Plasterboard, often referred to as drywall, is a panel made of gypsum. It is traditionally pressed between thick sheets of paper for use in walls and has multiple insulation properties. The gypsum can be combined with various additives to give the plasterboard any number of different qualities and properties, whether you're after thermal or acoustic insulation. The thickness of the paper facer and backer can also vary.
Benefits of plasterboard sheets
- It provides you with a smooth finish that you can decorate with paint to look a lot more visually appealing.
- Plasterboard is also lightweight and easy to install in your home.
- It can be used to create unique features such as curved walls.
- It can also be used to help meet building regulations for fire, acoustic, moisture and thermal performance.
What types of plasterboard are there?
Using different types of plasterboard in your home is a good way to improve the overall insulation offering. Some types of plasterboard sheets for insulation have different edges depending on whether you’ll need to plaster over the board or not.
Plasterboard with a tapered edge is best used for jointing and skimming, and plasterboard with a square edge is used when you’re looking for a textured finish. It’s important to decide on which type of edge your plasterboard will need before you choose the exact type of board to get.
Acoustic plasterboard sheets
Also referred to as soundproof plasterboard, the benefits of acoustic plasterboard are clear, as it helps keep any outside sounds from entering the room, as well as working the other way too, to stop any unwanted noise from leaving the room. This means that your room can be a great place to relax without worrying about any issues with your neighbours or people in other rooms of your house.
Dampening sound and minimising noise pollution by quieting airborne sounds and impact vibrations, this is a great option to use on your interior walls or ceilings.
Moisture resistant plasterboard sheets
As the name suggests, moisture resistant board combines the gypsum core of the plasterboard with a variety of different additives to enhance the board’s resistance to moisture and damp. It is often best used in areas where damp could be a bigger or recurring issue, such as in garages or loft conversions.
If you decide not to use moisture-resistant plasterboard sheets in moist areas then you will be increasing the risk of seeing damp, mould, and rot as time goes on.
Fire resistant plasterboard sheets
Once again this does exactly what you would expect, as fire resistant plasterboard helps protect against the possibility of fire more than other types of plasterboard. Additives mix with the gypsum core once again to enhance the fireproof capabilities of the boards.
It can be used successfully in dry-lining interior walls and ceilings and is often best used in areas of the home that need extra fireproofing.
Impact resistant plasterboard sheets
Often with a higher density than other types of board, the main benefits of impact resistant plasterboard are that it reduces any potential damage caused by impact, vibrations and scuffs. The purpose is to increase the toughness and durability of the area you’re placing the board.
Foil backed plasterboard sheets
Providing superb vapour resistance, foil backed plasterboard acts as a barrier that helps limit moisture from building up and prevents damp from causing an issue in your home. Using a thin foil backing, this type of board is ideal for use in roofs, decks, and walls.
Standard plasterboard sheets
The basic type of board, standard plasterboard sheets can be used for several purposes such as dry lining walls, ceilings and roofs. The main positive of this type of board is its versatility, it can be installed in single or multiple layers and fitted to any shape or size.
How to install and fix plasterboard sheets
Plasterboard sheets can be fitted in your home in three different ways, the most relevant of which will depend on the type of substrate behind it. For example, if you are fixing plasterboard to brickwork then the best option will be to use the dot-and-dab technique. While if you are working with timber frames and partitioning walls, then you can use screws or nails.
How to fix plasterboard sheets using screws
When dealing with plasterboard fixings and screws, you’ll need to be aware of where any pipes are located behind the boards to avoid accidentally fixing a screw through a pipe, which would cause a multitude of problems. The ideal size of the screws that you’ll need is roughly 25mm longer than the thickness of the plasterboard sheet.
When you’re ready to fix the boards, take the following steps:
1. Make a note of where the timber framework is and mark lines on the plasterboard as a reminder. This is to ensure that you don’t accidentally miss the timber when you’re placing the screws.
2. The screws will need to be placed at gaps of 100-200mm across the timber framework. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t place any screws within 12mm of the edge of the board.
3. Drill the screws in slowly until the head of the screw is just under the surface of the paper.
How to fix plasterboard sheets with nails
Plasterboard sheets can also be fixed using nails, with the size of the nails depending on the size of the plasterboard. 30mm long nails are best for 9.5mm thick plasterboard and 40mm for 12.5mm thick plasterboard.
When you’re ready to fix your plasterboard sheet using nails, take the following steps.
1. As with the version with screws, mark lines on the plasterboard where the timber framework is. This is so that you don’t miss the timber when hammering the nails in.
2. Ensure that there is a gap of 150mm between nails and won’t be any closer than 12mm between the nails and the edge of the boards.
3. Hammer the nails into the board until they are securely in.
How to fix plasterboard sheets with the dot and dab method
It is important to have plasterboard adhesive ready to go for this method, as well as having the boards cut and ready with the right dimensions for the space that they’re going in. If any electrical sockets will be in the way, make sure to cut out the spaces for those in the board too, as required. Then, take the following steps:
1. The first step is to mix the plasterboard adhesive until it is thick in texture.
2. Then dab a lump of the adhesive spaced out around 20cm across the plasterboard sheet, so that it leaves dots.
3. Use a spirit level to make sure the board is straight, and line it up with the space that you will be putting it into.
4. Press the board down firmly and make sure that it doesn’t move when you’ve taken your hands off it.
You’ll also need to make sure that you leave a gap between the boards and the floor to reduce the risk of any damp.