Monday, April 16, 2012

Drywall in modern day construction for custom home building

Modern Day Construction for custom homes Part 4

In today’s modern world of construction things are changing year to year faster than they did decade to decade in any other previous time period. In this multi part series I will traverse through an entire house starting with the foundation and working my way up to the roof and then to the finishing’s. I will explain what has changed in the last twenty years in custom home building.

One thing that you should be able to take away from this is how important it is to not just hire the right general contractor to build your custom home but how important it is to hire one that is up on today’s building methods.

Here are some changes that have come along in the last 20 years alone;


Twenty years ago standard drywall made from gyprock was applied on all the walls in the house, other than thickness of the drywall (ceiling board vs. wall board) there wasn’t really any difference in the material. The corner beads were all made of metal and there were only a couple of standard corners to choice from, with the square corner being the most popular. In bathrooms you used cement board for anywhere they were going to install tile. The installation of drywall was a mix of drywall nails and drywall screws.
Today there is almost different drywall depending on the type and use of the room. The drywall in the normal walls and ceilings hasn’t changed much and the application to install it is pretty much the same with everyone using screws now all the time instead of nails. Here are some of the new things products that drywallers are using;

If they are drywalling a bathroom, or any room that you think there will be added moisture with little ventilation then they are using a moisture resistant board that is mold and mildew resistant. This product has a different material on its surfaces then the standard paper skin, it is a vinyl product that doesn’t allow mold to form and grow on its surface. It is also used in damp places like open garages, or crawl spaces. Cement board is heavy to carry and needs a grinder to cut it. Now they use a type of cement board that is made with foam particles that cut the weight of the sheet in ½ and allow you to cut it with a knife. The cement board is used in areas where there will be tile like in a shower or cultured/natural stone around fireplaces. Cement board resists screws pops and shrinkage of the wood framing, this helps protect the tile or stone that has been installed on top of it from popping off over time.

Corners are now made of a plastic material that does not rust and are more resistant to being dented. There is also such a wide variety of corners that it can be hard to choose the one you want. There are still square corners, but the most popular corner is now a rounded corner which comes in several different sizes.

Drywallers are now doing a lot more detail work than ever before. With the invention of foam mouldings, drywallers are now installing ceiling details like crown and other trims. The advantages of foam mouldings are that they do not shrink and expand like wood mouldings do.  As long as you want painted mouldings you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between foam and wood mouldings. Foam mouldings can be easily installed on a rounded corner or on a barrel ceiling. There is basically no shape that they cannot form foam mouldings too. Drywall is used now to help liven up ceilings. With the new mouldings they can make patterns on the ceilings that help give a home a more dramatic feel.

Barrel ceilings are a big craze in today’s custom homes. A barrel ceiling is a ceiling that is shaped like the inside of a barrel. It is basically shaped like a barrel that has been chopped in half. Mouldings are added to give the barrel ceiling detail and pot lights help illuminate the area. Barrels are usually installed at entrances to help give visitors the impression of grandness; it also helps define the entrance space without the need for walls. Barrels are created by first building a steel frame out of “drywall track” in the shape of the barrel that you desire. Then multiple layers of ¼” drywall are installed over top of each other attached to the steel framing. Then the whole barrel including seams, screws and corners inside and out are coated with mud and tape. They are then sanded and recoated over and over again until the barrel looks like a perfect ½ circle.

Bulk heads and drywall figures are now a standard in almost any room in the house. No longer are they just installed where visitors will see them, they are used to help make bedrooms feel comfy and give hallways some definition depending on if you are trying to make the hallway look longer or shorter than it actually is.

When it comes to trying to deaden sound inside a home; drywallers have many more tools and products that help give them an advantage that they never had before. They not only install Roxall between the walls but they also install metal track that has rubberized bumpers to help absorb sound so that it doesn’t transfer to the next room or the next floor. This sound deadening technology has become so good that they can now build movie theatres inside homes that are so sound isolating that no matter what the sound level in the room, there is no transfer of vibration and sound to the rest of the house. You can be standing on the other side of the door and have no idea that someone is inside watching a movie at full volume.
Drywall has come so far in twenty years. The options have increased on what a drywaller can do in your home. A great drywalling job can make your new custom home look amazing, but a poor one can make the home feel cheap and poorly constructed. It is important with all the new products and techniques out there that when you are looking to hire a general contractor you find out how good their drywaller  is and what he’s reputation is around the area. This should be one of the big deciding factors when picking a builder.

Look for part 5 coming soon...

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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