When finishing a room or repairing a wall, you may be wondering about using sheetrock vs drywall. This is a common question for beginner DIYers and homeowners alike. In this article we’ll discuss what to look for in these materials and what differences you need to know about.
Keep reading to learn about these building materials and when to use them.
Sheetrock vs Drywall: How Are They Different?
When looking at sheetrock vs drywall, you may be surprised to find that there are no differences, and that is the correct conclusion. Sheetrock is a name brand of drywall, like Band-Aid to bandages. There really is no significant difference between the two.
Sheetrock was invented in 1916 by the Gypsum Corporation as the first drywall product. Sheetrock has a few small chemical differences when compared to other drywall, but none that affect its performance.
These differences allow Gypsum Corporation to keep a patent on Sheetrock but will not make a difference to your function. While some professionals may have a preference, such as preferring one large home improvement store to another, most individuals will not notice a difference.
The key decision is not sheetrock vs drywall but instead about the size and thickness of the material you choose.
What to Look For
When looking at sheetrock or drywall, you want to focus on size, thickness, and where you are going to be using it. These factors will make up the key differences that will influence your choice of product.
The size of the sheet will correlate to its ease of installation. Sheets generally come in 8, 10, and 12-foot lengths. The larger lengths mean fewer seams, but they are also heavier and harder to handle.
Therefore some larger sheets are not well suited to installation by beginners because they are hard to use. Similarly, if you are installing them on the ceiling, larger sheets are harder to hold up and more susceptible to breaking.
Once you have decided on the size, the next decision is about the thickness of the material. No matter if you choose sheetrock vs drywall, the thickness will impact how well it dampens sound and how fire-resistive the material is.
Regardless if you elect to use sheetrock vs drywall, you will find both come in ½ inch and ⅝ inch thickness. Thicker material is heavier and more difficult to use, especially for beginner DIYers.
Though it may be heavier, thicker material is also better at dampening sound, a feature that may be worth the added weight. If you are looking to reduce or eliminate sound between rooms, you will want to use a thicker material.
In addition to sound dampening, the thickness affects the fire resistance that the material has. The chemical makeup of sheetrock vs drywall does not have an effect on the fire-resistive nature of the material, so the only factor that influences this is the thickness.
Material that is ½ inch is fire resistant for 30 minutes, whereas the ⅝ inch material is good for 60 minutes. This makes a considerable difference when dealing with fire and should be a factor in deciding which material you use.
When to Use Sheetrock vs Drywall
When choosing your material, regardless of whether you choose sheetrock or drywall under another brand name, you should ensure it fits your needs. Drywall materials have a lot of uses and are the most common wall material in the United States. This is because of their low cost and ease of installation.
Drywall separates external walls from internal and mounts to the wooden studs. In-between the drywall and external walls are insulation and frequently a vapor seal. All of this is held behind your walls thanks to the drywall material. It can also be used to patch walls if you have holes or cracks in the existing material.
The sound-dampening properties should be considered when deciding what thickness you want and where to put it. For example, you can use thinner drywall on the ceiling of your top floor or on the ceiling under rooms that do not generate much noise.
You will want to use thicker drywall around rooms where you generate the most noise, such as a child’s playroom or a rec room. Thicker drywall will also lend to an increase in insulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I decide between using drywall or sheetrock?
Drywall and sheetrock are great for most circumstances, though there are reasons to use other materials. Neither drywall nor sheetrock contours to curved walls well, so other materials may be more useful in these situations.
There are also better choices for fire resistance, so in rooms where that could be a worry, you may want to choose other materials. In historic homes, textured materials generally fit the aesthetic better and therefore are superior choices to drywall and sheetrock.
What can I use instead of drywall?
Plasterboard is a good alternative to drywall and sheetrock. Plasterboard can more easily curve to fit the shape of a wall, offers superior fire resistance, and texture is more fitting to historic homes.
Wrapping Up Sheetrock Vs Drywall
There is no significant difference in sheetrock vs drywall. The small chemical differences that allow a patent to be held on sheetrock do not make a functional difference in the material’s performance. Like Band-Aid to bandages, sheetrock is a name brand that has been used interchangeably with drywall for years.
When choosing your material, you should look at the size of sheets you use, the thickness of the material, and where you’ll install it to choose the right options. You should also consider the shape of your walls, the age of your house, and other factors when deciding if drywall or sheetrock is the right material to utilize.
For more tips about drywall, check out our Drywall Repair page for links to blog posts and guides that will ensure a great outcome for your next project!