
What is Sheetrock?
Get this: sheetrock is drywall! I know, right?! Many people confuse the two, but they’re practically identical. Sheetrock is the name of a company that produces drywall. The popularity of Sheetrock’s drywall has led to major confusion regarding one and the other. This is the same case as Kleenex and tissues.
Are there any differences between Drywall and Sheetrock?
There are no differences between these two building materials. If you’re getting drywall, you’re most likely purchasing a Sheetrock-made product. If you ask the opinion of any contractor regarding what company to go with, they’ll more than likely recommend Sheetrock over any other generic drywall manufacturer.
I suppose you could consider the differences sheetrock to be the more popular product compared to generic drywall, but that’s essentially where the differences end. In terms of durability, sheetrock is just as prone to mold and moisture damage as drywall from other companies.
Advantages of using Drywall/Sheetrock
We’ve spent quite a bit of time going over the downsides of this wall material, so I feel it’s only fair that we dedicate a section to the upsides. And believe us, there are plenty of upsides to using drywall in home construction and renovation projects.
Drywall/sheetrock is sold in several sizes at various thicknesses. For obvious reasons, thicker drywall sheets are better at soundproofing (though not by much) and creating a sturdy surface. And the best part is that – thick or thin – drywall is extremely easy to install.
Installing drywall is a two-man job where one man holds the sheet in place while the other applies glue and drives screws or fires nails into the sheet and joists. Compared to applying plaster, fastening drywall to an entire floor can be done in a fraction of the time. Plus, there’s no need to wait around for anything to dry – except for the glue. After that, just go over the drywall with a paintbrush and you’re all done.
Seeing as how drywall is compacted gypsum powder trapped between two thick sheets of paper, it makes sense that drywall is kindling that’ll increase the size of a small flame into a raging blaze. However, the opposite is (more or less) true.
The crystallization of gypsum between the sheets of paper lends a certain degree of fireproofing to the panel. Drywall is more likely to become scorched in a fire rather than catch ablaze. Furthermore, there are types of drywall that are instilled with fire-resistance properties as well as water-resistance and mold-resistance, though these properties are found in different types of drywall rather than in a single sheet.
In a nutshell, drywall is sheetrock, and vice versa. But to be on the safe side, you should probably look for Sheetrock-made drywall since it’s the most popular brand of drywall available. You should also pay close attention to what sort of natural hazards the panel of drywall is resistant to. Moisture-resistant panels are great for damp rooms, and fire-resistant sheets are ideal for living rooms and bedrooms.