Are Drywall and Sheetrock the Same? Here's What You Need to Know (2024)

Drywall wallboard is offered by several manufacturers, under many brand names. One brand name stands out: Sheetrock. Noted for its high quality, Sheetrock is the oldest brand of drywall.

There are more similarities than differences between Sheetrock and other types of drywall. The differences between Sheetrock and other drywall products are slight and tend to boil down to price, product selection, and quality.

Differences Between Drywall and Sheetrock


  • Generic name

  • Several companies

  • Slightly less expensive

  • May not use recaptured gypsum

  • Made internationally

  • Varying quality

What Is Drywall?

Drywall is wallboard for home interiors that is attached to ceilings and walls.

Drywall is a broad product category that includes five or six prominent U.S. names: ToughRock, Gold Bond, ClassicRock, Certainteed Gypsum Board, QuietRock, and Sheetrock.

Drywall panels have a fire-resistant (but not fireproof) core made of gypsum and additives. The two long sides (8-, 10, or 12-foot) are edge-wrapped with paper. The two short sides (usually 4 feet) are not wrapped.

What Is Sheetrock?

Sheetrock is drywall. USG (United States Gypsum), the manufacturer of Sheetrock, refers to its product as drywall, drywall panels, and wallboard.

USG offers about 38 Sheetrock product lines, including regular drywall panels, lightweight drywall panels, fire-resistant panels, and mold-resistant panels.

Gypsum is a mineral that is mined from the earth. However, some of USG's gypsum is recaptured gypsum that is derived by flue gas desulfurization (FGD). Recaptured gypsum is the same as mined gypsum in terms of drywall production.

Makers and Brands of Drywall

  • American Gypsum Company ClassicRoc: AGC's ClassicRoc is wrapped with 100-percent recycled paper.
  • Certainteed Gypsum Board: Known primarily as a manufacturer of exterior building products, Certainteed also produces the drywall brand CertainTeed Regular Gypsum Board.
  • Georgia-Pacific ToughRock: ToughRock is the brand most comparable to Sheetrock in terms of product variety.
  • Gold Bond: Gold Bond is produced by National Gypsum Services Company's drywall division, Gold Bond Building Products.
  • Pabco QuietRock: QuietRock is sound-dampening gypsum drywall.
  • USG Sheetrock: Founded in 1902, USG has been producing Sheetrock drywall for over a century.

Drywall and Sheetrock Types and Sizes

All prominent drywall manufacturers, including USG Sheetrock, produce 4-foot-wide by 8-foot-long, 1/2- and 5/8-inch drywall sheets—drywall dimensions most commonly used in home building.


  • 1/2-inch drywall: Half-inch drywall is used all throughout the house on walls.
  • 5/8-inch-thick drywall: This slightly thicker drywall, sometimes called Type X, is used on ceilings or in areas like furnace rooms where fire retarding materials are required by code.
  • 1/4-inch drywall: Less commonly used, quarter-inch drywall is a flexible panel for curved walls and archways.


Though 1/4-inch-thick drywall has half of the materials of 1/2-inch drywall, it costs as much or even more than 1/2-inch drywall.


The most common width of drywall is 48 inches. While not usually found in stock, it's possible to order 54-inch-wide drywall, as well.


Drywall lengths are designed to span multiples of 16 inches. Sixteen inches is the width between two wall studs. Accordingly, drywall is most usually sold in 8-foot and 12-foot lengths.


Twelve-foot sheets of drywall usually aren't cheaper than 8-foot sheets on a square-foot basis. You may even pay slightly more. The benefits of longer sheets are fewer seams for a faster installation and a more finished look.

Edge Profiles

  • Tapered Edge: Tapers on the long sides meet to form a V-shaped void that is taped and filled with joint compound for invisible joints.
  • Square Edge: On the short sides, 90-degree or square edges meet to form a butt joint.

Drywall vs. Sheetrock Costs

Sheetrock costs slightly more than drywall brands of comparable quality.

Sheetrock costs about $16 to $17 per 1/2-inch 4-by-8 sheet, or around $0.50 to $0.55 per square foot but note that prices fluctuate. Other brands of drywall like Toughrock and Georgia Pacific Gypsum Board cost a few cents less per square foot. However, Sheetrock and other drywall prices often vary significantly by location and market factors.

For small jobs that require six to eight sheets of drywall, a few pennies per square foot won't make much of a difference in the overall project cost. When many sheets of drywall are needed, though, the cost difference is apparent.

BrandCost Per SheetCost Per Square FootCost for 2,400 Sq. Ft.
Georgia Pacific Gypsum Board$13.52$0.42$1,014

How to Save Money on Drywall and Sheetrock

  • Buy in volume: Retailers may offer discounts of $1 to $3 for bulk purchases of drywall in quantities of 50, 60, or more.
  • Avoid extra features: Mold-resistant drywall and ultralight drywall have their advantages. But if you're looking to save money, go with regular drywall panels if your project specifications allow.
  • Look at local distributors: Lumberyards may offer better prices on drywall than home centers or hardware stores.
  • Buy overseas:Overseas gypsum board is typically metrically sized. It's not uncommon to find overseas gypsum priced four to five times less than domestic gypsum board. Shipping prices, while high, can often be negotiated.

History of Drywall and Sheetrock

Sheetrock is close to being the world's first brand of drywall. But the distinction goes to a product called Sackett Board, patented in 1894.

The inventor Augustine Sackett soon partnered with USG, though. USG sold Sackett Board under the name Adamant Panel Board. A USG sales representative named D.L. Hunter suggested a different, catchier name: Sheetrock.

Sheetrock captured two aspects of the product that appealed to commercial plasterers of the time: plaster was applied wet on site over horizontal wood lath slats, and the plaster took days to dry out. Multiple layers were required to achieve a smooth finish.

Sheetrock moved all of that work to a factory. By the time Sheetrock shipped out, it was already dry and ready to install. Not only that but it was sturdy enough to install straight onto the wall studs, no lath required.

The Sheetrock of 1919 is similar to the Sheetrock of today: a hard gypsum core wrapped in two sheets of aluminized paper, the long edges folded to prevent the gypsum from crumbling.

Over 60 million square feet of Sheetrock was used by the U.S. government during World War I. Drywall or drywalling, terms that traditionally referred to building permanent stone walls without the aid of mortar or cement, finally began to be applied to Sheetrock work in the 1930s.


  • Why is it called Sheetrock?

    Sheetrock's name means that the product is an interior wall covering in the form of a sheet and it is made of gypsum, a mineral or rock. The name was coined in 1917 by D.L. Hunter. He suggested the name as an easier-to-remember alternative to Adamant Panel Board.

  • Why isn't all drywall Sheetrock?

    All Sheetrock is drywall. Not all drywall is Sheetrock because there are many other brands such as Gold Bond, CertainTeed Regular Gypsum, and Toughrock.

  • What kind of drywall should you use on walls?

    Use 1/2-inch-thick drywall or Sheetrock on walls. Drywall installed on walls is generally 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, but 12-foot lengths are available, too.

Butt vs Tapered Drywall Joints: Which Is Best?

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Air Pollution Control Technology Fact Sheet. U.S. EPA.

  2. Drywall. Home Depot.

  3. Drywall. R.P. Lumber.

  4. Drywall. Lowe's.

  5. Augustine Sackett. The Sackett Family Association.

  6. The Origins Of USG Sheetrock Brand. USG.

  7. Birmingham Post-Herald, December 7, 1919

  8. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 2, 1939

  9. Freeport Journal-Standard. November 3, 1924

Are Drywall and Sheetrock the Same? Here's What You Need to Know (2024)


Are Drywall and Sheetrock the Same? Here's What You Need to Know? ›

Drywall is a construction material used to cover the framing of interior walls and ceilings. Sheetrock is a type of drywall and is a trusted brand. Sheetrock tends to be higher in quality, so it's usually costlier than other types of drywall.

Are sheetrock and drywall the same thing? ›

Sheetrock is actually one brand of drywall, and it's made by the U.S. Gypsum Company (USG). It was created in the early 1900s, so it's become synonymous with the word drywall. Drywall is also called wallboard, gypsum board or plasterboard.

What is the proper term for sheetrock or drywall? ›

Drywall is a panel made of gypsum plaster sandwiched between thick paper. It is used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings as a replacement for the traditional lath and plaster method. Other names for drywall panels are plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, gyprock, and Sheetrock.

Is ceiling drywall different from wall drywall? ›

It varies in thickness:

Know that drywall comes in various sizes and thicknesses according to its use. The one notable difference between ceiling and regular drywall lies in how thick they are. Know that your roof will require more density to meet its needs.

What's the difference between gypsum board and drywall? ›

Drywall is a popular building material made from gypsum that is used to form the flat surfaces of walls and ceilings in most modern homes. Also known as wallboard, plasterboard, gypsum board, or Sheetrock (a popular brand name by U.S. Gypsum Corporation), drywall is a convenient alternative to plaster.

What is the old name for drywall? ›

Before it was drywall, it was originally referred to as Sackett Board after the Sackett Plaster Company, a subsidiary company of U.S. Gypsum Company. The United States Gypsum Co., known today as USG, was created in 1901 with the merger of 30 national and regional gypsum companies.

What else is sheetrock called? ›

Drywall (also called plasterboard, dry lining, wallboard, sheet rock, gib board, gypsum board, buster board, turtles board, slap board, custard board, and gypsum panel) is a panel made of calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum), with or without additives, typically extruded between thick sheets of facer and backer paper, ...

What is a fancy name for drywall? ›

Gypsum board: The generic name for a family of panel products that consist of a noncombustible core, composed primarily of gypsum, and a paper facer on the front, back and long edges. Also called “drywall” or “wallboard.” Joint: Where two panels of drywall come together.

What goes over drywall? ›

The process of finishing drywall involves taping and mudding all the seams and screw holes produced when the drywall was installed. Taping over the seams between panels with paper or fiberglass tape and then finishing the seams and holes with drywall taping compound smooths the surface for primer and paint.

Is Sheetrock waterproof? ›

Drywall waterproofing is mostly a myth. While there are some drywall types that are more water resistant than others and the performance of drywall can be improved with surface coatings in damp environments, drywall itself can never truly be 100% waterproof.

Do you start drywall ceiling or walls first? ›

Hang the Ceiling First

This makes it much easier to manage and attach the panels since you will not have to fumble around with the screws, measuring tape, and so on. Screws for drywall lids should be placed no closer than 16” from the wall. This allows the drywall to have a bit of flexibility to prevent ceiling cracks.

Is 1/2-inch drywall ok for a ceiling? ›

Regular 1/2-inch drywall has always been approved for use on 24-inch spacing on ceiling framing, but because of heavy sagging insulation, wet ceiling textures, or higher humidity, either a 1/2-inch ceiling board or 5/8-inch drywall was usually the best choice.

How thick should sheetrock be for a ceiling? ›

5/8 inch (15.9mm)

5/8-inch drywall is generally reserved for use on ceilings and in commercial construction jobs.

Which is better, drywall or Sheetrock? ›

Drywall is a construction material used to cover the framing of interior walls and ceilings. Sheetrock is a type of drywall and is a trusted brand. Sheetrock tends to be higher in quality, so it's usually costlier than other types of drywall.

What is purple drywall used for? ›

Provide extra protection

PURPLE® XP® is a specially treated, mold- and fire-resistant paper-faced gypsum board that provides Xtra Protection (XP) against mold and mildew compared to standard gypsum board.

What is the best drywall to use? ›

Moisture-and-mold resistant drywall is best used for interior walls, especially in areas like kitchens, bathrooms or basem*nts. The best drywall boards for these areas have moisture-resistant cores that prevent water and moisture intrusion from seeping into the board itself.

Is sheetrock waterproof? ›

Drywall waterproofing is mostly a myth. While there are some drywall types that are more water resistant than others and the performance of drywall can be improved with surface coatings in damp environments, drywall itself can never truly be 100% waterproof.

Can you paint sheetrock? ›

Before you paint your drywall, you need to apply a coat of primer to ensure that your paint will go on smooth and remain adhered to the surface of your wall for a long time without peeling. Before applying your primer, take a black cloth and go over the surface to make sure no dust is left behind.

Can you use regular drywall in bathroom? ›

Regular drywall is not recommended in bathrooms as it can easily absorb this moisture and mold or even disintegrate. Instead, bathroom walls should be constructed from drywall that is resistant to mold, mildew, and moisture. The best product to use for bathroom walls is MMR drywall, also known as green board.

How do you know if you have sheetrock? ›

A pushpin test is what some experts do to find out what wall they're working with quickly. Take a pushpin and press it on the wall using your thumb. If the pin pokes into the wall easily, that's drywall. If it doesn't, then that's plaster.


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