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What Is Gypsum Cement?

A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a gypsum cement wall.
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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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Gypsum cement is a type of plaster made primarily from gypsum, a soft mineral comprised of calcium sulfate dihydrates. Due to its strength, durability, and capacity to hold a polished shine, this plaster is used for several different purposes, including drywall, flooring, ceilings, and in the creation sculptures, statues, and effigies. Gypsum cement is different than gypsum plaster, or plaster of Paris, which possesses neither the high quality of the cement nor its unique characteristics. Gypsum cement is much harder and more reliable than plaster of Paris, and some brands are infused with special agents that can make the material fire retardant or lower the level of moisture absorption.

In the manufacturing of gypsum cement, raw gypsum is mined from the earth and burned at an extremely high temperature to remove all traces of water. It is then ground to a very fine powder, and mixed with alum to speed up the drying process. When water is added to this powder mixture, pure gypsum cement is produced.

Throughout history, this material has been used for its sleek look and resilient properties. Some of the first human civilizations made use of gypsum cement to create statues and sculptures. As the centuries progressed, gypsum cement remained a popular choice for buildings and monuments, but today it is often overshadowed by the more readily accessible Portland cement. Gypsum powder, however, is sometimes added to Portland cement to make it both light and hardy.

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Due to its light weight and high level of resistance to fire, flooring made from this material has become a popular choice for many homebuilders. It is often laid as a foundation floor before tile, carpet, or another type of covering is added. Gypsum walls can be instituted by plastering the drywall or an existing wall with gypsum cement. The cement can then be molded, chiseled, or shaped to fit a variety of different architectural styles. A gypsum ceiling can be achieved through the same process.

This material is exceptionally strong, and brands manufactured for use in construction are ideal for supporting heavy structures and beams. Some types contain glass fibers, which further enhance the product's sturdiness. This strength is also handy for more artistic pursuits, such as the creation of monuments and other works of art. The material's toughness and durability allows even the most delicate statue to withstand the negative effects of air, wind, water, and light.

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anon940765
Post 3

Can gypsum mixed with Portland cement be used on a load bearing wall?

B707
Post 2

I never thought that gypsum cement would be used for floor foundations, ceilings, and walls. It's interesting that construction workers, or do-it-yourselvers, can plaster the dry wall or ceiling with gypsum cement, and then create textures and designs. I think that would look great.

I'm curious about the cost of gypsum cement compared to Portland cement. I would think that maybe it is more expensive and used in more expensive houses.

lovealot
Post 1

High atop a hill above Paris, France, is the beautiful white church, Sacred Heart. It was built from gypsum mineral and other additives to make it strong. The gypsum was mined from a place very nearby. It took 40 years to build. It shines with a brilliant white.

In the ancient past, gypsum cement has been used for statutes and other works of art. Because of the strength of gypsum cement, I wouldn't be surprised if these old statutes will last for many centuries to come.

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