The Different Types of Wallboard Used In Home Remodeling

how to choose wallboard when remodeling.

Home Remodeling With Wallboard

Learn About Wall Covering Also Known As Sheetrock, Drywall, Gypsum Board, And They're "Cousin" Plasterboard

Whether you know it as sheetrock, drywall or gypsum board, wallboard is a sheet stock material used to cover walls and ceiling. When your walls are framed, the plumbing, electrical and HVAC roughed in, and the walls are insulated, wallboard is screwed to the studs to close up the walls and ceiling.

For homeowners, this is the time that your home remodeling project feels like it's almost over because the rooms are beginning to take shape. There are several different types of wallboard contractors use in a typical project. They are manufactured to perform specific functions and are color coded to help distinguish between the different types.

Let's learn a little bit about the history of wallboard, the different types available, and how they're used in a typical home remodeling project.

Wallboard History: Wallboard and the Boom in Affordable Housing

The first drywall was invented in 1916 by the US Gypsum Corporation. It was created to protect homes from urban fires and was initially marketed as “the poor man's answer to plaster walls.”

Lath and Plaster Walls

During the early part of the century, plaster walls were the finishing material of choice for homes. They consisted of a lattice of wood, that was then covered with three coats of plaster to form a strong, dense surface for interior walls. Plasterwork was expensive, even for the time. It took trained craftsman time to layer the plaster and more time waiting for the walls to dry before the next layer could be applied.


Drywall didn't catch on for quite some time. However, after WWII in the late 1940s, sales exploded. Soldiers returning home were looking for affordable housing as they started their new post-war lives. This was the beginning of the baby boomer generation, and as a result, 21 million new homes were built between 1946 and 1960. Drywall was a cost-effective material that allowed homes to be built quickly, making it the perfect material to meet the housing needs of the time.

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Today, USG is still operating and is the largest manufacturer of wallboard in North America. It has a 25% market share and does $4 billion a year in sales. Their product line has expanded, and today there are a variety of types of wallboard commonly used in home construction and remodeling. Everything from standard white sheetrock, to ECO board which is made out of recycled materials creating drywall that resembles concrete and is impervious to mold and termites, is available to contractors and homeowners.

Let's look at the various types of wallboard available and their uses.

Wallboard Types and Uses for Home Remodeling

Drywall comes in several different types that each has specific uses for home remodeling. Here are some of the most popular types along with the most common applications.

Regular Drywall (also called White Board)

This is the most commonly used type of drywall in both residential and commercial construction and home remodeling. It's the most economical and comes in different sizes from 3/8 inch to 1 inch. It's light brown on one side and white on the finished side. Typically regular drywall comes in 4' X 8' panels but is also available in different lengths.

Green Board Drywall

Green board is also known as moisture resistant drywall. It has a green covering that makes it more resistant to moisture, but it is not waterproof so do not use it if it's going to be in contact with water. It's a bit more expensive than regular drywall and is used as a tile backer in limited wet areas like bathroom and basement walls, laundry rooms and kitchen backsplash.

Blue Board Drywall

Also known as plaster baseboard, blue board is used for veneer plastering. The surface paper has special absorption qualities that give it high resistance to water and mold. It's not made for tape, mud, and paint, but is extremely useful in bathrooms or places with high moisture. This type of board also helps to reduce noise and offers low emissions. It's an excellent choice for overall performance.

Purple Drywall

This drywall offers improved moisture resistance and is the same as regular drywall, but with superior resistance to mold as well as moisture. Can be used on both walls and ceilings, especially if enhanced moisture and mold resistance is required. If it's going to be in direct contact with water, this is the board to use.

Fire-Resistant Drywall

Also known as type-X drywall, several thicknesses can be used to increase fire rating. Harder to cut and work with than regular drywall, it's normally used in garages, and apartment buildings and is often required to meet local building codes. Type-X contains non-combustible fibers. Typically available in 5/8 inch thickness, it also offers improved soundproofing capabilities. To achieve a “Type-X” classification a 5/8 inch board must offer a 45-minute fire resistance rating.

Paperless Drywall

Rather than a paper covering, this type of drywall uses fiberglass to better protect against rot, and it also offers better mold and mildew resistance. It's a little tougher to cut than regular drywall, but it is beginning to replace regular drywall in new home construction.

Soundproof Drywall

Soundproof drywall is made up of laminated drywall with a mix of wood fibers, gypsum, and polymers giving it better sound transmission resistance. Denser than regular drywall it's a little harder to cut. This type of drywall is used explicitly in areas where noise may be a problem like home theaters, family rooms, or if you're a musician, in the music room.

Using The Right Drywall for Your Home Remodeling Project

Depending on the scope of work, your design-build-remodel professional will make suggestions and explain the options. You may have several choices depending upon your home renovation project. Your contractor can go over the pros and cons of each choice during the planning stage of your project and help you to make the best choice to meet your needs and budget. While some types may cost more, they might also offer better performance, than the less expensive option.

If you're planning a home remodeling project in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area, give the experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel a call at (608) 846-5963. We'll help you understand all of the options available to you for your next home remodeling project, work with you to design the perfect solution and deliver your project on time, on budget and with the superior craftsmanship our clients have come to expect from our firm.

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