The year was 1916, and in America, factory workers in New York were being introduced to the forty-hour work week while sports fans in Chicago were watching baseball at the new Weeghman Park, or modern-day Wrigley Field. Woodrow Wilson was president and The Saturday Evening Post featured its first Norman Rockwell cover.
1916 was also the year when Sackett Board was invented. What is Sackett Board, you ask? Drywall. Invented by the U.S. Gypsum Company, Sackett Board was named after the USG subsidiary, Sackett Plaster company.
When people visualize drywall today, we see it as consisting of a single layer of compressed gypsum that is pressed between two sheets of heavy paper. But in 1916, Sackett Board was first sold in the form of small fireproof tiles. In the short few years that followed, it was then offered in multi-layer gypsum and paper sheets. Less than a decade later, it was being sold in the form of as we know it today.
What Is Gypsum?
Containing calcium, sulfur bound to oxygen and water, gypsum is chemically known as calcium sulfate dihydrate. Gypsum is a non-toxic mineral. Although the majority of gypsum produced in the United States is used to make gypsum board, or drywall. It is also known to be helpful in other areas, including, humans, animals, plant life and the environment.
Some of these other uses for gypsum are as follows:
- To create surgical and orthopedic casts.
- Added to water, specifically ponds, to help settle particles of dirt and clay while not harming any aquatic life.
- Recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as acceptable for human consumption, gypsum can be used as a dietary source of calcium.
- As a color additive for cosmetics
- Primary ingredient in toothpaste
Drywall’s Initial Reputation
For certain, there are many uses and benefits with drywall, but initially, it was a bit of a hard sell for U.S. Gypsum, even changing the name to sheet rock in an effort to improve the product’s reputation. In those early days, drywall was seen to be cheap as opposed to keeping to tradition and with the more expensive plaster. People didn’t want to live in what they perceived to be poorly constructed homes.
But things were about to change.
How World War II Set Drywall In Its Place
After the Pearl Harbor attack in December of 1941, the U.S. became involved with World War II. Immediately, this led to a labor shortage as soldiers left for overseas to fight as well as a focus on war manufacturing. This meant that there was critical need for building materials that were both quick and inexpensive. This coupled with plastering being too intense of a process to be supported by a labor force by now well depleted, enter drywall into the picture.
To support war manufacturing, houses and factories needed to be built, and built fast. With drywall, it meant construction was faster, less expensive, and at a fraction of the labor that a project of this magnitude would have previously required.
As the war ended in 1945, drywall reigned supreme in the United States for building material. Efficiency and higher profits was all it took to lead contractors to leave plaster behind and instead, used drywall.
What Are The Benefits Of Drywall?
Drywall, as with its initial reputation as being cheap, is very cost-effective not only at installation but also with upkeep and repair.
Not only is gypsum not flammable, many manufactures of drywall today help increase fire resistance in drywall by adding glass fibers to the gypsum. These glass fibers, which are non-combustible, are effective with helping maintain the integrity of drywall as it becomes dehydrated. That said, even as water is infused to the structure, if fire is present, once that water dissipates, the gypsum’s temperature will begin to rise past the boiling point of water, at this point, the potential for the material to burn is possible.
Over the course of drywall history, the development of gypsum boards continues to improve. Most recently, developers have created gypsum boards that can actually store thermal energy. This new drywall building material can actually cut a buildings’ energy consumption by 40%.
As noted earlier with war manufacturing, drywall is both efficient and much easier to install than plaster. But take note, a standard single sheet can weigh more than 50 pounds.
What Are Common Drywall Repairs?
There are many reasons why drywall would need to be repaired, and we’ll discuss those in future articles. But for now, here are just a few (of many) common drywall repairs:
Whether it was from moving furniture or maybe swinging the door open a little too hard, we all can relate to dents in the drywall.
A common need for drywall repair is water damage. Water damage can be extensive. Raise your hand if you have experienced this before.
There are a lot of stories that can be told about how a hole was made in the wall. But, we’ll leave that to your imagination and exemplary storytelling skills for your next family gathering.
One of the most common drywall repair need comes from cracking. Depending on the age of the home or the products used during construction, a home tends to settle both above and below the foundation. This settling can cause fractures to occur either at the seams or straight through whole drywall pieces, causing cracks.
Portland’s Patch Pro Knows Drywall
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