Gypsum Plasterboard

Gypsum Plasterboard
This Information Sheet describes the types of gypsum plasterboards currently available, their
performance characteristics and typical areas of use. It also contains advice on handling and
storage. Appendix A includes a list of proprietary products available from the UK plasterboard
The three UK plasterboard manufacturers – British Gypsum, Knauf Drywall and Siniat – supply
a wide range of gypsum boards as well as partition, lining, ceiling and floor systems
incorporating these products, which can meet most design requirements. There are also other
companies marketing proprietary systems using gypsum plasterboards. It is particularly
important that reference is made to the manufacturers or suppliers literature for specific
performance information and associated fixing recommendations. Their advice should always
be sought where it is intended to use products or systems in non-standard applications.
The generic term plasterboard is used for a range of gypsum boards designed for specific
applications. For example, in addition to standard wallboard and baseboard there are fire and
moisture resistant grades; boards with a metallised polyester foil backing for vapour check
purposes; boards designed to provide resistance to X-Rays; boards with a PVC facing for lining
and ceiling installations; boards designed to give enhanced impact resistance and others to
provide better sound insulation compared with the standard products. Also available in a
range of sizes are composite panels for use as thermal linings consisting of plasterboard to
which insulants are bonded.
The selection of the most appropriate product and its fixing method will depend on the
intended use of the building, the required performance levels and the preferred type of finish.
The manufacturer’s fixing recommendations should be followed at all times.
The standard gypsum board product with a front face of ivory paper suitable to receive direct
decoration or gypsum plaster. It is available with square, tapered or bevelled edges in a
variety of sizes.
Tapered edge boards are used for taping and filling to achieve a flush finish or for a single coat
gypsum plaster finish.
Square edge boards are used for textured finishes or undecorated applications as well as being
suitable to receive gypsum plaster.
Bevelled edge boards are used for featured joints.
Special note
Historically, when standard wallboard was intended to be used as a base for plaster, the
boards were recommended to be fixed with the back (grey) side out. It should be noted that
the plasterboard manufacturers now recommend that board finish or multi-finish gypsum
plasters should be applied to the front (ivory) face of the board, ie the side without a paper
Vapour check wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard backed with metallised polyester foil for wall and ceiling linings which
enables the lining and the vapour check membrane to be fixed in one operation. It should be
noted that vapour check plasterboards must not be direct bonded.
A 19 mm thick version of wallboard. Available with an ivory grey or brown front paper liner
with square edges for undecorated applications, and a tapered edge version with an ivory
front paper liner for direct decoration. Used for, the first layer in metal stud separating walls
and as the in-fill board for floor systems. Supplied 600mm wide and in a variety of lengths.
Fire resistant wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard with greater fire protection properties than standard wallboard. The
gypsum plaster core contains glass fibre and other additives. The pink coloured front paper
liner is suitable for direct decoration or to receive a gypsum plaster finish. Supplied with
tapered or square edges in 12.5 and 15mm thicknesses and 1200mm widths and in various
lengths up to 3600mm. Also supplied with metallised polyester foil on the back of the board
for use where vapour control is required.
Moisture resistant wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard with an additive in the core which is enclosed in water-repellent green
coloured paper liners. It is suitable for use in kitchens, bathrooms and other applications that
require resistance to the effects of moisture and humidity. It is also an ideal base for ceramic
tiles. Supplied 1200 mm wide in various lengths and thicknesses. It should be noted that
moisture resistant boards should not be plastered without pre-treatment of a suitable bonding
Fire resistant-moisture resistant wallboard
A fire resistant tapered edge plasterboard with additives in the core. Depending on the
manufacturer, these boards are supplied with either pink or green coloured water repellent
paper liners. Used for the face lining in shaftwall systems to provide fire protection and
temporary moisture protection during construction. Also used for wall lining and partition
systems where both fire protection and moisture resistance are required. Supplied 3000mm
long x 1200mm wide in 12.5 and 15mm thicknesses. It should be noted that fire resistantmoisture resistant boards should not be plastered without pre-treatment of a suitable bonding
Core board
A version of fire resistant-moisture resistant wallboard with square edges and green coloured
paper liners supplied in 19 and 25mm thicknesses. Used as the central board component in
shaftwall systems for lift and staircase enclosures to provide fire protection and temporary
moisture protection during construction. Supplied in one size 3000 x 600mm.
Impact resistant plasterboard
A gypsum plasterboard with a heavy duty mustard or ivory coloured paper face and a higher
density core compared to standard wallboard. Designed to provide an enhanced impact
resistant surface where wall lining and partition systems are to be installed in high traffic
areas. Supplied with tapered edges in lengths 2400 and 3000mm x 1200mm and in
thicknesses of 12.5, 13 and 15mm. Also available in a moisture resistant grade, 2400 x 1200 x
Acoustic wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard with a higher density core than standard wallboard with blue coloured
paper liners; used for wall lining and partition systems where improved sound insulation is
required. Supplied with tapered edges for taping and jointing or a gypsum plaster finish;
available 1200mm wide and in various lengths from 2400 to 3000mm in 12.5mm, 13mm and
15mm thicknesses.
Acoustic moisture resistant wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard with a higher density core than standard wallboard with blue coloured
paper liners and core additives; used for wall lining and partition systems in areas such as
kitchens, bathrooms and other areas that require resistance to the effect of moisture and
where improved sound insulation is required. Supplied with tapered edges for taping and
jointing or a gypsum plaster finish; available 1200mm wide and in various lengths from 2400 to
3000mm in 12.5mm, 13mm and 15mm thicknesses. It should be noted that acoustic moisture
resistant boards should not be plastered without pre-treatment of a suitable bonding agent.
Plastics faced wallboard
A square edge plasterboard faced with a smooth white PVC film and backed with a vapour
check membrane; for use in suspended ceiling and lining systems. Supplied in various lengths,
600mm wide x 12.5mm thickness.
X Ray wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard with a higher density core than standard wallboard with ivory coloured
paper liners and a barium sulphate additive within the core. Used for wall lining and partitions
which require protection from X-Rays. Supplied with round bevelled edges in one size
2500mm x 625mm.
Flexible wallboard
A lightweight, high strength 6mm thick gypsum plasterboard with glass fibre rovings in the
core. Facilitates the creation of curved features in wall linings, partitions and ceilings.
Supplied in 1200mm widths and 2400 and 3000mm lengths.
Perforated wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard available with various edge profiles and circular, square or rctangular
perforations in random or pattern designs for use in suspended ceilings or wall lining systems
to provide sound absorption.
Pre-decorated wallboard
A gypsum plasterboard using a pre-sealed paper liner with a purpose designed coating which
eliminates the need for sealing on site. Used with colour-matched joint cements.
Plasterboard laminate (thermal laminates)
A composite panel manufactured by bonding one of a range of insulants to gypsum
plasterboard, with or without a water vapour check membrane. Insulants include expanded
polystyrene foam, extruded polystyrene foam, mineral wool, rigid polyurethane,
polyisocyanurate foam and phenolic foam. The thermal insulation performance varies
according to the type of insulant, its thickness, its application and system employed.
Surface spread of flame
The exposed surfaces of gypsum plasterboard are designated Class 1 when tested to BS 476-7:
1987 (1993).
Class 0
Gypsum plasterboard is Class 0. Although not defined in British Standards, the Building
Regulations refer to Class 0 when restricting the reaction to fire performance of wall and
ceiling linings to certain applications. Plasterboard, therefore, can be used in circulation
spaces (which are often escape routes) and other specific situations, in accordance with
Building Regulations Approved Document B.
Fire resistance
A range of elements incorporating gypsum plasterboard of different types and thicknesses is
available to achieve generally from 30 minutes fire resistance up to four hours with specially
designed systems, when tested in accordance with BS 476 and BS EN 1364.
There is a range of gypsum plasterboard systems available to achieve various levels of
performance with regard to sound insulation and sound absorption using products mentioned
previously, details of which can be obtained from the manufacturers.
For more specific information on fire protection and acoustics relating to the use of gypsum
plasterboard reference should be made to the manufacturers’ literature. Guidance on general
principles with regard to building acoustics can be found in Fact File information sheet –
Building Acoustics.
Identification of plasterboards
BSEN 520:2004 (2009) Gypsum plasterboard: classifies plasterboards into various types. The
principal products described in this Information Sheet and their types are as follows:
BSEN520;2004 (2009)
Acoustic Wallboard
A, D
Impact Resistant Wallboard
A, D, F, I, R
Fire Resistant Wallboard
A, D, F
Core Board
A,D, F, H1
Moisture Resistant Wallboard
A, H1
Fire Resistant-Moisture Resistant Wallboard
A, D, F, H1
Materials handling and storage
Time, labour and materials can be saved by handling plasterboard correctly and by ensuring
that delivery times, quantities and unloading points fit in with work schedules. Plasterboard
and accessories should be kept dry at all times.
Site layout
Where appropriate, clearly signposted hard access lanes and turning areas should be provided
for vehicles between the road, central store and work areas.
Typically, plasterboards are delivered on rigid or articulated flat-bed lorries, arranged in two
tonne lifts. The responsibility for off-loading rests with the contractor, subcontractor, trade
specialist or as otherwise defined in the contract. Four men are normally required to off-load
the average delivery of plasterboard. On large sites it may be practical to use a forklift truck of
minimum two tonnes lift capacity. The boards should be off-loaded at one central point on
firm, level ground and subsequently taken to the work point as and when required.
Some suppliers are able to make available self-unloading vehicles using forklift trucks or other
lifting equipment which travel with the vehicle and are operated by the vehicle’s driver.
Most gypsum products are available from manufacturers with re-usable plastic hoods in
standard lifts (approximately two tonnes) or, by special arrangement, in one tonne lifts. Plastic
hoods are not intended to provide long term protection against moisture or inclement
weather. Plasterboards (and accessories) should not be moved during wet weather unless
adequately protected.
Phasing of work
Most commonly used plasterboards are readily available either directly from the manufacturer
or from merchant stockists. However, it is advisable to seek confirmation of delivery dates
and times from the supplier. To avoid damage, storage times should be kept as short as
When boards are manually off-loaded or stacked, they should be carried on edge, two men to
a board or pair of boards. They should not be carried with their surfaces horizontal as this will
impose an undesirable strain on the core. When a board is handled, the long edge should be
placed down before it is turned to the horizontal. Boards should not be dragged over each
other as this can scuff the surface. Standard wallboards are sometimes supplied in pairs with
the decorative surfaces together for protection; the pairs should not be separated until
required for use.
With care, plasterboard is suitable for mechanical handling. However, slings and ropes should
not be used on their own as they can damage board edges. Where boards are to be lifted
mechanically or moved by a dumper truck or similar vehicle they should be stacked flat on a
platform which should be large enough to prevent overhang. The platform should be clean,
dry and have no projections. Safety retaining ropes or slings should be used with hoists or
cranes. When using a forklift truck, no attempt should be made to split stacks of board by
forcing the forks into the stack edge.
Appendix A
Proprietary plasterboard products available from UK plasterboard manufacturers
(This list is not exhaustive)
British Gypsum
Knauf Drywall
Siniat Ltd
Gyproc WallBoard
Knauf Wallboard
Siniat Standard WallBoard
Gyproc WallBoard DUPLEX
Knauf Plank
Siniat Plank
Gyproc WallBoard 4TE
Knauf Baseboard
Siniat Lath
Gyproc HandiBoard
Knauf Fireshield
Siniat Baseboard
Gyproc SoundBloc
Knauf Fire Moistureshield
Siniat Firecheck
Gyproc SoundBloc MR
Knauf Vapourshield
Siniat Vapourcheck
Gyproc SoundBloc RAPID
Knauf Moistureshield
Siniat Moisturecheck
Gyproc SoundBloc RAPID MR
Knauf Core Board
Siniat Firecheck
Gyproc WallBoard TEN
Knauf Impact Panel
Siniat Toughcheck
Gyproc Plank
Knauf Soundshield
Siniat dBcheck
Gyproc TriLine
Knauf Sound Moistureshield
Siniat Moisture Resistant
Gyproc FireLine
Knauf Thermal Laminate
Siniat Contour Wallboard
Gyproc FireLine DUPLEX
Knauf Thermal Laminate
Siniat Acoustic Homespan
Gyproc FireLine MR
Knauf Thermal Laminate Plus
Siniat Predeco
Gyproc CoreBoard
Knauf PIR Laminate
Siniat Megadeco
Gyproc DuraLine
Knauf Apertura Perforated
Siniat Thermalcheck
Gyproc DuraLine MR
Knauf Safeboard
Siniat Thermalcheck XP
Gyproc Moisture Resistant
Knauf Futurepanel
Siniat Thermalcheck K
ThermaLine BASIC
Echeck Wallboard
ThermaLine PLUS
Multicheck Wallboard
ThermaLine SUPER
A range of components and accessories, including fixings, jointing materials, primers, beads,
trims and tools are available from each of the above manufacturers.
NOTE: Similar products to some of the composites listed above, eg thermal laminates and dry
partition panels, are also manufactured by other companies and sold under different brand
Acknowledgement: This information was originally produced in 2000. Thanks are due to British
Gypsum, Knauf Drywall and Siniat for their valuable assistance in updating it.