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Invented in 1916, and popularized after the Second World War, drywall remains to be a fundamental part of most homes. In fact, 3 in 4 homes in the United States utilize drywall for different functions. Known by many names, drywall is basically an amalgamation of paper lining and gypsum.
This guide will walk you through the different kinds of drywall, the ways your home drywall can be damaged, and most importantly, tips on how to resolve these problems by either doing it yourself, or hiring a trained drywall contractors near you
Types of Drywall
There is a diverse offering of drywall – different colors, sizes, and functions – all to accommodate the unique needs and nature of your home improvement project. For this article, we’ll focus on the main categories, which stand at seven. Here’s a little information about all of them:
1. Regular drywall
Primarily used on your walls and ceilings, this kind of drywall is considered as the traditional type, and is also used prevalently. Ranging from ten to sixteen feet long, it usually has a maximum thickness of an inch. It is available in two forms: First is the square-edged, which serves most of your ceilings and walls. Second is the taper-edged, which is preferred when dealing with the finishing in order to facilitate smoother joints. Both are sized and distributed in 4×8 panels.
2. Paperless drywall
An innovation which has been beating paper drywall recently, paperless drywall substitutes paper with fiberglass. The fiberglass then serves as the primary defense of the gypsum board against harmful elements that may cause molding. Because of its material, paperless drywall is harder to cut compared to regular drywall.
Mainly used on homes and other structures in cold and humid regions, foil-backed drywall is useful in ensuring moisture inside the structure is only in small amounts, giving the occupants relative comfort. Because of its insulation function, the use of foil-backed drywall naturally leads to lowered energy costs associated with the use of air-conditioning systems.
Also known as Type X drywall, it is mainly composed of different non-combustible materials. Because of its properties, this drywall is usually used in risk prone areas of the home such as kitchens, sheds, or even garages. Any space being used to store combustible materials should be fitted with the fire-resistant drywall. Lastly, some variants of this drywall also have soundproofing quality because of the sheer thickness and protection qualities of the material.
The moisture-resistant drywall is best used in rooms exposed to water, and are thus prone to moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. These drywall are divided into three, namely: green board, purple board, and blue board drywall. Their names come from the color of their coating and they mostly have the same qualities. Blue board drywall are unique in that it is utilized for veneer plastering. A word of caution, though; moisture-resistant should not be equated with waterproof. So make sure to never use this drywall if it’ll be exposed to water, or fix a water leak immediately as soon as it appears.
These drywall are considered as “abuse-resistant” because of its thickness – a quality it can afford to have by wrapping the sides with a polystyrene sheet. This gives the drywall a great insulation quality, able to withstand and mitigate the effects of the highest levels of heat – something very important to individuals living in tropical and temperate countries.
This extremely thick (5/8 inch) drywall is made of a combination of gypsum, polymers, and wood fibers. It is usually used in structures which have a dense population such as apartments and condominiums. For your home, you might prefer to use this kind of drywall for your bedrooms or your personal studio, if you have one.
Common Drywall Problems
– Water damage
As most homeowners are all too familiar with, water damage is one of the most difficult of problems to fix in one’s house. Water damage in drywall commonly results from faulty plumbing, which then leads to the decaying of wood, eventually spreading to adjacent areas. If that isn’t enough, just think of all the mold that will build up if the water spills into the wall.
Left unchecked, there is no other way to solve this problem but to completely replace the old drywall. For those unfamiliar with the process, obtaining services from professional drywall repair companies and plumbers is a must. This is to ensure that the source of the water damage is resolved and the drywall is completely free of any decay or damages afterwards.
– Scratched or perforated drywall
Though not considered by many as an urgent concern because it cannot be seen, scratched or perforated drywall can cause a lot of problems as time goes by. For example, if a nail perforates the drywall, the stability of the entire sheet is compromised, and can completely collapse if not resolved immediately. On the other hand, scratches will eventually lead to its collapse as well, but it will probably take a lot longer.
For scratches, simply mending the site can resolve the problem. But for deeper perforations and damages, it is advisable to completely replace the entire drywall segment affected.
– Cracking drywall
Specifically applying to drywall joints, cracking is usually attributed to movements in the wall framing (e.g. opening of doors) Obviously, opening a door is something that can’t be avoided in your home. Thus, the best way to prevent any cracking from happening is to ensure that taped joints can withstand as much pressure as it can. Paper tape, while less durable compared to mesh tape, may be preferable since it is substantially less flexible.
– Large hanging joints
Joints at the margins of drywall are known to be weak because they aren’t attached to a border or post. This severely impacts the lifespan of the joints, and consequently, the drywall in question. To prevent this problem at the outset, ensure that hanging joints are only used sparsely. Limiting this joints to only sixteen inches will do a lot to increase its durability and lifespan.
– Termite infestations
Termite infestations are particularly problematic because the damage it inflicts on a home isn’t visible at the outset. By the time you become aware of the problem, chances are, termites have already penetrated a lot of walls in your house. Since termites are known to permanently damage the integrity of drywall, and even your house itself, the only solution is to remove the damaged drywall and replace them with new ones.
It’s likely that you’ll also have to replace the nearby drywall, regardless of whether it shows signs of termite damage. This is a better solution as opposed to having to make repairs again after a year or so because the termite infestation wasn’t completely eradicated.
– Snug joints
A lot of homeowners think that snug joints avoid many drywall-related complications. Unfortunately, it actually causes a lot more damage. Snug joints compromise the space that should be reserved for the edges when they move around, as is the case when the insides of the structure are affected by external factors. Because of this, the edges touch each other, leading to cracking. Thus, always make sure that there is just enough space to prevent edges from bumping.
– Scratching due to unsuitable tools
This primarily deals with using improper tools to take out wallpaper. This can result to abrasions and other damages, leading to a lengthier process of installing new wallpaper. As this problem is relatively minor, it can be easily resolved as well. Only use scoring tools that are made for removing wallpaper and this problem will not be yours to manage.
The same goes for removing tile using inappropriate tools. Don’t pick up any tool you have and just capriciously use it to remove your tile. Buy specific tools; they might cost you now, but the cost of having to replace an entire segment of a drywall will undoubtedly be more expensive. One tip: a heat gun can make the procedure easier for you as this will loosen the tiles.
– Alignment problems for electrical boxes
While your electrician is probably well-versed in the location, measurement and management of electrical wiring, somebody with no experience is likely to stumble into some problems. This is exactly the case when homeowners try to make electrical repairs on their own. Holes that should be for electrical connections are fastened in all the wrong locations.
Sanding is a necessary process in order to ensure that surfaces can be painted on without a hitch. However, homeowners who do this by themselves for the first time often make the mistake of oversanding, leading to scratching on the surface, a problem which will ultimate result to a bigger one – the collapse of your wall.
First Signs of Problems with your Drywall
Stains and Other Markings
If you see stains or other dark markings, then that’s a tell-tale sign of water damage in your house. As soon as you notice these markings, examine the area carefully and see if you can figure out the cause. If you can’t figure it out, or if you know the root of the problem but don’t really know how to fix it, call a drywall expert for consultation so that we can resolve the problem before it gets worse.
The presence of holes, whether big or small, should unsettle any homeowner. For one, it diminishes the effectiveness of the insulation quality of drywall, leading to either an uncomfortable experience to those living in the house, or a large increase in your electricity charges. Another problem that holes pose is that they can become entry points for pests, such as mice, to enter the house. Once you have a pest problem on your hands, it’ll be much harder to resolve, and costs will skyrocket.
Sometimes, peeling is only a manifestation of the house settling. However, there are instances when this reveals a much more urgent problem. Specifically, it could be due to snug joints, or to the misfit of drywall installation done years ago. If you encounter this problem, immediately contact a drywall professional to resolve it as soon as possible.
You might notice this problem as part of your regular house inspection. Loosened joints typically point to an incorrect link between the drywall and the frame. This shouldn’t be an immediate cause of concern. Nonetheless, you also shouldn’t disregard the problem. Doing so would lead to the problem slowly getting worse up to the point that the corner of panels starts becoming detectable – an indication of loosening joints everywhere.
Molds and Mildew
Once molds and mildews are observed, an immediate assessment of the area is needed to determine the severity of the issue. Molds and mildew, which are usually caused by moisture from water damage, are an expensive issue to resolve. Molds can appear as spots in various parts of your home, and mildew can oftentimes be simply determined due to a mildew smell affecting the portion with mildew. Chlorine, and other similar bleaches are usually enough to fix a moderate molding and mildew problem.
As mentioned earlier, termites are a ravaging menace to your home. What makes it even more problematic is that signs associated with termites – like their trails – are only prominently visible when the infestation has become widespread. If you think a certain mark is a termite trail, don’t simply disregard it as a minor problem. Inspect the area very thoroughly and bring in professional help if needed. Remember, drywall isn’t the only target of termites; your whole home is at risk.
Services Offered by Drywall Companies
Installation and Alteration Services
Drywall installation isn’t limited to the actual fitting of the drywall; it also includes an inspection of the area and a consequent priming of the area, which includes cleaning. Inspecting the area gives your drywall professional an idea of how the drywall can be successfully fitted. He’ll likely take into account the dimensions of the space, and the personal preferences that you’ve relayed to him.
After inspection, the process is started by putting the accurately–cut drywall segments into place, nailing them afterwards. They are then plastered, making them ready for wallpaper installation soon after.
Drywall finishing is an extremely important service because it deals with the visible beauty of your home. The process starts after your drywall has been installed. A thick substance is placed on the joints of your drywall sheets. Afterwards, the segments are leveled to guarantee effortless painting and wallpaper application. To prevent cracking and joint relaxing, joint tape is spread over the seams. Another coating is then added, until the point that the joints and seams can’t be found on the wall surface. The last step mainly deals with sanding the wall to give it a smoother appearance, and this can easily be done by drywall finishers. Having drywall mudders mud the seams is an important step in creating a beautiful finish.
Replacement is a necessity when a damaged drywall cannot be restored anymore. Your drywall services contractor will recommend this based on his inspection of the affected area. As to the computation of the cost, only the portions that require wallboard replacement should be involved in the quote to avoid inflated costs.
Obviously, replacement entails the removal of the existing drywall. This also includes the preparation of the area before, and the disposal of leftover material after. Depending on your discussion with your drywall hanger, you may decide to prepare the are yourself to reduce costs. However, it would be best to let your contractor remove the drywall after, as this is an extremely laborious task.
It is best to obtain your services from professional painters because they know the intricacies of making a room appear flawless. Painting isn’t simply putting paint on the wall; there must also be proper room planning, and excellent preparation of the paint itself. After you’ve decided on the type and shade of paint you prefer, the professional painter will have to modify the paint to you needs. Its only after that when your painter can apply the substance on your walls, ensuring that any other surfaces or any material in the area is unaffected.
For drywall texturing, this involves smoothening the surface to give your preferred design and texture. The price of this service depends on the difficulty of the texture you want your wall to have and the total surface area where you want the texture to be applied.
Maintenance and Repair Services
This service is done to repair drywall with holes in them. Your drywall professional will likely remove a portion to ascertain the presence of other holes. If damage has reached the frames, it has to be removed and then a new sheet will be installed. To hide any sign of repair, the area can simply be sanded.
The way of computing the cost for repairing holes differ depending on the size; for small holes, you’ll likely be charged per job. However, for bigger holes, the drywall expert will likely charge you depending on the size of the area, measured by square foot. Other factors that may influence the cost is the severity of drywall damage, which might entail more time, or the use of more expensive tools and materials.
General Drywall Repair (include drywall dust cleaning)
This mainly applies to minor damages on your drywall such as scratches and dents. For example, dents on the corner bead can be easily resolved by implanting a new corner bead to replace the affected one. For scratches, your contractor can easily resolve the problem by sanding the area and spread it over with a new coating to make the surfaces appear smooth once more.
You can also avail of drywall dust removal, which basically involves the utilization of environment-friendly substances. If you’re planning on repainting your walls, then dust removal will be extremely helpful in ensuring that paint can be applied on the surfaces effortlessly.
Water Damage Repair
Repairing damage due to water build up is seen by many drywall professionals as among the most difficult and expensive of drywall maintenance services. This is because it entails the removal of large segments of the wall so that they can determine the source of the water damage. It is only after that that plumbers can go to work to fix any broken pipes. Your contractor will usually give you a number of options as to the manner that they will repair the damage. There are optional services too, fitting new wallpaper or other design-related overhauls.
Depending on the severity of the problem, managing mold infestation can either be a simple or complex task. This is why it’s extremely important to resolve the problem as soon as you notice it.
For smaller mold problems, environment-friendly chemicals are utilized by your contractor to eradicate the molds and ensure that they never get a chance to proliferate in your home again. For more complicated cases, segments of your drywall will likely have to be replaced. This is the best course of action because once a part of your drywall has been affected, it can never be repaired. Moreso, it could also lead to a house-wide problem that can affect other drywall.
To avert this problem before it takes, there are companies that offer a mold prevention program so homeowners like you won’t have to worry about molds harming both the health of your house, and its inhabitants.
This process is composed of several steps. For old surfaces, the area must be cleaned first to ensure a smooth exterior. Other imperfections like holes or scratches must also be resolved first. Afterwards, you only need to follow the steps for new surfaces.
For new surfaces, the initial step only involves the application of joint tape on the seams and the application of the substance on other parts of the wall. Afterwards, a plastic material is scattered on the wall surface to ensure that plaster won’t harm the paper lining. Then, an initial coat is applied, which must first be dried before the finish coat can be applied. The quality of the plaster is also an important factor; thick plaster will lead to rough and uneven surfaces, while watery plaster will impede its functional quality.
Your drywall installation contractor also offers wallpaper removal services. As mentioned earlier, removal of wallpaper using the wrong methods and tools can often result to damages in your drywall, such as scratches and holes. If you literally have no idea on how to make this repair, then leaving this to your drywall professional might be the best thing to do.
Drywall Removal Services
Drywall removal is usually done if the drywall has been subjected to irreparable levels of damage, or if there is a need for remodeling that would entail the removal of a wall. Drywall removal can be a complicated process because it deals with more than simply removing a piece of your home. Professionals have to make sure that other parts of your home are unaffected by the move. This include ensuring that electrical wires and plumbing systems are left undisturbed. As such, drywall removal entails meticulous planning on the part of your contractor. To aid their planning, your contractor might ask for the plans to your house, and also inspect your home before even removing the drywall.
When removed, the responsibility of discarding the drywall falls on your contractor as well. This is an extremely important task, especially when dealing with drywall that still contain asbestos and other destructive substances.
Commercial and Residential Projects
Drywall is an essential portion in almost all structures. As such, contractors – whether residential or commercial – often provide drywall installation and repair services. The only difference is how these contractors do their work. For residential projects, contractors can simply do their work based on the instructions and preferences of their clients. In the case of commercial projects, contractors may have to follow specific guidelines, depending on the regulations in their city or state. For example, high occupancy buildings might have to install fire-resistant drywall to prevent the fire from spreading too fast in any event. Residential projects aren’t blighted by the same regulations so smaller contractors might prefer working on these projects.
Drywall companies are often qualified to work on both commercial and residential projects. To be sure, ask your contractor for their license so you can verify it at your state or city contractors office.
Free Estimates and Quotes from Drywall Contractors Near You
To make sure that you’re really getting value for money, it would be best to obtain estimates and quotes from at least three contractors. Lucky for you, we can provide with FOUR free estimates or quotes to aid you in your search for your contractor!
These estimates often include the cost these contractors charge for labor, materials, and their expertise. Regardless of the difficulty of your project, we can help you get estimates. And you’re also sure that these estimates are based con competitive prices, since contractors know that they have to make their prices as reasonable as possible.
The process is so simple! Just fill out our form and we’ll match you with the most relevant, local drywall installers near you.