What is plasterboard made of? This common question prompts a deep dive into the world of drywall construction. As a simple alternative to using wet plaster to construct interior walls and ceilings, plasterboard, also known as drywall or gypsum board, is an essential material in modern buildings.
This blog will break down the components of plasterboard and shed light on why it is such a trusted material in construction.
The Primary Ingredient: Gypsum
At the core of plasterboard is gypsum, a mineral that comes in the form of calcium sulphate dihydrate.
When gypsum is heated, it loses water and converts into a dry powder.
Most manufacturers use both natural and synthetic gypsum.
Synthetic gypsum is a byproduct of coal-fired power stations and includes FGD (Flue Gas Desulphurisation) gypsum.
The Layers that Encase Gypsum Panel
To make gypsum board, manufacturers sandwich a core of gypsum between two layers of paper. These paper liners, often made from recycled paper, provide the board with structural integrity.
The face paper is the front side that will be exposed in the room, and it creates a smooth surface for painting or wallpapering.
The back paper can have special properties, like a foil backing for moisture resistance or extra thickness for higher density boards.
We stock the following gypsum board types:
- Soundproof Plasterboard
- Moisture Resistant Plasterboard
- Fire Rated Plasterboard
- Tapered Edge Plasterboard
- Knauf Plasterboard
- Gyproc Plasterboard
- Siniat Plasterboard
Types of Plasterboard for Various Needs
Understanding the types of gypsum panels available is key to ensuring the success of your project.
Standard drywall is perfect for most domestic properties, but special situations call for specially designed boards.
For instance, moisture-resistant plasterboard is ideal for areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms, while fire-resistant plasterboard contains glass fibres and other additives such as vermiculite to enhance its fire-resistant properties.
Acoustic plasterboard, with a higher density, is crafted to reduce noise transmission effectively.
There are also impact-resistant plasterboard options and thermal plasterboard that aids in insulation.
The Edges: Tapered or Square
The edges of gypsum panels come in two primary styles: tapered edge and square edges.
The tapered edge boards are designed to allow joint compound to be applied, creating a smooth finish that makes the seams between the boards virtually disappear.
On the other hand, square edges are perfect for situations that require a more defined edge, like in decorative panelling.
The Hidden Strength Within Gypsum Boards: Additives
While gypsum is the star of the show, plasterboard relies on various additives to meet building regulations and quality standards. These may include glass fibres for fire resistance and structural integrity, and additives to resist moisture, which is especially vital to prevent water damage.
Let’s look at some common additives used withiin the manufacture process:
Starch: Acts as a safeguard for the structural connection between gypsum crystals and the facing paper throughout the drying process.
Lignosulphonates: Enhance the slurry’s fluidity, reducing the water necessity and leading to a more compact plaster.
Potassium Sulphate: Accelerates the gypsum’s rate of precipitation due to a shared ion influence.
How to Install Plasterboard
To fix plasterboard, one typically uses drywall screws to attach it to the wooden or metal frames (studs) of a wall or ceiling.
After installing, professionals apply a joint compound (sometimes called “mud”) to the seams between boards and then sand it down to a smooth finish.
This process, known as dry lining, eliminates the need for wet plastering, offering a quicker and cleaner way to construct walls.
To meet building regulations, especially regarding fire protection and insulation, it’s important to choose the right type of gypsum board. Fire-resistant boards are essential in certain areas of a building, as dictated by local regulations, and can be a literal lifesaver in the event of a fire.
In conclusion, plasterboard stands as a versatile and essential material in the construction industry. It’s not just a mere sheet but a product of engineering brilliance, designed to cater to various needs, from fire resistance to noise reduction.