Drywall Construction Problems

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Along the modern time, the practice of drywall, a wall system which made of the frame and the gypsum plaster board, is used to make interior walls and ceilings. Unquestionably, gypsum board and drywall construction is the fastest way to get your internal wall built  as it is a speedier alternative to traditional brick and mortar.

This plasterboard itself was invented by Augustine Sackett and Fred Kane in1888 when first plasterboard plant in the UK was opened in Rochester Kent  Sackett Board, produced the 36" × 36" × 1/4" thick board by layering plaster within four plies of wool felt paper.  Since then, the production of the Gypsum board had a slightly change by sandwiching a core of wet gypsum between two sheets of heavy paper or fiberglass mats. And when the core sets and is dried in a large drying chamber, the sandwich becomes rigid and strong enough for use as a building material. After that, the practice of drywall, composite of frame and board evolved. The system provided more efficiency of installation including faster costruction, lighter weight to transport to the higher skyscraper and easier to remove and better for renovation of the interior.

Althought the practice had been applied for centrury, there are some problems from the dry wall construction which can be considered as the weak points of the system. Recently, there was the survey by REED (in the book: Residential & Light Commercial Construction Standards) outlined the problem from the drywall including;


Fastener Imperfections. A common defect, which takes on many forms. May appear as darkened, localized cracking; a depression over fastener heads; pop or protrusion of the fastener or the surface area immediately surrounding the fastener. Usually caused by improper framing or fastener application.


Joint Defects. Generally occur in a straight-line pattern and appear as ridges, depressions or blisters at the joints, or darkening over the joints or in adjacent panel areas. Imperfections may result from incorrect framing or joint treatment application, or climatic conditions if remedial action has not been taken.


Loose Panels. Board does not have tight contact with framing, rattles when impacted or moves when pressure is applied to the surface. Caused by improper application of panels, framing out of alignment or improper fastening.


Joint Cracking. Appears either directly over the long edge or butt ends of boards, or may appear along the edge of taped joints. Often caused by structural movement and/or hygrometric and thermal expansion and contraction, or by excessively fast drying of joint compounds.


Field Cracking. Usually appears as diagonal crack originating from a corner of a partition or intersection with structural elements. Also seen directly over a structural element in center of a partition. May originate from corners of doors, light fixtures and other weak areas in the surface created by penetration. Caused by movement described previously.


Angle Cracking. Appears directly in the apex of wall-ceiling or interior angles where partitions intersect. Also can appear as cracking at edge of paper reinforcing tape near surface intersections. Can be caused by structural movement, improper application of joint compound in corner angle or excessive build-up of paint.


Bead Cracking. Shows up along edge of flange. Caused by improper bead attachment, faulty bead or joint compound application.


Wavy Surfaces. Boards are not flat but have a bowed or undulating surface. Caused by improper board fit, misaligned framing, hygrometric or thermal expansion.


Board Sag. Occurs in ceilings, usually under high humidity conditions. Caused by insufficient framing support for board; board too thin for span; poor job conditions; improperly installed or mislocated vapor retarder; use of unsupported insulation directly on ceiling panels; or improperly fitted panels.


Surface Defects. Fractured, damaged or crushed boards after application may be caused by abuse or lumber shrinkage. Also, see Discoloration below.


Discoloration. Board surface has slight difference in color over joints, supports or fasteners. Caused by improper paint finishing, uneven soiling and darkening from aging or ultraviolet light.


Water Damage. Stains, paper bond failure, softness in board core or mildew growth are caused by sustained high humidity, standing water and improper protection from water leakage during transit and storage.


All above problems could occur in any sites, but most of them caused by an improper workmanship. Eventhougth the construction of dry wall is the composition of industrial materials with the working guildline by the modern tools, but the most uncontrollable and inconsistancy is the workers who work from installing the frame to the final finishing. The training, supervision and quality control for the construciton works are crucial which the designer and the contractor need to equally focus as the design and planning process. 

Writer : Aracha Krasae-in   Date :2014-02-13