Panels Sizes and Types

Drywall comes in 24-, 48-, and 54-inch widths; in 8-, 9-, 10-, 12-, 14-, and 16-foot lengths, and four thicknesses:

  • 5/8 in. is the stiffest and provides the best sound- proofing and fire retarding
  • 1/2 in. is the most common single-layer sheet
  • 3/8 in. is used in remodels over old walls
  • 1/4 in. is easily bent to make curved surfaces and is installed in two layers

For estimating drywall coverage, try this calculator

Specialized Panels

Fire-code panels have a gypsum core with chemical additives and glass fibers. Fire codes require their use on ceilings in garages and furnace rooms. Type X, the most common used in homes, is 5/8 in. thick and has a one-hour fire rating.

Lightweight panels are 30% lighter than regular drywall. They're used on ceilings. Most are ½-inch thick, but a lightweight,, 5/8-in. Type X board is available for fire code applications.

Moisture-resistant, or MR drywall has a colored facing paper (the color depends on the manufacturer) that's coated to make it resistant to water vapor (but not to liquid water). It's used in humid areas: baths, laundries, utility rooms, and returns around condensation-prone windows and skylights. It's prone to sagging, and so should not be used on ceilings or as a tile substrate.

Foil-backed drywall has a perm rating of .06 and doubles as a vapor retarder.

Soffit boards are wrapped in a special moisture-resistant paper. They’re used on exterior soffits and porch ceilings.


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