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How Do I Choose the Right Drywall Thickness?

Drywall is available in several sizes and thicknesses.
Drywall that is a half inch thick is commonly used in residential construction.
A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a wall.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2014
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Drywall is only gypsum covered with paper, but it can be found in almost every home, office, or store. Selecting the correct drywall thickness is one of the most important decisions that must be made before actually purchasing it. In addition, it is important to know the local building codes when designing a new construction or planning a remodeling project, as some codes specify how thick the drywall must be. Thin panels are light and flexible, but also easy to break. Thicker panels are most appropriate for walls and ceilings.

Drywall can be found in several thicknesses: 0.25-inch (6.35 mm), 0.375-inch (9.52 mm), 0.5-inch (12.7 mm), and 0.625-inch (15.9 mm). The 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) and 0.625-inch (15.9 mm) are the most common of the four. Each thickness has its own unique application based on a variety of factors.

Drywall that is 0.25-inch (6.35 mm) thick is the most economical. It is available in 8-foot (2.4 m) and 10-foot (3.0 m) panels and only weighs about 38 pounds (17.2 kg). It is most often used for curved walls, and it can be used to provide a new surface over plaster, as well. Because they are so thin, these drywall panels should be handled with care. They can easily bend or whip, similar to sheet metal, but the motion will cause them to break into pieces.

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If drywall that's 0.375-inch (9.52 mm) thick is in the plans, several important factors must be considered for it, as well. It is available in several lengths: 8-foot (2.4 m), 9-foot (2.7 m), 10-foot (3.0 m), 12-foot (3.7 m), and 14-foot (4.3 m) and weighs about 45 pounds (20.4 m) for an 8-foot (2.4 m) panel. It is the perfect thickness for remodeling partitions. It is also used for patching or fixing areas of drywall where plaster has fallen off or been removed, especially if the wall is so damaged that spackling cannot repair it.

One of most popular drywall thicknesses, 0.5-inch (12.7 mm), comes in many different panel lengths: 8-foot (2.4 m), 9-foot (2.7 m), 10-foot (3.0 m), 12-foot (3.7 m), 14-foot (4.3 m), and 16-foot (4.9 m). It is commonly used for both walls and ceilings and is considered standard for most residential homes. In addition, it can be used with both wood and steel frames.

Another popular thickness of drywall is 0.625-inch (15.9 mm), and this type is especially common in commercial construction projects. There are several options for panel lengths: 8-foot (2.4 m), 9-foot (2.7 m), 10-foot (3.0 m), 12-foot (3.7 m), and 14-foot (4.3 m). It is also called firewall drywall and can be hung on the walls and on the ceilings. Because it is so thick, it provides extra soundproofing in busy buildings, and it will not sag. It is not used in residential homes because it is quite expensive and much heavier than the other options.

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DFMeyers
Post 2

@anon88417- When my husband was installing drywall for my home office, he used 5/8' thick drywall. We were building our home from the ground up, so I asked him to make my office sound proof.

He said he put 5/8' on the ceiling and the walls for my office. I work as a customer service rep from home, and no customers have ever complained of hearing noise on the phone. I am very happy with how my office turned out.

anon88417
Post 1

5/8" drywall is used residentially, usually for ceilings. 5/8" on ceilings, 1/2 on walls.

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