Standard Drywall Thickness for Walls, Ceilings

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Drywall, a staple in constructing interior walls and ceilings, is readily accessible at most local hardware stores. However, with an array of types and sizes, it can be daunting for those new to the construction scene to make the right choice.

In this article, I aim to assist you by offering a clear and comprehensive guide to help you choose the appropriate drywall thickness for your specific project needs.

Standard Thickness of Drywall Sheets

Like it or not, thickness is crucial when buying drywall sheets. Thinner materials may seem light and flexible, but did you know they’re also prone to breaking? 

Meanwhile, panels with thicker attributes offer more durability and strength that suits the needs of inner walls and ceilings. 

installing drywall

If you’ve been in the construction industry, you’ll know that today’s market offers four types of drywall thicknesses. Here are the options you can consider: 

If you’re on a tight budget, the most economical drywall selection you can consider is the ¼” sheet. Not only is this material suitable for curved inner walls, but it’s also lighter than others. 

Although ¾-inch drywall panels have the perfect thickness for remodeling, ½-inch materials are still the standard options because they work well with wood and steel frames. Meanwhile, the ⅝” thickest selections are common materials for construction and soundproofing.

Thinnest Drywall Available


As the thinnest of the bunch, ¼-inch drywall sheets aren’t as widely used as other panel options. The main reason for it is that it only weighs 38 lbs. Because of this attribute, the material is more prone to breaking and bending than you think. 

I won’t encourage using drywall this thin for wall and ceiling projects. However, its thinness can be advantageous for double-walling projects and other structures needing additional panel layering. 

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for General Uses

As previously mentioned, ½-inch drywall sheets are the most common materials in typical construction applications. It’s also the panel with the broadest availability in different stores and platforms. 

Besides being strong enough to handle interior ceiling and wall constructions, it’s not as heavy as the thickest drywall panel. Its minimal weight makes lifting easier for installations and eliminates the need for an additional workforce. 

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Curved Surfaces

The flexibility of ¼-inch drywall sheets, while often leading to sagging on flat surfaces, is actually an advantage when it comes to curved structures. Due to its thinness, it can conform to the contours of a curved area. 

To further increase its malleability, you can lightly moisten the sheet, which allows it to bend even more easily, making it an ideal choice for creating smooth curves in your construction projects.

finishing drywall

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Lamination of Existing Surfaces

Another application where ¼-inch drywall panels shine the most is double-walling or laminating existing structures. Instead of tearing the current construction, you can insulate this material as an additional layer to improve soundproofing [1]

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Patches

Remodeling or restoring a structure includes fixing patches, and ⅜-inch drywall materials have the sturdiness and rigidness suitable for this task. It has more lightness than ½-inch panels and the durable properties you can’t find on ¼-inch options. 

Before ½” drywall sheets became the standard, ⅜-inch was the typical construction material thickness for decades. Due to this, you’ll notice some old structures made of this panel size. Nowadays, the problem with this selection is its not widely available on the market. 

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Ceilings

For ceiling installations in medium-sized residential projects, the typical choice is ½-inch thick drywall. This variant is readily available at most local hardware retailers and comes in various lengths to accommodate different project sizes. 

This thickness provides a good balance between durability and ease of handling, making it a common choice for home construction.

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Fire-Rated Assemblies

Due to its substantial thickness, ⅝-inch drywall panels are often recognized as fire-resistant by construction professionals. Their properties comply with contemporary building regulations, making them more commonly employed in commercial construction rather than residential. 

These panels provide enhanced fire protection, aligning with safety standards required for many public and commercial buildings.

painting drywall

These boards also carry stiffer constructions, making them less vulnerable to sagging. Thanks to this, you won’t have issues using them as materials for ceilings. 


Should you use 1/2 or 5/8 drywall for walls?

You should use ½” drywall for walls in residential construction because it has the right weight and durability suited for the application. However, you should use ⅝” boards in commercial applications for better insulation and enhanced fire safety.

What is the actual thickness of 1/2 inch drywall?

The actual thickness of ½-inch drywall is 7/16-inch. You may not know, but these materials undergo lengthy manufacturing processes that cause them to shred some dimensions. 


The thickness of drywall required can vary depending on the particular demands of the structure in question. It may be appealing to opt for whatever material is on hand, but it’s important to understand that different installations call for different specifications.

Some structures may benefit from more flexible panels, while others necessitate thicker, sturdier boards to prevent sagging. Each type serves a unique purpose and selecting the correct one is critical for the longevity and stability of your project.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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