The History of Drywall

Drywall, also known as plasterboard or wallboard was invented in 1916 by a company based in America known as The U.S Gypsum. Initially it was sold as small tiles for fireproofing specific areas but within a few years it took shape to what exists today. When it was first invented it was considered to be cheap and nobody was interested, however during World War II with the lack of trades and the need for cheap and fast buildings Drywall took off. It is now the industry norm.

Many builders still viewed Drywall as a cheaper alternative to the old technique of spreading layers of plaster over a thin flat strip of wood to create a very hard, smooth, durable wall. Most builders assumed that the new method would have a lower quality finish.

A few years on builders were starting to realise the cost benefits of using the new Drywall product, as it meant no longer having to pay high labour charges for the traditional method which took longer. As it meant there was no need to apply two or three layers of plaster with a trowel, but instead a drywall finisher would now only need to tape the seams and smooth drywall mud over the seams and nails.

In the early years of Drywall many people were experimenting with the new product and exploring different techniques, which led to drywall and plaster being used together. Instead of using thin strips of wood over the studs , a layer of drywall was installed throughout. A plasterer would then need to spread a thin layer of plaster over the drywall so that the finished surface consisted mostly of plaster.

As the material of drywall improved the paper on the boards meant that painting directly onto them could be achieved.

Over the years Drywall has continued to progress with Drywall boards being available with features that make them fire retardant, moisture resistant, mold growth resistant and the ability to handle high traffic areas as well as the wide range of different sizes, lengths and thicknesses.

Looking to the future who knows what the next stage for Drywall is. Could technology improve the boards and the techniques which we are all so used to using? Will there be another new product which rivals against Drywall?

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