What is Sheetrock made of

Ultra-light drywall sounds great, but who really needs it?

The excessive weight of Drywall is one of the critical properties home improvement and professional installers are very familiar with.

If you injure your back during the remodeling, it will most likely happen when performing acrobatics with drywall. This is why ultralight drywall is so promising.

What is ultra-light drywall?

Ultralight drywall is a general term for drywall that is about 25% lighter than traditional drywall.

Weight savings are the main benefits of ultralight boards. Other qualities that are neutral or slightly negative are the higher cost, the brittle consistency and the poorer sound absorption.

Who does it?

US Gypsum (USG) and Georgia-Pacific are the two leading manufacturers of ultra-light drywall.

At the time of writing this article, only one manufacturer, USG, was producing ultra-light drywall under the brand name Sheetrock® UltraLight Panels. It comes in both 1/2 "and 5/8" non-refractory strengths.

Since then, Georgia-Pacific (GP) began making a lightweight drywall product called ToughRock® Gypsum Board in 1/4 ", 3/8", and 1/2 "thicknesses. This product is a little less than 44 1/2 pounds per 1 / 2 "thick sheet at 4 'at 8'. In terms of weight, it is comparable to Sheetrock® UltraLight.

What makes it easier

There are many theories - higher starch content, more air pockets - but no one outside of the company knows for sure.

Calls to the companies went unanswered.

Contractors on forums have posited that the board is infused with fiberglass or other reinforcing fibers. According to the data sheet, the board consists of gypsum or calcium sulfate dihydrate (85% or less), cellulose (10% or less), starch (5% or less) and crystalline silicon dioxide (5% or less), an ingredient list similar to conventional sheet rock ®.

Others have theorized that a slightly higher grade of pregelatinized corn starch and a special type of surfactant help to account for lightness and strength.

Finally, another theory relates to the introduction of a gaseous foaming agent into the gypsum slurry. Not only are more air pockets introduced into the wall panel, but these are better shaped pockets and offer superior structural strength.

Weight difference: ultra-light vs. standard drywall?

Ultralight weighs 13 pounds less than traditional 1/2 "drywall ... but it's not that simple.

A 1/2 "thick 4'x8 'drywall sheet weighs about 57 pounds. Many homeowners find this manageable, especially with a helper. According to the USG, a 4'x8' Sheetrock® UltraLight Panel weighs 13 pounds less, for example 44 pounds.

When you get to the 5/8 "thick it can often tip the balance. A 4'x8 'sheet of 5/8" drywall weighs 74 pounds. Most professionals can handle this weight (even if they don't love it), but fewer do-it-yourselfers can lift this type of weight.

Remember, this is not a stable, static barbell weight; This is a weight that is flapping around and threatening to dominate you.

Note that these sheets are bundled in pairs.

If you choose to keep the paper binding strip in place, you might possibly be able to carry a bundled pair of 4'x8 'ultra-light half-inch sheets on your own.

Transporting them in pairs saves time. More importantly, it reduces the monotonous "grubby factor" that comes with carrying hundreds of drywall sheets on your construction site.

Which is the stronger of the two?

Is it translated from lighter to weaker? USG and GP are vague about whether Ultra-Light is stronger than traditional drywall or at least as strong.

USG notes that their lightweight wallboard has "superior sag resistance" and that it hangs well on 24 "ceilings on center joists. They also say the product is" pound for pound as standard 1/2 "drywall.

The USG does not make it clear whether this "pound for pound" metric means Sheetrock® UltraLight only proportional is stronger, but that traditional drywall is still that strong or stronger.

Datasheets for the product say it meets or exceeds "ASTM C-1396 Specifications" for hardness and flexural strength, but no hard numbers are shown.

The ultra-light version can still be weaker than traditional drywall from panel to panel. Anecdotal evidence from plumbers and building contractors suggests a brittle consistency and a tendency to break edges.

Who Should Buy This Drywall?

Professionals : USG's product is mainly sold to the professionals - either to drywall hangers who carry the product 5 days a week every day, or to contractors who have to think about issues like workplace injuries and productivity. The introduction of ultra-lightweight drywall could have a significant impact on a construction company's bottom line by the end of the year.

Homeowners / DIY enthusiasts : On the scale of most DIY drywall projects, the weight saving is insignificant. If you mind carrying 13 pounds more home from the store and doing it 10 or 15 times then go for the ultralight product.