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What Is Green Drywall?

Green drywall, also known as greenwood, is commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms.
A man uses a taping knife to skim coat a green drywall panel.
Drywall is available in many sizes.
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  • Written By: Lisa Lucke
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2014
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The term green drywall might be a little confusing, as it can have more than one definition. In many cases, the term is used as a synonym for green board, sometimes written as one word — greenboard. Green board is a type of water-resistant drywall with green paper covering. It is commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, where humidity can be high. Green drywall may also refer to drywall that is made from environmentally sustainable practices.

Drywall is often used when building a home to make up the interior surface of the walls and ceiling. After the walls of a building are framed in, usually with wood, drywall is then nailed or screwed to the studs. The joints are covered with a special tape, then joint compound is applied on top. The entire wall can later be given a thin coating — called a skim layer — of finishing compound, although this is not required.

Green board drywall is designed to be used in high-humidity applications. The paper coating on regular drywall easily absorbs moisture. If installed in an area where it's regularly exposed to dampness and humidity, like basements or bathrooms, it can become soft or even fall apart. Green board drywall is designed to reduce the chances of this happening.

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The green paper coating on this type of drywall has been specially treated to resist moisture. Unlike regular drywall, it should not absorb water from the air. Some companies offer green board that is also designed to be especially resistant to mold growth.

It is important for anyone working with green board drywall to remember that it is water resistant, not waterproof. Although it can work well in bathrooms, it should not be installed behind showers or bathtubs, where it is more likely to get wet. In these cases, a cement backer board, such as Wonderboard®, is recommended. Green board is also not fire resistant, so it may not be a good choice for use around the stove in a kitchen.

Like many other industries, the construction industry is no exception when it comes to going green. Traditional drywall is made of gypsum, which needs to be cooked, a process that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Environmentally-friendly "green drywall" does not use gypsum, so virtually no CO2 is released during its manufacturing. For that reason, it has a drastically lower carbon footprint than most other drywall products. Other environmentally friendly elements of this type of green drywall are that it is mercury free, and produces no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases that are emitted from certain solids or liquids that are believed to have adverse health effects.

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hanley79
Post 3

Reading this article makes me very curious what green (environmentally-friendly green) drywall uses instead of gypsum. Is it a similar material, or something entirely different?

Malka
Post 2

@aishia - I read that fiberglass drywall costs a lot more than regular paper drywall. When it comes to moisture resistance, I'll take the green board drywall price over the seventy percent or so price hike for the fiberglass stuff, even if it doesn't work quite as well.

The price isn't the only reason to skip fiberglass, though -- fiberglass drywall isn't recyclable. Because it's got fiberglass in it, you can't even grind it up to use it in soil like they sometimes do with the papered kind.

aishia
Post 1

The mold-resistant green board is essentially paperless drywall. Instead of using paper sheets on each side of the gypsum or presumably a more "green" material in the environmental sense, this kind is made with thin layers of fiberglass.

I've worked with this kind before -- it's a lot more waterproof than the paper-covered kind, as you'd expect, but still not completely so. As the name suggests, drywall isn't meant for building places that will get downright wet, just the ones that need mold-resistance.

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