Drywall describes the material used to make up the clean, flat wall and ceiling surfaces in your home. There are currently two kinds of drywall. Plaster or Sheetrock.
Plaster refers to a system called “lath and plaster,” which prior to WWII was the main interior wall surface in the US. Lath and plaster is applied by trowel to a wood lathing (lattice) that was nailed across the wall studs to form a backing for the plaster material. This was labor intensive because the lattice backing had to be applied to the wall studs by hand, then the plaster was spread over it in several successive coats, each of which had to dry. Plaster is a cement product and creates surfaces that are quite hard and durable. Textures can be applied to plaster in infinite artistic patterns. Plaster is still used today to patch older homes and can also be floated over the entire surface of wall board in the form of “thin-wall” plaster to form a hard plaster-like finish.
The other drywall material is called Sheetrock which is the tradename for the wall board material of the US Gypsum company. Sheetrock wall board was invented in 1916 but was not widely adopted for use till after WWII. Sheetrock type drywall comes in standard 4’x8′ sheets and is applied directly to the interior framing of the home. These drywall sheets span over the studs covering the insulation, wire, plumbing and ductwork that are contained in the walls. The use of Drywall also provides an element of fire protection, slowing and preventing flames from reaching the main wood framing members of the structure for up to an hour.
Drywall creates a nice flat surface that can act as an under-layer that accepts all kinds of finishes including paint, fabric, wood paneling, stone, tile, canvas, brick and just about anything. Making painted drywall look nice requires that a number of taping compound finish coats be applied. These must be hand sanded to make joints and nail holes invisible and to achieve a smooth surface with sharp corners. “Nail pops” or small cracks over doors can sometimes show up indicating some movement has taken place. These anomalies might occur at any time but more often they happen as a new home “settles in”.
- 1x per year: Check for holes, cracks or other repairs and patch holes or dings with drywall compound (mud) then sanding or texturing to match existing. For nail pops and small cracks around doors in new homes, its best to wait for at least the first year to pass before addressing these things.