Sheetrock, wallboard, plaster, drywall. Those are all terms used in the construction industry by the top home improvement companies when referring to the materials used to build walls and ceilings within homes, office buildings, gas stations, retails stores, football stadiums, and more. Growing up in a house with a father whose done renovations of homes, I’ve seen my fair share of both drywall and plaster. I’ve learned throughout the years that both aren’t just inexpensive, but it’s cleaner as well. The amount of dust that was kicked up by using plaster is dangerous to your health, the environment, and the job its self.
So why should you use drywall and not plaster? Well first let’s take a look at what it is
What is it, and how is it used?
Drywall is a very common, yet very versatile building material that’s not only used in the creation of walls and ceilings, but in the creation of Archway, leaves, steel beam coverage, and masonry walls. It is the preferred material for its quick installation, durability, and it’s affordability. Working in the home improvement and construction industry in British Columbia, it would be pretty standard to see large slabs of drywall. However, it is pretty uncommon to see it in its rawest form.
We tend to talk about drywall in its natural form but how is it made? What is it made from?
How is it made?
The main ingredient is gypsum, a material found in the beds of white sand, such as the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. This material is mined not made, and because of that fact, it can take quite a bit of mine enough to meet the supply and demand. The gypsum is primarily made up of H2O, more commonly known as water. It is not straight water, however, its water that’s taken on a crystalline formation. Even though the gypsum is primarily water, the industrial molecules remain dry. Those water molecules are responsible for making it fire retardant. However, it must be said that like every other building material, it is only for retardant to a certain degree. Once the inner molecules are destroyed, its self is destroyed. It is important to remember this when having it installed in areas that may pose a fire hazard.
How is gypsum fire retardant?
When a piece of drywall, say in a basement catches on fire; it automatically begins to enter a cooling down period. This cooldown is possible because the water molecules begin to destabilize, allowing the water to vaporize once it starts to boil.
Drywall hasn’t always been the choice building material.
A little over 50 years ago, the construction industry was slow to turn a profit. This wasn’t due to new employees, poor work ethic, or lack of customers, but rather due to the labor-intensive use of plaster. Before ceiling and drywall repair was introduced, workers were forced to take wet plaster and wrap it around beams to create the walls found in homes.
As time went on, ceiling and drywall repair were added to the construction industry by a handful of companies, giving workers a way of crafting the same product, without the labor-intensive negatives holding the job down. The most prominent negative of plaster is the amount of time it would take to dry. A single job could take 2 to 3 days to dry before workers would be able to put up a new later, as plastering requires several lawyers to get the same outcome as a single piece.
This process created by residential and commercial contractors took a long time to complete since it needed to be repeated many times before a single wall would be complete. Meaning, it would take a team of workers well over three months to complete a job using plaster, whereas it would take the same team 1.5 months to complete the same job using drywall.
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