7 Types of Sheetrock Explained

A room under construction with bare, sheetrock walls.

If you are a homeowner who is planning to do some remodeling, chances are that you will be installing or replacing some sheetrock. Before you begin your project, you should explore the various types of sheetrock that are available since the type you use will depend on the room you will be working on and the qualities you want the sheetrock to have. The panels usually come in 4x8-foot pieces, but other sizes are available, such as smaller two foot pieces sold for patching. They offer two types of edge: a square edge, used most commonly on walls, and a tapered edge that is more commonly used on ceilings. Here is a breakdown of the various types and their uses.

1. Wallboard/Baseboard

This type of sheetrock is the basic kind. It is some of the lightest and is most often used on ceilings. It normally comes in ½-inch to 3/8-inch thickness and is adequate for most walls in a room.

2. Water-resistant

Rooms that have high humidity, like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms should have water resistant sheetrock. This material isn’t waterproof or mold-proof, but it can withstand more moisture than normal. Standard sheetrock is also prone to warp in high humidity rooms, but the water-resistant kind will not. It is sometimes referred to as greenboard or blueboard sheetrock because of its blue or green backing.

3. Fire Retardant or Fire-resistant

This type of sheetrock is considered non-combustible. This means it is made to withstand flames for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on its thickness. It is often used in hotels and apartments to keep fire from easily spreading from one unit to another so that it can be doused before the entire building goes up. It is also used in furnace rooms, kitchens, and attached garages. It is the most expensive kind of sheetrock, and the most effective width is the 5/8-inch panels. It will usually be marked “fire retardant."

4. Insulated

Insulated sheetrock is for rooms that have poor insulation and do not retain heat. They have a strong polyfoam type core, but they are just as easy to cut as regular sheetrock. They can also be useful in areas with extreme changes in humidity, as they are guaranteed not to warp.

5. Abuse-resistant

This type of sheetrock is ideal for playrooms, high-traffic areas like hallways, basements, and garages. They are normally ½ to 5/8-inch thickness and have an extra durable paper covering as well as a reinforced core to withstand impact better than other types.

6. Cement Board

Cement board sheetrock is made from thin sheets of cement with layers of polymer-coated, glass fiber mesh on either side. It is often used in kitchens and bathrooms as the backing for tiling, but it is also used as an underlayment for slate and quarry tile. This sheetrock also provides a level of water resistance, and some is even listed to be used as floor protectors and wall shields in rooms with exposed wood stoves and heaters.

7. Fiberglass

Fiberglass sheetrock is made from a moisture-resistant gypsum core that is lined on both sides with fiberglass. It is actually more resistant to water and mold than typical water-resistant sheetrock and is very easy to work with, making it one of the most popular types in use.