How Drywall Is Made

Drywall is the most common wall material in homes throughout the country. It’s easier and cheaper to install than the previously used plaster and comes with numerous benefits.

Since drywall is mostly gypsum, its high water count results in a somewhat fire-resistant material. Plus, gypsum can be mixed with other additives and combined with special paper to create mold, mildew, and water-resistant walls.

Want to learn more? Here’s how drywall is made.

What Are The Raw Materials In Drywall?

The main component of drywall is a mineral called gypsum. Gypsum has many uses, including fertilizer, plaster, chalk, blackboards, and of course, drywall.

Gypsum is used in drywall and sheetrock because it’s lightweight, easy to cut, non-combustible, and because of its high water crystallines, it is also fire resistant.

Before becoming drywall, gypsum is heated and reduced to a powder form known as plaster of Paris. Then, manufacturers mix additives into this powder before turning it into drywall.

The other main component of drywall is paper. 

While there are different kinds of paper on wallboard, it almost always comes from recycled newspapers. Sometimes manufacturers add foil paper to drywall for a water-resistant surface.

Drywall Manufacturing Process

Drywall consists of placing two sheets of paper over a gypsum core. Here’s how it’s done:

Mixing Additives With Gypsum Powder

how drywall is made

Almost every type of sheetrock has at least two additives mixed in with the plaster of Paris. (Remember, plaster of  Paris is the white powdery form of gypsum.)

The two most common additives are starch and paper pulp.

Starch helps the paper stick to the gypsum core, and paper pulp increases the drywall panel’s strength.

Manufacturers will add vermiculite, fiberglass, or clay if the drywall needs extra fire resistance.

After mixing additives, manufacturers blend in water, wax or asphalt emulsion, and detergent. In addition, they introduce air to this mixture.

The final product is more than 50% air, making the gypsum board very lightweight.

Making The Sandwich With Paper

manufacturing process

Now, the factory crew rolls out a piece of paper, and the slurry of gypsum goes over it. Next, a second piece of paper goes on top.

Then the paper and gypsum get rolled through a machine that compacts this sandwich to its proper thickness.

Finishing Edges

The sandwiched panels continue to run through the conveyor belt, where they receive their edging. The three most common types of edging are square, tongue and groove, or tapered.

Once edged, the face paper is wrapped around and sealed to the back.

The Panels Are Cut

After edging, the panels get cut to size. The most common sizes are 48 or 54 inches wide and 8 or 12 feet long.

The Drywall Gets Dried

After the panels are the proper size, a crew places them on a conveyor belt that takes them through a drying oven. This process usually takes up to 40 minutes.

The heat starts at around 500 degrees F and decreases gradually as the board goes through the oven.

The Finished Product

The last step is inspection and preparation for sale. Each board gets manually inspected and then stacked in a bundle.

Each panel also receives a UPC.


Drywall is the most common construction material for commercial and residential walls. Its gypsum content makes it naturally fire-resistant, lightweight, and easy to cut.

For particular types of drywall, additives mix with gypsum powder for a superior product. This mixture turns into a core sandwiched between two pieces of special paper.

The result is the drywall you know and use as a building material.