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Using Gypsum Board for Walls and Ceilings

Section I
Section I Gypsum Board Construction
2. What is Gypsum Board?
3. Advantages of Gypsum Board Construction
4. Ease of installation
5. Fire resistance
6. Sound isolation
7. Durability
8. Economy
9. Versatility
10. Types of Gypsum Board
11. Limitations of Use
12. Application of Gypsum Board
13. Storage and Handling
14. Jobsite Preparations
15. Tools
16. Application Sequence
17. Cutting and Fitting Procedures
18. Single-Ply and Multi-Ply Application
19. Control Joints


Gypsum board is the generic name for a family of panel products that consist of a
noncombustible core, composed primarily of gypsum, and a paper surfacing on the face, back
and long edges. Gypsum board is one of several building materials covered by the umbrella term
gypsum panel products. All gypsum panel products contain gypsum cores; however, they can
be faced with a variety of different materials, including paper and fiberglass mats.
Gypsum board is often called drywall, wallboard, or plasterboard. It differs from other paneltype building products, such as plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard, because of its
noncombustible core and paper facers. When joints and fastener heads are covered with a joint
compound system, gypsum wall board creates a continuous surface suitable for most types of
interior decoration. A typical board application is shown in Figure 1.

Fig. 1 Horizontally Applied Gypsum Wallboard Showing Joints and Framing

Gypsum is a mineral found in sedimentary rock formations in a crystalline form known as

calcium sulfate dihydrate CaSO42H2O. One hundred pounds of gypsum rock contains
approximately 21 pounds (or 10 quarts) of chemically combined water. Gypsum rock is mined or
quarried and transported to the manufacturing facility.
The manufacturer receives quarried gypsum, and crushes the large pieces before any further
processing takes place. Crushed rock is then ground into a fine powder and heated to about 350
degrees F, driving off three-fourths of the chemically combined water in a process called
calcining. The calcined gypsum (or hemihydrate) CaSO4H2O is then used as the base for
gypsum plaster, gypsum board and other gypsum products.

Synthetic gypsum, commonly known as the FGD (Flue Gas Desulphurization) gypsum or DSG
(desulphurised) gypsum may also be used in the production of gypsum board. This product is
primarily derived from coal-fired electrical utilities which have systems in place to remove sulfur
dioxide from flue gasses. These systems capture the sulfur dioxide by passing the gasses through
scrubbers that contain limestone (calcium carbonate) which absorbs and chemically combines
with the sulfur dioxide to form pure calcium sulfate, or gypsum. The synthetic gypsum is then
transported to the gypsum board manufacturer; the production process for calcining synthetic
gypsum is largely the same as with mined gypsum only no primary crushing is necessary.
To produce gypsum board, the calcined gypsum is mixed with water and additives to form a
slurry which is fed between continuous layers of paper on a board machine. As the board moves
down a conveyer line, the calcium sulfate recrystallizes or rehydrates, chemically combining
with the water that was removed during calcination and reverts to its original rock state. The
paper becomes chemically and mechanically bonded to the core. The board is then cut to length
and conveyed through dryers to remove any free moisture.
Advantages of Gypsum Board Construction
Gypsum board walls and ceilings have a number of outstanding advantages:

Ease of installation

Fire resistance

Sound isolation