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Thread: drywall thickness

  1. #1

    Question drywall thickness

    any issues or concerns around what thickness to use for drywall? not sure if i should use 3/8", 4/8", or 5/8". In most of the room I'll be takng the plaster and lathe right down to the studs, but in some limited cases I'll put the drywall over the lathe only. the 3/8" is definitely easier to work with, but are there any issues i just don't know about? In part of this room there will be a half bath as well. in the part of the room that's not the half bath...there's a few windows that I may not have to take the trim off and the 4/8" might slide right up to the trim (it's really old prestine trim that I'm trying to avoid taking off). any thoughts would be great!

  2. #2


    I'm not sure about replacing sections of a plaster lathe wall, but 1/2" is normally used for walls, and 5/8" is commonly used for ceilings to prevent sagging, especially when joists are more than 16" oc. 3/8" may not be durable enough for a wall unless it's double layered; the thinner stuff bends easier for curved walls, but it's more prone to breakage in high traffic areas.

  3. #3


    1/2" is normally used on 16" on center. 5/8" is required for 2' on center and for ceilings of garages with living areas above that garage ceiling.

    1/2" is required as a smoke separation wall between attached garage and the living areas and any garage within 6' of the house considered to be attached due to the being within 6' of the house structure.

    1/2" is allowed for attached garage ceilings if no living area is above that garage ceiling.

    3/8" is commonly used when laying over lathing. The lathing is adding the required strength that the 1/2" would be counted to do. If you are laying drywall over lathe then 3/8" is fine with the combination of the lath and the drywall considered equal to 1/2".

    Do not install 3/8" over 16" on center studs without further backing behind that 3/8" drywall.

    Good Luck


  4. #4


    Is the 5/8 on ceilings with 24OC a building code requirement? I couldn't find it in the IBC.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Living in, not from North Carolina


    I don't believe it is code but you would be very wise to use 5/8" for any ceiling, let alone one with 24" centers on the ceiling joists, that is a long way between rows of screws.
    The idea is that the 5/8" thickness is a stronger sheet thus enabling the drywall screws a much better hold. You have to remember the ceiling drywall sheets basically hang on the screws and the screws are most often the only thing between the drywall and you.
    Last edited by pushkins; August 11th, 2011 at 03:58 AM.

  6. #6


    See R702.3.5 finding a chart. Ceiling drywall is allowed 1/2 @ 24" o/c only if no texture is applied as a finished surface. However if texture is applied then 5/8" is required. See not "D" below that chart.

    It is a Code requirement found above in the IRC.


  7. #7


    thanks guys. excellent information. it turns out the house (a very old one) has the joists 16" oc and i'll be putting drywall over just lathe in some spots and i'll be putting in up on bare studs / joists as well. so from the looks of the replys..........i should be able to use 4/8" throughout....ceiling and walls. i suppose i could get away with 3/8" over the lathe, but i have a boatload of 4/8" so i guess the whole room will get it. thanks for the info........any other comments are welcomed

  8. Default

    I was at the local building supply place recently picking up some rock for my shop building project and noticed another pile of 1/2" will different colored "zippers" on the ends of the packages of 2 sheets. I asked the guy helping me load my rock what was with the other colored pile (wasn't green board as it was in a 3rd pile). He had no idea so I checked it out after we were done loading. The labeling on it said it was for using with supports that were 24"o.c. Check out http://www.usg.com/navigate.do?resou...ling_Board.htm

  9. #9


    Will the thicker sheetrock on the ceiling help reduce nail pops?

    My house (1971) makes all kinds of snaps and pops as it heats and cools. I purchased it two years ago. There are nail pops all over the place (some are also in the walls). In the family room, the sheetrock had actually come away from the joists! On the loose sections I drove in screws being careful not to tear through the paper (and removed the old nails).

    Now, a few months later and I can see more pops in the ceiling. I don't remember where I drove the screws but have to guess the pops are only where I didn't screw.

    Kicking myself for not screwing the whole ceiling!

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