Standard Drywall Thickness for Walls, Ceilings

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As the favorite go-to material for interior wall structures and ceilings, it’s a no-brainer that drywall is widely available in every local hardware store. The only problem is it comes in different types and sizes that can confuse construction newbies. 

In this post, we’ll lend a helping hand and guide you in selecting the right drywall thickness that’s suitable for your project. 

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 long as we did, 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. 

We 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

Most ¼-inch sheets typically suffer from sagging due to their flexibility, but did you know this attribute makes them the perfect choice when working on curved surfaces? Since it’s thin enough to follow the structure’s shape, you can slightly dampen it to enhance flexibility. 

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

If you’re working on ceilings for mid-sized residential constructions, the standard thickness of ½-inch should suffice. Most local hardware stores carry this drywall type, which comes in a wide range of length variations. 

Ideal Drywall Sheet Thickness for Fire-Rated Assemblies

Considering its thickness, most construction experts dubbed ⅝-inch drywall panels fire-resistant materials. Its specifications and attributes align with today’s building codes, so it’s more utilized in commercial applications than residential settings. 

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. 


Depending on the structure you’re working on, the drywall thickness you’ll need may change. While using any available material can be tempting, we’d like to note that not all installations have the same requirements. 

Some may need flexible panels, while others work best with boards with thicker composition and less likely to sag. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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