The Future of Drywall: The Latest Trends and What They Mean for Your Home
Drywall, also known as gypsum wallboard or plasterboard, is a material that has been used for home construction and other purposes for decades. In fact, it’s been in widespread use since the early 19th century. To this day, drywall is one of the most widely used materials in residential homes and commercial properties alike. But what will this versatile material look like in the future? As new technologies emerge and old trends come back into fashion, we are seeing an increased interest in drywall as a construction material. New uses for drywall are being discovered all the time. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how things might change with regard to drywall moving forward.
More Durable Materials for Drywall
In the future, drywall won’t just be made from gypsum, but from a variety of different materials. One particularly promising alternative is fiber-reinforced plastic. FRP is a common building material in aircraft, bridges, and other large-scale projects. This durable, lightweight material can be made in the same thicknesses and dimensions as drywall, making it a great alternative for construction. Another option that is gaining popularity is WBP, or wood-based panels. This type of material is made from recycled materials, such as sawdust and scrap wood. WBP is a great choice for eco-friendly construction. WBP panels are less resilient than FRP, but they are considerably less expensive as well. They are also more resistant to moisture damage. While these materials may not be as cheap or readily accessible as gypsum, they are a great alternative for long-lasting construction.
3D Printing For Improved Construction Processes
We’ve seen 3D printing make its way into several different industries, and construction is no exception. While materials like FRP can make great alternatives for drywall, 3D printing has some distinct advantages. Construction processes that rely on drywall often require the building of a physical frame and the pouring of concrete to create the final flooring surface. While these methods are effective for some types of construction, they are time-consuming and costly. Using 3D printing to create the same frameworks and surfaces can help to speed up the process, saving on labor and material costs. For example, a contractor will often use 4×4 wooden posts to support a ceiling. With wooden posts, however, you will need to leave space for wiring and pipes. With 3D printing, you can simply build the posts to fit the space exactly. This not only saves time, but also room, money, and effort.
Better Fire Protection
As a building material, drywall is highly flammable. This is because gypsum is a natural mineral that is extremely combustible. This is especially problematic in the case of earthquakes, which can cause dust and other materials to ignite and burn through the drywall. In fact, estimates suggest that up to 80% of earthquake-related fires are caused by drywall. To combat this, there are several different ways that researchers are experimenting with. One solution is to coat the drywall with a fire-resistant material. This can be done in a number of ways, including spraying the walls with an accelerant or covering the drywall with a fire-retardant substance. Another option is to use a different material altogether. Newer, more durable materials, like FRP and WBP, are naturally fire-resistant.
Wireless Controls and Automation
Something that has been discussed, but not implemented, is the use of radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags on the drywall sheets. This would allow for certain wall segments to sense and control other linked devices, like lights, fans, and more. This could allow homeowners to more easily control their lighting and other utilities, making it easier to automate the home. Currently, there is research being done to explore the use of more common technologies, like Zigbee and Z-Wave. These are already used in smart home devices, like smart speakers and thermostats. With drywall being such a common material, it would be easy to implement these devices throughout the home. This would allow homeowners to control their lights, devices, and more all from a single app and would make it easier to automate the home.
Smarter Homes Using Drywall
Another possible future trend is that drywall could be used to build “smarter” homes. There are many different materials being used in home construction that could be repurposed or used with new technologies to create truly intelligent structures. This could mean using IoT technologies (like Zigbee and Z-Wave) to monitor the home and detect issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. This would make it easier to troubleshoot issues as they arise and make long-term home maintenance easier. It could also mean building homes that are easier to customize and expand as your needs change. For example, you could have a wall built out of drywall and easily remove a section to install a new outlet or wiring. With its versatility and ease of use, drywall could be the perfect material for creating truly smart homes.
Drywall is an essential building material that is widely used for a variety of applications. While it is effective in many ways, it is also flammable, leading to serious danger during natural disasters like earthquakes. With new technologies and materials, however, there is a lot of potential to improve on this tried-and-true construction method. In the future, drywall could be made from a variety of different materials, including fiber-reinforced plastic, wood-based panels, and more. These materials provide drywall with more durability and resistance to damage. We could also see an increased use of 3D printing for more efficient construction processes. These methods would make the process faster, less expensive, and easier. Finally, the use of wireless controls and automation through smart home devices could allow homeowners to easily customize and monitor their properties.
Contact RGZ Cambridge today for all your drywall needs: We are industry leaders in Commercial and Residential projects. Call us today: 613-695-5544 or reach us via this page.