What Is the Difference Between 5/8- And 1/2-Inch Drywall?

Drywall is one of the popular and readily available soundproofing materials you can get on the market today. You can use it to acoustically treat a ceiling and walls to prevent noise from leaking in and out of your space.

What’s the principle behind soundproofing with Drywall?

Using resilient isolation clips, you can isolate the walls/ceiling hence minimizing the transfer of both impact and airborne noises.

Now that you’re sure you’d want to use Drywall, you may not know what size and thickness to use for different projects. Luckily, I have compiled a detailed guide to help you pick out the perfect consistency to use for your project.

What Is the Difference Between 5/8- And 1/2-Inch Drywall?

While Drywall is the perfect material for ceilings and interior walls in all types of buildings, it is sold in different sizes and thicknesses. However, did you know that there’s a difference between the 1 2 vs. 5 8 drywall?

Let’s look at how thickness plays an integral part in the overall success of your soundproofing journey.

1. Thickness

There are four distinct drywall thickness standardized by all manufacturers. They include:

  • 5/8-inch (15.9mm)
  • 1/2-inch (12.7mm)
  • 3/8-inch (9.52mm)
  • 1/4-inch (6.35mm)

5/8 Inch (15.9mm) Drywall

This is the thickest option you can get. It’s ideal for commercial purposes, and it’s commonly known as firewall drywall, and its thickness makes it perfect for soundproofing. It can be used on walls and ceilings but is not widely used in residential settings as it’s more expensive and heavier than all other drywall sizes.

½ inch (12.7mm) Gypsum Panels

It’s also known as the standard Drywall, often used for ceilings and walls and common in most residential homes. It can be used with both wooden and steel frames.

The other two options are considered economical, with the 3/8 inch-perfect for remodeling projects. Since they are so thin, these panels have to be handled with great care to prevent them from breaking.

Verdict: Thickness and mass are integral in both durability and soundproofing effectiveness. Since 5/8 is much thicker than ½ inch drywall, you get much more durability and noise reduction effectiveness with the former than the latter.

2. Durability Soundproofing Effectiveness

Everyone today prefers the 5/8″ over the ½” gypsum boards simply due to their durability.

The 5/8″ is thicker and doesn’t bow down when installed on the ceiling, even when the studs are spaced more than recommended.

This way, you get a much flatter ceiling regardless of the room size, something that you won’t get when you use thin gypsum boards that tend to bend.

The 5/8 also does a fantastic job when it comes to soundproofing. The more the mass, the more effective a material is in blocking noise transmission.

Verdict: The 5/8 is more durable and offers the best soundproofing result than the ½” inch wall panels.

3. Weight

The standard 5/8″ gypsum is heavier compared to the ½ inch drywall. That’s why you will need more people’s assistance when installing these panels in your home. However, with the advancement in technology, manufacturers have designed a 5/8″ drywall panel dubbed as USG UltraLight Firecode Tapered Edge Gypsum Board that’s lightweight compared to traditional 5/8″ thick drywall.

These state-of-the-art panels are 30% lighter, approximately 27 pounds lighter than their standard counterparts.

Weight reduction, however, doesn’t affect performance, durability, effectiveness, or even appearance.

The only downside with the USG Gypsum boards is that they’re not highly effective in noise reduction, fireproofing compared to the standard 5/8 boards.

If you’re not looking to soundproof or probably get the best material with good fireproofing ratings, then USG gypsum boards are the perfect choice for you.

They are perfect for anyone looking for improved strength and impact resistance, especially in commercial and high-end homes.

A standard 5/8″ sheet of gypsum board measuring 4×8 feet weighs 74 pounds.

4. Cost

I’m sure you probably think there’s a considerable price difference between the two types of drywall sheets. Well, the price difference per panel is quite negligible, and you’re better of with the 5/8″, taking durability and soundproofing capabilities into consideration.

Below is a table showing the price difference between the available drywall sheet sizes for both 1/2″ and 5/8-inch gypsum panels.

Type 4′ x 8′ 4′ x 12′
1/2″ $12 – $18 $15 – $24
5/8″ $14 – $20 $18 – $27

If you intend on doing a significant remodeling or soundproofing project, I would highly recommend you purchase in bulk, and you are most likely to get at wholesale prices or at a discounted price.

Pros And Cons Of 5/8″/15.9mm Drywall Panels

  • Good Sound Dampening– thicker Drywall gives the best performance restricting noise transmission.
  • Fire And Mold Resistance– they’re are thicker and more resistant to moisture than their counterparts.
  • No Sagging– because the 5/8″ is thick, you won’t experience sagging, unlike when using thin wall panels which bend easily.
  • Top-Notch Insulation– you get better insulation when using a thicker sheetrock panel than thin ones.

Cons:

The 5/8 sheetrock panels are much heavier than all other panels making them more challenging to install.

Additionally, they’re more expensive and less flexible and hence not ideal for curved surfaces where flexibility is much needed.

Pros And Cons Of 1/2 Inch Drywall Panels

You’d be surprised to learn that using thin drywall panels has advantages. The pros for the ½ drywall panels include:

  • Lighter- and hence easier to install them on your walls and ceiling
  • Affordable- making them perfect for anyone who’s on a budget.
  • More flexible- hence fantastic for curved surfaces

Unfortunately, they are bad for the ceiling as they tend to sag and droop with time. Additionally, they are less effective when it comes to soundproofing.

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