How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Watching how drywall is made may sound akin to watching paint dry, but let me tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth! It is a very cool process to observe! Plus, I’m about to rock your world by sharing how Purple drywall can change your home for the better. Last month I had the honor of touring one of the National Gypsum manufacturing plants to learn about Purple drywall and how drywall is manufactured. After the experience, I have a whole new appreciation for drywall.

This is a sponsored post for Ask For Purple, a National Gypsum line of products. 

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

I never thought about how drywall is manufactured, and I bet you never did either. But, now that I know, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve watched being made. Drywall starts with a natural product called gypsum.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Some gypsum is harvested from quarries, but a large portion is actually a by product from coal burning power plants. Instead of the by product being discarded, National Gypsum uses it in drywall. This is just one way National Gypsum thinks green. They have been using recycled paper for their products since the 1960’s! And there is one more way National Gypsum is working to protect the planet. National Gypsum has developed Purple drywall that is moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. This means less water and mold damage in homes keeping construction debris from landfills. In addition, within the line of Purple drywall products, are sheets that stand up to abuse and impact. This means any home that installs Purple drywall products may never have to replace the drywall. You’ll definitely want to read more about this revolutionary product further down the page. But, first, back to how drywall is made.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

The rock you see above is gypsum rock. When crushed it turns into a powder. The powder is mixed with water, starch and …

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

… tiny fiberglass fibers to improve the strength of the core. In the old days, horse hair was used as a strengthener in plaster and other products.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

This slurry is pumped out onto a giant conveyor belt where it is sandwiched between two sheets. During the tour, we were handed a fresh cup of slurry as it was pumped out onto the drywall paper. As we walked along the super long conveyor belt, the slurry heated up and solidified within two minutes. (If you’ve ever used plaster of paris, it hardens through a similar chemical reaction.) Once the gypsum is hardened enough, the sheets are flipped over (wall side up to prevent damage) as they head into the heated dryers to fully dry for about 45 minutes.

After the sheets dry and harden, they continue on a series of conveyors until they are eventually cut to final size and banded together with a second sheet of drywall. The finished sheets are stacked up until the stack is complete. Several forklifts run a non-stop choreographed dance back and forth picking up the stacks of drywall and delivering them for storage or shipping. It was a sight to see!

I didn’t take any videos and photos inside the plant, but you can view this How It’s Made video showing the manufacturing process for making drywall.

In the video, you get a feel for the magnitude of the equipment, but I bet you didn’t realize the plant is a mile long! The most incredible thing about the plant tour is how few people work at one time. Less than 15 people work on the floor at a time! Remember when I said the plant was a mile long? The size of the plant and the number of people working in it seems disproportionate. It was impressive to watch the entire process.

What’s with that Purple Drywall?

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that stack of purple drywall at your local home improvement store. In the past, I looked at it, then reached for the less expensive sheets thinking they were the same. Boy was I wrong! After learning about the difference between Purple XP® drywall and regular, I will be choosing Purple from now on. Why?

In one picture, this is why:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Those black spots on the floor, ceiling, and drywall are black mold. If it was just on the linoleum, it could be cleaned. Once mold grows in drywall the only remedy is to remove and trash it. I don’t even want to think about how many tons of drywall waste goes into the landfill because it got wet or grew mold.

There is a solution to the problem: Purple XP® drywall products! They are moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. It makes sense to spend a few extra dollars to insure your walls will last longer and won’t secretly harbor allergens or harmful mold.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Did you know regular drywall begins growing mold and mildew within 24 hours of water exposure. The Purple drywall will resist moisture and prevent mold growth. I really wish I had known about Purple drywall when we had our kitchen leak. Had I learned about Purple drywall before that experience I would have insisted on Purple for the new drywall installed in the kitchen and laundry room.

Luckily we learn from our mistakes and I’ll be ordering a fair amount of Purple drywall for Etta (in full disclosure, National Gypsum will supply a portion of the drywall for my project as a Saving Etta sponsor.)

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Moisture, mold, and mildew-resistance only scratches the surface (pun intended). What if I told you there was a drywall that resists dings, scratches, and daily abuse?

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

What you see above is the Hi-Abuse XP® drywall after being put to the test on a wire abrasion machine. The same machine dug deep into the traditional drywall. Amazing, right! This is a game changer for those of us living with little wall destroying monsters (I mean lovable children.)

For those larger wall destroying monsters (think teenagers, college students, and frat houses), there’s a drywall for them too! Wall-punching party animals meet Hi-Impact XP®!

The Hi-Impact XP drywall has webbing integrated into the drywall sheets that holds firm against just about anything. This is a game changer for many locations. Think about gyms, ski lodges, garages, and more. Any space that gets daily abuse can benefit from this wall board.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

The folks at National Gypsum showed us a test where they released a 150 lb. dead weight against the Hi-Impact XP. The drywall cracked, but the weighted hammer could not break through. Anyone who has patched holes in drywall can tell you it’s a lot easier to repair a dent in drywall than a hole.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Finally, I’m super amped (another pun intended) to introduce you to SoundBreak XP! This is the drywall I wish they had when I lived in an old Philadelphia apartment building where I could hear every word spoken in the next apartment. In the summer I used to go nuts listening to the whomp, whomp, whomp sounds of an unbalanced ceiling fan in the next room as I tried to fall asleep. To everyone who ever wanted to reach through a wall and strangle your neighbor, I introduce to you SoundBreak XP®:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

See those two layers? There is a viscoelastic membrane that separates the two and does an amazing job at blocking noise.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

For those of you that are near tears right now because you don’t want to replace your drywall, dry those eyes. Here’s your hero:

SoundBreak XP Retrofit® is designed to be added on top of your existing walls. At only 5/16″ thick, it’s easy to secure to your existing drywall (after removing switch and outlet covers) and reduce noise immediately. I would have invested in this product for certain back in my apartment dwelling days.

I hope you learned more about Purple drywall and have the information to make informed choices during your next remodel or if you are investing in a new house. By the way, should you need help figuring out how much drywall you’ll need for that project, the AskForPURPLE site has a Material calculator to help you figure out how much drywall you need.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for National Gypsum and Ask for Purple. I was compensated for my time and travel. I was not told what to say, all opinions are my own. As always I only work with brands that I would use myself.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

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69 replies
« Older CommentsNewer Comments »
  1. Nancy Blaschke
    Nancy Blaschke says:

    (Okay, how did I not see this til now?) I’ll give a whoop AND holler! We’re not currently planning any reno, but will have to look into Purple XP® drywall for future reference. I’m getting grossed out just thinking about how much mold and mildew could be in our family house (built 1800s).

    Reply
  2. s t a r l a (@mmstarla)
    s t a r l a (@mmstarla) says:

    So many benefits of each of these, hard decision! I think I would go ahead with the Hi-Impact XP! This sounds like it will hold up very well in my zoo, I mean home. Calm home. 🙂 / starla.batesATyahooDOTcom

    Reply
  3. Tanyaa Haines
    Tanyaa Haines says:

    Right now I would use the basic purple drywall – I have a bathroom remodel in my near future and this would be perfect for it as well as for a future kitchen remodel. I wish I had known about the sound break – this would have been a perfect solution for the basement ceiling we just redid a few months ago!

    Reply
  4. Kasey Miller
    Kasey Miller says:

    Thanks for the info. I would love to use the purple XP hi abuse in my little Fixer-upper in Galveston (a1900 Storm survivor). It would be perfect for the kitchen and bath and laundry area.

    Reply
  5. someluckydog
    someluckydog says:

    We want to remove our fiberglass tub/showetr combination and put in a tiled shower, perfect for purple drywall!

    Reply
  6. Beth
    Beth says:

    Hi-abuse would be great in my house. I live in a small bungalow and the men in the home are pretty hard on things, in a sort of bull in a china shop sort of way 🙂

    Reply
  7. Heather S
    Heather S says:

    The high impact would have been great for repairing our basement stairwell! We wouldn’t have to be quite so careful bringing things up and down the stairs.

    Reply
  8. Tammara
    Tammara says:

    All of the products are great. Im thinking Soundbreakxp would be good to use in the bathroom between the kitchen/living room.

    Reply
  9. Michele D
    Michele D says:

    I want to use the soundbreàk purple drywall. I have 2 teenage girls in the house. Enough said. Purple is my favorite color so it’s a no brained.

    Reply
  10. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    I am so ready to replace huge sections of drywall in my townhouse with High-Impact Purple XP drywall! I have mold and mildew issues in the original walls from moisture and poor quality construction, so I am more than ready to rip it ALL out and replace it with this fantastic alternative! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Sewducky
    Sewducky says:

    I’d use the basic purple, for my bath remodel, I’ve put off fixing my drywall (after wallpaper removal) for far too long. If the bath was done, then the soundproof for replacing my celings of a stomped texture.

    Reply
  12. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I would love the SoundBreak XP we live in a townhouse and can hear the neighbor kids at all hours of the night.

    Reply
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