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    Plasterboard is made from a gypsum plaster core sandwiched between sheets of thick paper. It is commonly used instead of plaster to build ceilings and partition walls.

    These boards come as sheets measuring 120cm x 60cm (2ft x 4ft) but you can also buy smaller boards called laths. The thickness of plasterboard also varies but is generally 9.5mm (3/8in) or 12.5mm (1/2in) thick. If your fixing points or wall studs are far apart, you should compensate for this with thicker board.

    The sides of plasterboard will be different colours: usually pale grey or ivory on one side and a darker grey or brown on the reverse. When fixing plasterboard it is the lighter side that faces into the room, the darker side may carry the manufacturer's name or logo.

    Plasterboard variations

    If the plasterboard has a square edge, it is designed to be plastered over, while boards with a tapered edge should be used for dry lining. Plasterboard is also available for specific purposes such as soundproofing (Acoustic-check) or flame retardant (Fire-check).

    Other variations of plasterboard include:

    • Moisture-check plasterboard for areas of high water usage: bath and shower rooms, wet rooms and even kitchens
    • Vapour-check plasterboard for ceilings in lofts
    • Thermal-check plasterboard for heat insulation
    • Cement-board is moisture resistant and used as a base board in shower cubicles and bathrooms
    • Fire-check board is more fireproof than ordinary plasterboard and is suitable for garage ceilings and stairwells

    Choose the most suitable plasterboard for the purpose of the room.

    To cut plasterboard use a craft knife to make a deep score along the marked line on the surface of the board. Position the board so the scored line is over a straight edge and apply even pressure. The board should break along the scored line. Use the craft knife to cut the paper at the back of the board. Before you attach the boards, you may need to scribe the boards to fit against uneven walls, floor or ceilings.

    Other materials used when plasterboarding

    Jointing tape

    This is a self-adhesive tape for concealing and reinforcing joints in plasterboards. It is usually made from fibreglass yarns woven into fabrics, coated with resin and then cut into strips 50mm (2in) wide.

    Scrim tape

    Used to conceal joints between plasterboard, traditional scrim tape is fitted in place with a band of plaster running down the down the joint. Today self-adhesive scrim tape is available and easier to apply.

    Jointing compound

    A powder that when mixed with clean, cold water becomes a paste that is used to fill and embed the joints between plasterboard sheets. It can also be used with jointing tape. After mixing, the compound is workable for up to 30mins.

    Angle bead

    A galvanised steel and metal mesh moulding used on external corners of plaster walls to reinforce the plaster. Can be cut to length with tin snips.

    Dry-wall adhesive

    An alternative to using plaster when fixing plasterboard to an internal masonry wall.

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