Drywall was invented by the U.S. Gypsum Company in 1916 and first manufactured in little tiles. But soon, in less than a decade, it was sold and used in the form familiar to us now; a single layer of compressed gypsum inserted between two sheets of heavy paper. It would, however, take 25 years before builders would begin to use drywall in more substantial quantities.
There are several reasons it would take so long for builders to use drywall. Builders always considered drywall a mere cheap fix and people didn’t want to live in homes that were constructed so quickly. This is the reason so many continued using expensive plaster. But when the United States got involved in World War II, things could change.
During the war, out labor force turned their focus on manufacturing weapons and other items used for combat. With a depleted labor force and materials shortages, drywall became a way to offset costs and reduce time in building construction. Yes, this was when Americans discovered that drywall was inexpensive and allowed buildings to be constructed much quicker than it took using plaster. And by 1945, drywall has become the top building material.
How it is Made
Drywall is made primarily of gypsum, which is a mineral found in massive beds that closely resembles white sand. Despite its name, drywall is made using a large amount of water. The water is in crystalline form, which is why drywall remains dry. However, in the event of a fire, the water crystals destabilize and vaporize, which is why it is fire-resistant.
Raw gypsum is mixed with several additives and blended into a thick paste. The paste is then spread onto a sheet of paper with another sheet placed on top. It is then passed through ovens to heat it up and dry it out.
Types of Drywall
Regular drywall is quite appropriate for most applications, but there are several types of drywall that would be better-suited for certain circumstances.
Impact Resistant– Impact resistant drywall is often used in places like schools and dormitories, which are considered high abuse areas.
Sound Board– Places like apartments and condominiums often use this type of drywall as the transmission of noise from unit to unit is a concern.
Moisture Resistant– This type of drywall is often used in bathrooms, basements and other areas that are prone to moisture.
Drywall is popular among homeowners because it is easy to learn and you don’t need expensive building supplies. It is quite easy to learn the three basic steps of drywall: cutting, hanging and finishing. If you have questions about installing drywall, give us a call and we can help.