How do plaster and drywall differ

Drywall: an overview

© Ingo Bartussek -

The use of drywall has a long tradition in interior construction and is very widespread due to its many advantages. The low price and the large number of different panel designs and areas of application are the reason why plasterboard and gypsum fiber panels are of the greatest importance in dry construction. In recent years, however, numerous drywall panels made from alternative building materials have come onto the market. In addition to clay panels, the building materials clay, straw and wood fiber should be mentioned here. In the following we would like to give an overview of the various drywall sheets and in particular to emphasize the ecological aspects.

Plasterboard and plasterboard

No other building material is as important in drywall as plaster. This is due in particular to the versatility of the areas of application and the comparatively low price. Basically, two different types of plasterboard can be distinguished: plasterboard and plasterboard. Appropriate modifications (e.g. impregnation of the cardboard casing) and additives (e.g. glass, cellulose, plastic) can be used to produce building boards with special properties and areas of application. For example, for use in damp rooms, to improve noise and fire protection or for radiation protection (lead-clad panels).

Gypsum boards are made from natural gypsum and / or REA gypsum. The latter is a waste product that is obtained in large quantities from flue gas desulphurisation in coal-fired power plants. The nature conservation associations of Germany are calling for the increased use of FGD gypsum, since the mining of natural gypsum threatens the unique gypsum karst landscapes, for example in the southern Harz. The Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND) has summarized the arguments for an increased use of FGD gypsum in a statement.

Earth building board: a new concept of clay as a building material

Earth building panels make it possible to use the building biologically valuable building material clay in dry construction. The processing is carried out as with plaster of paris by screwing on a dry construction substructure made of wood or metal or by full-surface gluing on a flat surface. Tongue and groove systems simplify processing. Clay building boards are available in different thicknesses (14mm, 18mm and 22mm thick boards are common). The use of earth building panels in timber construction is particularly suitable. Due to the low equilibrium moisture content, the clay ensures that the wood remains dry. In order to preserve the positive physical and biological properties of the clay building boards, the surfaces should be finished with clay plaster. For this purpose, the board joints must be reinforced with fabric.
For use in damp rooms, clay building boards are now available that have a water-repellent surface thanks to aluminum silicates or clay minerals, without losing their moisture-regulating properties.

In addition to clay building boards, there are also a number of boards made from special clay minerals (e.g. vermicullite). They are used in particular in fire protection.

Straw construction panel

Straw building panels are made from cereal straw without glue by pressing under high pressure. The individual stalks are connected by the straw's own lignins. By sheathing with recycled cardboard, a smooth surface is achieved. With a thickness of 38mm or 58mm, the panels are significantly thicker than plasterboard. However, due to the high rigidity and a length of up to 3.20 m, it is possible to create self-supporting walls without a substructure. With offset screw connections, very narrow walls of 76mm, 96mm or 116mm can be realized. Alternatively, the panels can also be screwed onto a metal or wood substructure. Straw building panels are classified in fire resistance class F30.
The production of these panels from the renewable raw material straw binds considerable amounts of CO2. Straw building panels not only have a positive effect on the room climate, but are also particularly environmentally friendly in the manufacturing process.

Interior wall systems made from wood fiber insulation boards

Wood fiber insulation boards have established themselves in the past few years in exterior wall and roof insulation as an alternative to insulation materials made of plastic. Some manufacturers now also offer interior wall systems. Layers of wood fiber are combined with air-filled, honeycomb-like structures made of recycled cardboard. The wood fiber boards can be screwed to a substructure or glued over the entire surface.