Examining the Different Types of Drywall, Their Pros, Con’s and Costs Compared

On this page, you’ll learn about the most commonly used types of drywall, where they are used, the sheet size and thickness options they offer. Your choice depends on where you are installing your drywall and what specific properties, such as resistance to moisture, are required. There are types of drywall for a bathroom, basement, kitchen and other rooms in your home. This guide is your research for selecting the right types of drywall for your home building or renovating project.

Drywall is often called sheetrock, gypsum board, wallboard and other less commonly used names.  Most drywall is 48 wide, though 54” drywall is available too. The most common sheet size is 4’x8’, but 10’, 12’, 14’ and 16’ boards are also produced. The longer boards are ideal for use on long stretches of wall, offering the most coverage per sheet for labor efficiency. However, the larger the panel, the more weight and difficulty to move and hang.

There are nine commonly used types of drywall available for you to choose from. Below is a list of the various types and what the primary uses are.  Further on in this article, each type of drywall is described in more detail.

An Overview of the Different Types of Drywall

Types of Drywall
NameTypical UseCostSizePanels
Regular or Whiteboard Drywallthe most commonly used drywall. Can be used on interior walls, like hallways or bedrooms$9 – $16 per 4’x8’ sheet1/2″ thickness, 5/8″ thickness, and 3/4″ thickness
4’x8’, 4’x10’, 4’x12’, 4’x14’, 4’x16’
Greenboard DrywallMold resistant drywall that is often used in kitchens, bathrooms, or attics.$12 – $19 per 4’x8’ sheet1/2″ thickness4’x8’
Blueboard DrywallMoisture/mold resistant. Used in higher end jobs, seems are mostly invisible. Sound reducing, so perfect for basement remodels.$12 – $16 per 4’x8’ sheet1/2″ thickness4’x8’
Purple Board DrywallMildew/Mold/Moisture resistant drywall, that is most likely used in bathrooms or any high traffic area$14 – $18 per 4’x8’ sheet1/2″ thickness4’x8’
Type X DrywallFire resistant and very durable. Used in apartment building, shops, and garages$12 – $16 per 4’x8’ sheet5/8″ thickness
4’x8’, 4’x10’, 4’x12’
Type C DrywallSimilar to Type X Drywall, but consists of more glass fibers and enhance gypsum fibers, so it is an improvement over Type X$18 – $22 per 4’x12’ foot panel1/2″ thickness 5/8″ thickness
4’x8’, 4’x10’, 4’x12’
Soundproof DrywallThe same thickness as the drywalls listed above, but are created to dampen sound. Perfect for a home theatre or a studio.$50 – $100 per 4’x8’ panel, depending on the brand purchased.1/2″ thickness4’x8’
Paperless DrywallMoisture/mold/mildwe resistant with fiberglass rather than paper covering the gypsum. Perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms$13 – $17 per 4’x8’ panel1/2″ thickness4’x8’
Cement BoardMade from cement and fibers. Very resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold. Most commonly used in areas that are prone to water/dampness and areas that will have tile.$15 – $ 60, depending on the size and thickness1/4″ thickness 1/2″ thickness
⅝” thickness
3’x5’, 4’x8’

Let’s explore the different types of drywall in detail.

 Regular or Whiteboard Drywall

This is the most commonly used type of drywall and the most affordable.  Whiteboard drywall is a layer of gypsum with a layer of paper on each side.  Usually one side will be white and the other side a light brown.  Regular drywall can be as thin as ¼ of an inch and can go up to an inch thick. You can purchase regular drywall in lengths from 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16 feet.  Each sheet of drywall is four feet wide.  Drywall can also be purchased that is about 25% lighter than the traditional panels, which makes it easier to work with but slightly less rigid and durable.  These are usually around 25% lighter. Lightweight drywall is used on ceilings primarily, but is applied to walls too.

Green Board Drywall

Green board drywall is also referred to as greenboard. It has paper on one side that’s been treated for moisture resistance. The sheet is installed with the green side facing outward. This type of drywall will help keep mold from forming.  While it can be installed anywhere, it is designed for areas prone to exposure to moisture such as a kitchen (think boiling noodles on the stovetop), laundry room, bathroom, basement, or attic.  Greenboard is more expensive than regular or whiteboard drywall.

The most common sheet size is 4’x8’ and ½” thick.

Blue Board Drywall

Blue board drywall, aka blueboard, takes moisture resistance to the next level. As a result, it is most commonly used in bathrooms and basements.  Basically, it is highly resistant to both mold and water, making it a great choice for any area where water is used or there is high humidity/dampness. Blue board drywall is also used in veneer plastering and the blue paper can absorb moisture without allowing it to penetrate into the gypsum.  Veneer plaster is when you put a thin layer of plaster over the blueboard.

The most common size of panel for blue board drywall is 4’x8’ sheets ½” thick.

Purple Board Drywall

Purple board drywall offers the same benefits as regular drywall, but it is also resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew.  So why do you need a third option for moisture-resistant drywall? Well, another advantage of purple board drywall is that it is tougher, resistant dents and scratches. This quality makes it costlier, but a great choice for garages or basements where kids are turned loose to play.

The lengths of purple board drywall is usually 8 feet. The thickness of purple board drywall varies from 5/16” to ½”. Besides high traffic areas, purple board drywall is most often used in bathrooms or laundry rooms.

Type X Drywall

Type X Drywall is a fire-resistant drywall that is used often in commercial buildings such as apartments and office buildings. In residential use, Type X drywall is a good choice for garages. In fact, it is standard building practice to put this type of fire-resistant drywall on the house-side of an attached garage, as many building codes require the use of Type X drywall.   Fires often start in the garage, and Type X drywall slows the spread of fire into the home. Type X drywall is made of several non-combustible layers to improve the fire resistance.  It is harder and heavier than the drywalls listed above, so it is more difficult to work with.

Type X drywall is found in lengths of 8, 10, and 12 feet.  The thickness of drywall is ⅝”.

Type C Drywall

Type C drywall is very similar to Type X drywall in terms of both thickness and being fire resistant.  The major difference is that Type C is made differently.  It has more glass fiber and vermiculite in the gypsum and also tends to not shrink as much over time as Type X, so it leaves fewer gaps for fire to make it way through. The result is adding 2-4 hours to the fire burn-through rating. In short, Type C Drywall is an improved version of Type X.

The lengths available are 8, 10, and 12 feet, and the thickness is generally ½” or ⅝”.

Soundproof Drywall

Soundproof Drywall is the same thickness as regular drywall, but consists of wood fibers added between layers of gypsum.  Soundproof drywall is perfect for a home theatre and music rooms, as well as living rooms, basements and for use on ceilings with living space above because it really does dampen sound. To call it “soundproof” might be a stretch. The downside for soundproof drywall is that it is very costly compared to regular drywall, up to 10 times more expensive for the same size panel.

You’ll find sound-dampening drywall, a more accurate descriptor, in ½” and ⅝” thicknesses, and the lengths are 8, 9, 10, and 12 foot panels.

Paperless Drywall

Paperless drywall is similar to regular drywall except it is covered with fiberglass rather than paper. The fiberglass covering is highly resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold, so it is often used in bathrooms, kitchens, or other areas that are prone to water.  It won’t absorb moisture, so won’t get “crumbly” over time. Paperless drywall is more rigid than regular drywall, so it may be harder to work with.

The lengths you can find are 8, 10, and 12 feet long, and the thickness is generally ½”.

Cement Board

You might not think of cement board, aka backer board, as a drywall type, but contractors place it in this category because it is a material nailed to the studs to cover wall and ceiling cavities. Cement board or cement board drywall is used anywhere that water or moisture may be an issue.  It is an ideal backing board for tile, so you’ll find it used in the bathroom, mainly showers or tub enclosures that have tile.  It is highly resistant to mold, moisture, and mildew.  It can also be used in the kitchen behind tile backsplashes.  Cement board is very strong and rigid, so it is not easy to work with; it is usually cut with a power saw (wear a dust mask and eye protection)!

The sizes available are from 3 feet by 5 feet all the way to a 4 foot by 8 foot panel.  The thickness varies from ¼” to ½” to ⅝”.

Types of Drywall for a Basement

basement drywall

The best types of drywall for a basement are resistant to moisture and mold. Of your options:

  • Green board is the most cost-effective.
  • Blue board should be considered if your basement has known moisture/dampness issues.
  • Purple board, with its harder coating, will keep basement walls in better condition when the area is actively used.
  • Paperless drywall is another option when you want durable, moisture-resistant basement drywall.
  • Fire-resistant Type X and Type C drywall is often used on finished basement ceilings when the furnace is installed in the basement.
  • Soundproof or sound-resistant drywall is another popular choice for basement ceilings especially when hardwood, laminate or tile flooring is installed above and the basement is finished into a living room, home theater or personal retreat.

Types of Drywall for a Bathroom

Bathroom Drywall

As with the basement, the best types of drywall for a bathroom resist moisture and mold. Green, purple, blue and paperless drywall are most common. In tub and shower enclosures, cement board drywall is the top choice.

Types of Drywall for a Kitchen

kitchen drywall

The best types of drywall for a kitchen are those that resist humidity; but fire-resistant drywall is worth considering too. Sometimes greenboard is used on exterior walls, especially near the range where pots of water are often boiling, while Type X or Type C drywall is used on interior walls to prevent the spread of fire to adjoining areas.

Of course, at other times, kitchens are entirely covered in regular drywall without concern for moisture or fire. Consult your drywall contractor for the pros and cons of each before deciding the best type or types of drywall for a kitchen project.

Types of Drywall for a Room Remodel

drywall for room remodel

Regular drywall is the most common type of drywall for any room in the house. Of course, when moisture, fire, sound or durability are issues, then you should consider the types of drywall for a room with the specific traits you want.