How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?
Watching how drywall is made may sound akin to watching paint dry, but let me tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth! It is a very cool process to observe! Plus, I’m about to rock your world by sharing how Purple drywall can change your home for the better. Last month I had the honor of touring one of the National Gypsum manufacturing plants to learn about Purple drywall and how drywall is manufactured. After the experience, I have a whole new appreciation for drywall.
This is a sponsored post for Ask For Purple, a National Gypsum line of products.
I never thought about how drywall is manufactured, and I bet you never did either. But, now that I know, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve watched being made. Drywall starts with a natural product called gypsum.
Some gypsum is harvested from quarries, but a large portion is actually a by product from coal burning power plants. Instead of the by product being discarded, National Gypsum uses it in drywall. This is just one way National Gypsum thinks green. They have been using recycled paper for their products since the 1960’s! And there is one more way National Gypsum is working to protect the planet. National Gypsum has developed Purple drywall that is moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. This means less water and mold damage in homes keeping construction debris from landfills. In addition, within the line of Purple drywall products, are sheets that stand up to abuse and impact. This means any home that installs Purple drywall products may never have to replace the drywall. You’ll definitely want to read more about this revolutionary product further down the page. But, first, back to how drywall is made.
The rock you see above is gypsum rock. When crushed it turns into a powder. The powder is mixed with water, starch and …
… tiny fiberglass fibers to improve the strength of the core. In the old days, horse hair was used as a strengthener in plaster and other products.
This slurry is pumped out onto a giant conveyor belt where it is sandwiched between two sheets. During the tour, we were handed a fresh cup of slurry as it was pumped out onto the drywall paper. As we walked along the super long conveyor belt, the slurry heated up and solidified within two minutes. (If you’ve ever used plaster of paris, it hardens through a similar chemical reaction.) Once the gypsum is hardened enough, the sheets are flipped over (wall side up to prevent damage) as they head into the heated dryers to fully dry for about 45 minutes.
After the sheets dry and harden, they continue on a series of conveyors until they are eventually cut to final size and banded together with a second sheet of drywall. The finished sheets are stacked up until the stack is complete. Several forklifts run a non-stop choreographed dance back and forth picking up the stacks of drywall and delivering them for storage or shipping. It was a sight to see!
I didn’t take any videos and photos inside the plant, but you can view this How It’s Made video showing the manufacturing process for making drywall.
In the video, you get a feel for the magnitude of the equipment, but I bet you didn’t realize the plant is a mile long! The most incredible thing about the plant tour is how few people work at one time. Less than 15 people work on the floor at a time! Remember when I said the plant was a mile long? The size of the plant and the number of people working in it seems disproportionate. It was impressive to watch the entire process.
What’s with that Purple Drywall?
I’m sure you’ve noticed that stack of purple drywall at your local home improvement store. In the past, I looked at it, then reached for the less expensive sheets thinking they were the same. Boy was I wrong! After learning about the difference between Purple XP® drywall and regular, I will be choosing Purple from now on. Why?
In one picture, this is why:
Those black spots on the floor, ceiling, and drywall are black mold. If it was just on the linoleum, it could be cleaned. Once mold grows in drywall the only remedy is to remove and trash it. I don’t even want to think about how many tons of drywall waste goes into the landfill because it got wet or grew mold.
There is a solution to the problem: Purple XP® drywall products! They are moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. It makes sense to spend a few extra dollars to insure your walls will last longer and won’t secretly harbor allergens or harmful mold.
Did you know regular drywall begins growing mold and mildew within 24 hours of water exposure. The Purple drywall will resist moisture and prevent mold growth. I really wish I had known about Purple drywall when we had our kitchen leak. Had I learned about Purple drywall before that experience I would have insisted on Purple for the new drywall installed in the kitchen and laundry room.
Luckily we learn from our mistakes and I’ll be ordering a fair amount of Purple drywall for Etta (in full disclosure, National Gypsum will supply a portion of the drywall for my project as a Saving Etta sponsor.)
Moisture, mold, and mildew-resistance only scratches the surface (pun intended). What if I told you there was a drywall that resists dings, scratches, and daily abuse?
What you see above is the Hi-Abuse XP® drywall after being put to the test on a wire abrasion machine. The same machine dug deep into the traditional drywall. Amazing, right! This is a game changer for those of us living with little wall destroying monsters (I mean lovable children.)
For those larger wall destroying monsters (think teenagers, college students, and frat houses), there’s a drywall for them too! Wall-punching party animals meet Hi-Impact XP®!
The Hi-Impact XP drywall has webbing integrated into the drywall sheets that holds firm against just about anything. This is a game changer for many locations. Think about gyms, ski lodges, garages, and more. Any space that gets daily abuse can benefit from this wall board.
The folks at National Gypsum showed us a test where they released a 150 lb. dead weight against the Hi-Impact XP. The drywall cracked, but the weighted hammer could not break through. Anyone who has patched holes in drywall can tell you it’s a lot easier to repair a dent in drywall than a hole.
Finally, I’m super amped (another pun intended) to introduce you to SoundBreak XP! This is the drywall I wish they had when I lived in an old Philadelphia apartment building where I could hear every word spoken in the next apartment. In the summer I used to go nuts listening to the whomp, whomp, whomp sounds of an unbalanced ceiling fan in the next room as I tried to fall asleep. To everyone who ever wanted to reach through a wall and strangle your neighbor, I introduce to you SoundBreak XP®:
See those two layers? There is a viscoelastic membrane that separates the two and does an amazing job at blocking noise.
For those of you that are near tears right now because you don’t want to replace your drywall, dry those eyes. Here’s your hero:
SoundBreak XP Retrofit® is designed to be added on top of your existing walls. At only 5/16″ thick, it’s easy to secure to your existing drywall (after removing switch and outlet covers) and reduce noise immediately. I would have invested in this product for certain back in my apartment dwelling days.
I hope you learned more about Purple drywall and have the information to make informed choices during your next remodel or if you are investing in a new house. By the way, should you need help figuring out how much drywall you’ll need for that project, the AskForPURPLE site has a Material calculator to help you figure out how much drywall you need.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for National Gypsum and Ask for Purple. I was compensated for my time and travel. I was not told what to say, all opinions are my own. As always I only work with brands that I would use myself.
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