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How can a gyprock specialist help me?

Gyprock or gypsum specialists are the experts who can transform the interior of buildings through the erection of semi-permanent walls and ceilings, or be tasked with disguising old, uneven or unattractive wall surfaces with gypsum board, also known as drywall or plasterboard. These are the people you call in when you need structural changes to interior spaces, such as the creation of shop interiors or office spaces or even the temporary division within residential spaces – for instance, creating a work-from-home office or dividing a shared bedroom - but do not want these changes to be necessarily permanent. Partitioning can be either full-height or any specified lower height, and may incorporate glass windows or panels very easily, as well as doors. Drywalling is cost-effective, efficient, offers a form of sound-proofing and thermal insulation, and is quicker to erect than a traditional brick-and-plaster wall.

What exactly is gyprock?

Gyprock - or gypsum - is an extremely useful naturally occurring mineral found in sedimentary rock formations which has many different applications in the building, construction, medical and agricultural spheres. It can be very effectively used in building and construction work, is a natural source of sulphur which is a widely-used fertiliser, and dehydrated gypsum is used in the medical field for creating the strong but lightweight plaster casts which hold broken bones in place during the healing process. It is widely mined and is used as the main ingredient in various types of plaster, blackboard chalk and drywall. Alabaster, which is a fine-grained white or pale variety of gypsum, has been used globally as a medium for sculptures for thousands of years. Gypsum also crystallises as translucent crystals of selenite, which is also known as satin spar, desert rose or gypsum flower.

Gyprock, in the building and construction industry, is known by more than one name. It is variously known as gyprock, gypsum board, sheetrock, drywall or plasterboard. Gypsum board generically refers to the interior boards composed of compacted gypsum plaster and two different paper types - facer and backer paper. All these terms refer to a gypsum plaster mix sandwiched between heavy paper layers. It is not a new invention, as plaster made from lime, sand, animal hair and various other ingredients has been used for thousands of years to create a smooth interior finish to building walls and ceilings. It has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs as well as in old Roman buildings. These days, the plaster is made with finely ground gypsum crystal (used as an accelerator) mixed with fibre (paper or fibreglass or a mixture of both), plasticiser, foaming agent, starch (to act as a retarder), a wax emulsion to lower water absorption and various additives intended to reduce mildew and flammability. Gypsum is not used for exterior use as it dissolves over time in water.

What are the pros and cons of drywalling?

  • In terms of speed, in America it is estimated that an entire house can be drywalled in one or two days by two experienced drywallers. The seams between adjacent drywall sheets are concealed with ‘joint tape’ and a few layers of ‘joint compound’ (sometimes referred to as ‘mud’), usually spread with a putty knife, then sanded smooth before painting. Any screw holes or defects are also treated with this compound, thereby ensuring a smooth finish overall for painting.
  • Gypsum board has the advantage of being able to provide a measure of soundproofing in walls and ceilings, but this is really only effective when thicker sheets of drywall are used.
  • Drywalling is comparatively lightweight yet provides a strong barrier which is fairly impact-resistant, although hard knocks will damage the surface and even crack or produce holes.
  • Drywalling, even when treated, is prone to mould and water damage through any continuous exposure to high moisture levels. This is why it is not used on exterior walls. Gypsum will soften with exposure to moisture, and prolonged immersion in water will reduce it to a soft paste. Gypsum board is necessarily porous to reduce weight, which has the disadvantage of allowing water to easily reach the core through capillary action, and mould can then take hold. If ceiling boards are exposed to water through a burst geyser or a roof leak, the whole section will have to be replaced. Because drywall is placed in sections, it may well be possible to have to replace only those sections directly affected by the water and not the whole ceiling, thereby being more cost-effective.
  • Gypsum board offers what is called ‘passive fire protection’ for a crucial period during a fire. Since gypsum contains chemically combined water (approx 50%), gypsum panels which are exposed to fire absorb heat as a portion of this combined water converts to steam, a process which is called calcination. Heat transfer is therefore retarded and absorbed for a period of time until there is no crystalline water left or until the panels are breached.
  • Gypsum board can be painted or wallpapered just like a normal brick-plastered wall, so any additions or alterations can be painted to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding walls.
    There is now a substitute called Fibre Cement Board which offers moisture resistance, superior levels of strength and high quality. These boards are recommended for areas where high moisture levels are the norm, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Because of their impact-resistant superiority and superior thermal insulation properties over gypsum boards, Fibre Cement Boards are suitable for corridors, control rooms, commercial kitchens and car parks and where extremes in climate can be expected.

How to find the right gyprock specialist for your needs

Check their online ratings and customer reviews

Gyprock specialists may often be found by making enquiries through construction and building companies or shopfitting companies who will often have their own preferred suppliers. They may also advertise in home improvement magazines and catalogues, through architectural publications, in the Yellow Pages and through flyers. You can also find them by visiting Home Expos. They are also taking advantage of online advertising, and many have their own websites showcasing their previous projects and capabilities. If searching online, one of the fastest ways of finding these specialists is through online search sites such as Uptasker. Uptasker is quick and efficient in that it allows you to check online ratings and customer reviews, as well as providing listings in your own specific area. Where there are websites, Uptasker provides ‘one-click’ links and will allow you to compare quotes from different sites, all from the comfort of your chair. If possible, try and use word of mouth referrals, as you can be sure of a good end result and service delivery and follow-up in case of problems.




Top gyprock specialist tips

Top gyprock specialist tips

If you are renting a house and cannot make permanent changes to the interior to suit your family’s needs, or if you are faced with a large open commercial space which you need to convert into offices and public areas, or even have a factory which needs a little help in the way of wall and ceiling soundproofing and insulation, look no further than your local gyprock specialist to provide a suitable solution to your needs. No matter if your needs are fluid and apt to change over the years, a qualified gyprock specialist will come up with efficient and cost-effective solutions to meet your requirements. Just take the time to explain what you need and any possible future changes, and then listen to his advice and make it happen! For more tips, see our gyprock/gypsum specialist articles and blog.


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