A drywall sheet is a construction material that is typically used to make the interior walls and ceilings of houses. It is usually made of gypsum plaster that has been pressed between two thick sheets of paper. It is typically light in color so that it can be easily painted in the desired interior color. Other common names for a drywall sheet are wallboard, Sheetrock®, and gypsum board.
Drywall can be hung horizontally or vertically, depending on the needs of the space. Multiple sheets are hung side-by-side to cover a room. First, a sheet is cut to size for a particular wall or ceiling. Then, a small saw is used to create cutouts for light switches, outlets, and any other small openings. Each drywall sheet is then attached to the room frame using nails or drywall screws.
The area where the two sheets meet — called the joint — is taped and covered with a joint compound. In order to ensure that the final wall or ceiling will be even, the compound must be smoothed and, often, sanded. This is one of the most difficult and precise tasks related to hanging drywall, and many professionals feel that there is an art to properly taping and smoothing joint compound.
Drywall sheets can be prepared in a variety of ways to meet construction needs. For example, they can be made to be fireproof, to reduce sound, or to resist bathroom moisture. Drywall sheets are typically sold in 1/2- and 5/8-inch (12.7 and 15.8 mm) thicknesses, although some can be as narrow as 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) thick. They are often 4 foot by 8 foot (1.2 m by 2.4 m) in size, although bigger sheets are available. A drywall sheet that large is useful for a particularly big space; the larger each sheet, the fewer sheets are needed, and the fewer joints remain to be sealed and smoothed.
Unlike traditional plaster, a drywall sheet can be installed very quickly by experienced drywallers, or even managed do-it-yourselfers. If the drywall sheets are small enough, one person can do the job alone. Given that it is such a popular building material, it is easily obtained at general retail building supply stores, not just in specialty stores
In order to assist the process of how building architects, contractors, and owners communicate about the look and feel of the drywall sheet, four trade associations issued recommendations in 1990 for levels of drywall sheet finish. The levels range from 0 to 5, with each level representing an increased quality of final product.