When your starting a construction or remodeling project, you might come across several kinds of drywall, each with their own properties and uses, but what is Blue Board Drywall, and when and where would you use it? Different environments and finishes call for different materials. Blue Board Drywall has several advantages over regular drywall.
How is Blue Board Drywall Different?
Like regular drywall paneling, blue board is made of a powdery-white or grey sulfite called gypsum but is covered in a blue paper specially made to bond with a special plaster. Blue board is cut and hung just like standard drywall, but unlike regular drywall, that needs to have joint compound applied and sanded, blue board is taped and joints are covered with plaster, then one or two coats of specially made plaster are applied to the entire wall. Blue board is quicker to install because the joints do not need to be mudded, like regular drywall, and the walls do not need to be primed and painted. Each step can happen one after another, unlike the traditional three-day process of mudding, sanding, priming and painting drywall. Blue board and plaster is also more sound-proof than regular drywall, and it is harder, reducing scratches, dings and dents.
There are other types of drywall that have specialty uses, just like blue board, including green board – used for it’s moisture resistance, purple drywall- for walls and ceiling that may come in contact with water, type X drywall- fire resistant and made with non-combustible material, paperless drywall- made with fiberglass instead of paper, and soundproof drywall- dense, laminated drywall used for it’s sound dampening properties. The type you choose depends on the application, your experience and what you’re willing to spend.
How is Blue Board Installed
The same tools are used on both blue board and regular drywall. Cutting and hanging is the same, and blue board can be secured with the same kind of drywall screws or nails. After installation, blue board does not need to be mudded or sanded. Quick tape is applied to the joints, then a layer of special plaster goes over the joints. The whole wall is then covered in one or two very thin layers of plaster. Plaster is left to dry for at least 48 hours. Because there is no waiting for joint compound to dry, and feathering corners and sanding THEN priming the wall, a significant amount of labor is saved. Applying the coats of venier does take a practiced hand, though, and if you’re not familiar with the tools and techniques, the time saving might be completely undone. Installing and finishing blue board is not a beginners drywalling project.
In general, plaster veneers look much cleaner than regular drywall Because of the high absorbency, the overall look is much smoother, joints are less noticeable and the plaster veneer is much harder and ding-resistant than typical drywall. The options for finishing the walls are more varied- you can give your rooms style and interest with custom textured plaster. Also not only does blue board plaster accepts paint without priming, but special paints and tints can also be added to the plaster directly, saving a lot of time vs. typical drywall.
Cost of Blue Board vs. Drywall
Blue board is more expensive than regular drywall. The sheets themselves run about 20% more than white paper drywall, and the plaster veneer material is only pricey. That’s just the materials themselves. If you are paying a crew to install and finish your drywall, you will be paying a premium for the skill and experience needed to mix and apply the plaster to blue board, especially if you want a textured wall and beautiful polish to the room. There is a reason that blue board is either used sparingly or in very high-end projects. On the other hand, the cost of labor for regular drywall installation is quite low, and regular dry wall remains is the overwhelming choice for most construction.
Is Blue Board Better?
There are a lot of qualities that make blue board a better choice for many applications. Blue board looks more polished and is a tougher finish. Spaces that see a lot of traffic could benefit from the harder finish of plaster veneer. However, is it the better choice for a shed, basement or closet? Definitely not. Blue Board is suited to places where moister will be an issue (like a bathroom), rooms that get a lot of use or are high traffic (like lobbies and maybe high-end kitchens) and design-heavy projects where aesthetic is very important. Blue board is also not the best material for a DIY-er or beginner to try and tackle. Likely, it will end up taking a novice much more time, and just like with regular drywall, mistakes made during installation will still carry through and show up in the finished product. If you don’t know how to apply plaster veneer, you won’t benefit from it’s polished look. Blue Board is better when it applied correctly and by a crew who knows what they’re doing.
There are several different types of drywall, each with pro and cons and each designed for a different purpose. Blue board is very much like regular drywall – internally made out of the same material, hung the same way, but covered in its namesake blue paper and made to pair with specially made plaster. Blue board allows for a variety of finishes, from simple paint jobs to textured walls. Blue board has added benefits of being more soundproof and more mold and water-resistant than regular drywall.
Regular drywall is still the most commonly used because it’s straight forward to install and inexpensive, but if you want to spring for blue board, you should be prepared to pay not just for the materials themselves, but for the expertise it takes to finish blue board professionally.
Consider your project, the location, size, use and your budget – there is an appropriate drywall product for the job.