Does Drywall Bend or Break?

Drywall is a very common component in homes today. It is often used to finish off either walls or ceilings, but due to the practical application of paint and wallpaper, you might not even know it was there.

But does drywall bend or break?

The short answer to both is yes. We can explore this question a bit further to get a better understanding of what drywall is, how it’s used, and how to best apply it to our projects.

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a lightweight material also referred to as wallboard. It comes in large, flat panels that are made of gypsum plaster. The boards are covered on both sides with sheets of thick paper.

Drywall is used in construction projects to complete walls and ceilings. The material is easy to drill through, so construction specialists and home improvement hobbyists can attach it to studs to solid surfaces.

Hanging drywall requires several different specialty products, including drywall tape, a joint compound, drywall screws, and spackles.

What is Drywall?

What Causes Drywall to Break?

Drywall boards are quite brittle and fragile. Even the thickest type of drywall will be less than one inch thick, making it very easy to break. Something as simple as bumping a piece of furniture or a swift, angry punch can put a hole in the wallboard.

Additionally, drywall is very susceptible to moisture. When drywall comes into contact with water or other liquids, it absorbs it. This can cause the drywall to bend and sag. Moisture can eventually cause a wall or ceiling to cave in and collapse.

Plus, the presence of moisture on drywall can increase the risk of mold and mildew in your home.

In general, contact with moisture is a bad thing for drywall. Things like leaky pipes and dripping air conditioners can quickly cause significant problems in homes and businesses alike.

How To Bend Drywall Without Breaking It

While it’s crucial to keep your walls and ceiling moisture-free, a little bit of water can help with some drywall projects.

As we mentioned above, drywall will flex and sag when it gets wet. If it’s installed into your home, this is a bad thing. But if you’re working on a home project with fresh drywall, you can bend it to create some cool and unique architecture such as arched doorways or curved walls.

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These steps can help you create curved pieces of drywall:

  1. Select your drywall type and size appropriate for the project.
  2. Dip a paint roller in water and use it to wet the drywall. A small amount of water should be fine, and you can use a wet washcloth if you don’t have a roller.
  3. Work slowly and test the drywall after each layer of moisture to see if it will bend. Continue adding moisture and bending until you’ve achieved the shape you need, being careful not to oversaturate the piece.
  4. Secure the drywall into the designated location using drywall screws and leave it to air dry.

How To Bend Drywall Without Breaking It

The Benefits of Using Drywall

After learning how fragile drywall can be, you might wonder why anyone bothers to use it at all. After all, there are other options like plywood that are much sturdier and properly hold up pretty well.

There are several benefits to using drywall. Although it has a high risk of breaking and responds poorly to leaks and even high humidity, it’s still a solid option for the following reasons.

Affordable

While plywood might be the stronger, sturdier option, drywall is the cheaper choice. A single sheet of standard drywall can be as low as $15, while plywood prices can skyrocket to more than $50 per board.

Whether you need to fix one portion of a wall or have to build an entire house, drywall is the budget option here.

Fire Resistant

Did you know that drywall is fire resistant? Gypsum, which is the material that makes up drywall, is very resistant to high heat. So in some ways, drywall can be a safer option to have in your home.

While drywall can withstand high temperatures, it can still very much catch fire and burn. Your walls won’t be completely fireproof, but they may hold up better than other materials.

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Easy to Install

One of the best benefits of drywall is that it’s easy in almost every way.

Drywall is lightweight and easy to measure and cut. Because it’s thin and not too solid, you can easily cut it with a drywall cutter, a razor, or even just a utility knife. The thinner the board is, the easier it is to cut.

Drywall is also very easy to install. Once you have your piece measured and cut, all you have to do is drill it into place. It’s perfect for small fixes because you can just cut out a small portion of the wall rather than replace a whole sheet.

And finally, drywall is easy to cover. After you drill drywall into place and complete the seams, all you have to do is paint or add wallpaper. Drywall is flat and smooth, so there’s little to no leveling or sanding involved.

The Benefits of Using Drywall

Drywall FAQs

Check out these FAQs about drywall for a little more information.

Can you make drywall waterproof?

While you can’t make drywall 100 percent waterproof, you can increase its water resistance by using a high-quality waterproof primer and waterproof paint.

How much edge space do you need to hang drywall?

Whenever you’re hanging drywall, you need to make sure you have at least one inch of framing available to drill your nails into. This is especially important around the edges of a wall. If you don’t have enough support on an edge, you’ll have to add blocking to extend the frame.

How close should drywall pieces be to one another?

To avoid breaking or bending drywall pieces, be sure to leave about a one-eighth gap between boards. This tiny gap will ensure your fit isn’t too tight. You’ll be able to cover this gap later with drywall tape and a joint compound.

How close should drywall pieces be to one another?

Final Thoughts

Drywall is such a common construction material that you’d be hard-pressed to find a house or building that hasn’t used it. These boards are useful, but they’re also fragile. Take great caution when using them and always follow the recommendations of a professional.