Recently a breakthrough in drywall technology occurred. Beginning in August of 2010 the USG® Corporation released a new type of drywall that addresses one of the core concerns to those hanging drywall; the weight. "SHEETROCK® UltraLight Panels are the most significant breakthrough in wallboard technology, helping drywall installers increase productivity and leave them feeling less fatigued at the end of each day," said Chris Baker, wallboard product manager, USG® Corporation. This new type of drywall is made by the USG® Corporation and sold under the SHEETROCK® brand.
According to USG these panels are to be up to 30% lighter than traditional gypsum panels. The panels utilize colloidal chemistry to feature a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio and improved sag resistance. The lightweight panels meet all International Building Code, International Residential Code and ASTM C1396 Specification for Gypsum Board, for both 1/2-inch gypsum wallboard and 1/2-inch gypsum ceiling board.
SHEETROCK UltraLight Panels are ideal for use on ceilings with up to 24-inch on-center framing and water-based texture, presenting potential cost-savings when used as a replacement for 5/8-inch type X board used on ceilings or 1/2-inch interior ceiling board. The panels are available in standard lengths, including 8-, 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-foot panels in 48- and 54-inch widths.
The benefits of lighter weight drywall include ease of use and reduced fatigue. When most DIY’ers think of hanging drywall they complain how drywall is heavy and awkward. One sheet of drywall can weigh over 100 pounds depending on the size and type used. Ceilings with 24-inch on center framing traditionally require the use of 5/8-inch thick type X board, or ceiling board to reduce sag. between joists. Many drywall contractors would prefer using a thinner lightweight material that provides the rigidity and strength needed even when under the weight of insulation and water based textures.
As of October 2010, UltraLight drywall can be found in big box stores. Surprisingly, the price is only slightly higher than that of regular drywall. For small remodeling jobs this is a perfect choice for the DIY’ers. Homeowners are probably willing to pay a slightly higher cost associated with ultralight drywall because of the benefits in weight reduction. In most locations the Home Depot's© price for UltraLight drywall is only \$0.50 cents more than traditional drywall.
Until the price of UltraLight drywall equals that of standard drywall, contractors are likely to continue to use standard drywall despite the weight reduction ultralight offers. For contractors calculating material costs even an increase of fifty cents per sheet can make a big difference in the bottom line. UltraLight drywall is less expensive than 5/8-inch type X board and therefore drywall contractors may consider this an option for ceiling applications. Ultralight still costs less than SHEETROCK 1/2 inch interior ceiling board, and is more readily available.