How Is Sheetrock Made?
Sheetrock® panels are a name brand of gypsum panels. Because the Sheetrock® brand is one of the most widely used brands, many use the name interchangeably.
What Is Sheetrock® Made of?
Sheetrock® panels have a gypsum core, which is pressed between two sheets of multi-ply recycled paper. The paper is then wrapped over the both the top and the bottom of the sheet to protect the gypsum from damage while transporting the panels and during the construction process. The panels are cut in three thicknesses ¼", 3/8", and ½", the latter of which is most commonly used in new residential construction.
Breaking Down Sheetrock® 's Composition
Sheetrock® is a Green building material in that it is composed of either natural gypsum or synthetic gypsum that has been extracted or created through a recycling process. The paper is also a recycled product.
Where Does Gypsum Come From?
Natural gypsum, or calcium sulfate dehydrate, is an abundant mineral that is mined for uses such as gypsum panels, as a binder in medicines, as a soil stabilizer, and as a filler in foods. More than 1.8 million tons of gypsum is mined annually for use in gypsum panels.
Synthetic gypsum is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to natural gypsum as a way to use recycled products in the manufacturing process. Many companies that use gypsum, such as USG the manufacturers of the Sheetrock® brand, are employing recycling methods in the manufacturing of their products. Synthetic gypsum can be created by reutilizing waste produced by power plants. Power plants are equipped with limestone scrubbers that work to remove the unwanted pollutants that coal create. As the exhaust moves through the scrubbers, the water and calcium of the limestone amalgamate with the sulfur dioxide in the exhaust to create calcium sulfate, which is gypsum.
The Paper Backing
Even the paper that is used in Sheetrock® is a 100% recycled product coming from newspaper, cartons, phone books, and cardboard manufacturing saving more than 500,000 tons of paper waste annually. The paper used in Sheetrock® is natural and never bleached.