For constructing walls, drywall and plywood are two of the most commonly used primary materials. Both drywall and plywood are inexpensive and budget-friendly. This is because they are made of composite materials and can be made fairly quickly. Below, we will see the pros and cons of drywall vs plywood to help you choose the right material for your home.
Pros and Cons of Drywall
Drywall is composed primarily of dried gypsum that is mixed with crystallized water. They are mixed together and then sandwiched between two large sheets of sturdy, durable paper. The biggest advantage of using drywall vs plywood is the superior fire resistance. It is not easily flammable, making it one of the safer wall finishes for home applications. Also, don’t forget to check our previous post: Hardboard vs Plywood.
In California, every home is required to cover the studs with walls of a one-hour fire rating. This is typically equivalent to a 5/8-inch sheet of fire-rated drywall. Most plywood products cannot meet this requirement. Even if the law in your city does not specifically require fire-rated walls, you may want to use drywall for increased protection and safety in the event of a fire hazard.
The next advantage of drywall is the aesthetic appeal. Drywall products usually come with smooth, ready-to-paint surfaces. You can give it a clear topcoat for a sleek and warm decorative effect, or be more creative as there are plenty options for texturing. Knock-down and orange peel textures are very popular.
However, in terms of structural strength, drywall is inferior compared to plywood. Drywall does not have good structural strength. If you want to hang a heavy object on the wall, you will have to first locate the wood stud, and then drill through the drywall into the wood stood to ensure sufficient support. In addition, drywall is more vulnerable to damage from impacts and sharp objects.
Drywall can be quite heavy. As the effect, it is more difficult and time-consuming to install. Installing drywall may require two people just because of the weight. The process involves taping, applying some joint compound, and sanding.
Pros and Cons of Plywood
On the other hand, plywood is made of several sheets of composite wood that are compressed together to create a large, strong sheet. The biggest advantage of using plywood is the great structural strength. It has very good structural strength that it can support most objects without requiring you to locate and drill into the stud. It is especially useful for the walls of garages and storage spaces, where people usually hang tools and items. It is also more resistant to impacts and scratches.
The next advantage of using plywood is the ease of installation. It is lightweight, so a single person is usually sufficient to handle the job. The process is also easier because it does not need any taping or joint compound. You just need to add some caulking on the seams between the boards.
If you love the look of natural wood grains, plywood is great for you. Plywood displays real wood grain patterns that add a warm touch to the living space. However, the weakness of plywood is that it is not fire-resistant. It can be consumed quickly by fire.
When fire resistance is needed, drywall is the way to go. A 5/8-inch plywood sheet has decent fire resistance that usually meets the requirement. Drywall also has paintable and workable surfaces so that you can be creative with the finish. However, you may want to choose plywood if structural strength is more needed, or if you love the natural wood grains.