When the time comes to install the walls for your tiny house, it means it is the decision time: Should you use drywall in your tiny house, or should you look into other wall options?
Drywall (sheetrock) can be used in tiny houses, as long as enough attention is paid to total weight of the tiny house (including drywalls) and the proper drywall installation methods are used.
- Weight: Drywall is not the lightest option to use. If the tiny house will be on a trailer, the proper trailer needs to selected to be able to carry enough weight.
- Possible cracks: When the tiny house is on the road, if no prevention methods are used, the corners may chip and crack.
Some people are objecting the drywall usage for tiny house on wheels with those 2 reasons. However, with the modern and strong trailers’ production, and with special products’ usage, drywall usage is increasing in the latest years. We see more and more drywall applications on THOWs.
Let me go through the important points regarding drywall advantages, disadvantages, and drywall installation practices.
What Is Drywall?
Drywall is best defined as a flat panel made of calcium sulfate dihydrate (I just remembered my high school chemistry lessons 🙂 ).
Drywall is known by many other names in the market. These products all refer to the same:
- Sheetrock® (USG Product)
- Gyp Board
- Gypsum Board
- Plaster Board
- Wall Board
- Prison Panel
- Shera Board
Especially after 1940s, the drywall usage increased in US. At the moment, drywall is used in almost all homes.Embed from Getty Images
I would like to list some important drywall characteristics below, and mark the most proper ones for tiny house applications:
- Mold resistant: This type would be a good selection for tiny houses
- Moisture resistant
- Fire resistant
- Sound proof
- 4 * 8 ft.: This type is suggested for tiny house walls. They weight just over 50 lbs per panel. There is another version for light weight requirements: ultra-light half-inch drywall; which is about 37 lbs per panel.
- 4 * 10 ft
- 4 * 12 ft
- 1/4 inch
- 3/8 inch
- 1/2 inch: The most common type drywall
- 5/8 inch
How Many Drywall Panels Do I Need For A Tiny House and How Much They Weight
The usual question is, how many drywall sheets are needed for a tiny house? Without knowing the exact dimensions and exact interior design, it is impossible to calculate the need. However, for just giving you an idea, I have prepared a table with a couple different size tiny houses on wheels:
|THOW Size||Drywall for walls||Drywall for ceiling||Total requirement||Total weight|
|20 * 8 ft.||14||5||19 drywall panels||912 lbs|
|30 * 8 ft.||20||8||28 drywall panels||1.344 lbs|
|40 * 8 ft.||24||10||34 drywall panels||1.632 lbs|
The above table covers only the walls and the ceiling. Your actual need may be a little less or a little more than the numbers above; because of the windows, door, and any other possible walls (bathroom, wc) in the tiny house. Also, the calculation does not include any lofts.
How To Prevent Drywall Cracks in Tiny House On Wheels?
The drywall corners may chip and crack, especially in the tiny houses with lots of movements. However, there is a great solution, So the solution is using a product by Trim-Tex called Magic Corner.
This is what this product does: The Magic Corner’s exclusive expansion control eliminates edge cracking on all off-angle walls and vaulted ceilings.
I have contacted with them through their website, and have received a response from them just next day. They are responsive and willing to answer any questions you may have.
I would recommend using their products with flexible material (093V expansion, Hideaway expansion, magic corner, super seal tearaway) to minimize cracking in drywall when transporting the tiny houses, or in THOWs. You can find all of their products by visiting https://www.trim-tex.com. Enrique Perez is the Product Manager, and he was willing to help.
If you are like me, prefer watching an instruction video to understand the process better, here is your guide. Take a look, I’m sure you will like to detailed guidance:
What Are The Drywall Disadvantages In Tiny Houses?
- The default drywall type is not resistant to water. For better performance in tiny houses, water and moisture resistant drywall types should be used. These types of drywalls are often referred to as “greenboard” because they are green. If you are also concerned about mold, you should consider a mold-resistant drywall.
- The main disadvantage of drywalls for tiny house on wheels is their weight. A lightweight mold resistant 4-by-8 sheet of 1/2-inch drywall weighs 48 lbs. As you can see the table above, a 30 * 8 ft tiny house on wheels will use about 28 drywall panels, which will add 1.350 lbs to tiny house weight.
- Drywalls can be damaged easily. Considering the limited living space in tiny house, having accidents are too common. These possible accidents may damage the walls easily. During the installation phase, being extra careful is important – if you don’t want to damage the wall before it is installed.
- Drywalls are not as flexible as plaster, so installing drywall to curved surfaces is challenging (skoolies?) and may not achieve the desired results.
- Drywall on its own is not as durable as plaster.
- If recycling is important for you, you should know that drywalls are hard to recycle and more often than not, they are disposed on landfills, just because even though drywalls can be recycled; hard to find a place to recycle and people tend not to look for them.
- Even though drywall can be installed rather easily by DIYers; if installation and finishing isn’t done properly, you will have problems with the joints or tapes later.
- Drywall is not sound proof itself hence it needs sound insulation between two layers. [this may not be a real concern for tiny houses, since most of them don’t have any neighbors]
- Drywall cannot be erected freely on its own. some kind of framing is required for this purpose.
- Drywall has a lack of texture and character (for some people)
What Are The Drywall Advantages In Tiny Houses?
- Drywalls are fire resistant
- Even though drywalls can be damaged easily, they can be repaired easily as well. Holes can be patched very easily and quickly, even by not experienced DIYers.
- Installing drywalls is easy and fast. Drywalls come in standard sizes, but can be cut in any dimension / shape.
- Recessed lighting can be installed easily and anything can be hang with ease
- Drywall is easy to paint
- Drywall is uniform through outs it’s surface.
- You get uniformly smooth surfaces with drywalls, which is hard to achieve with normal plaster on a brick wall.
- Drywall is not expensive. As of today, 0,5 inch thick 4 * 8 panel ultralight mold resistant drywall is $15. If you have 30 * 8 tiny house, you will need 28 panels, which will cost $420.
Tiny House On Wheels Drywall Alternatives
Even though there are other drywall alternatives, in this table, I am listing only the alternatives for Tiny House On Wheels (THOW) structures.
|Plywood||Cheap, easy to work with. There are different types of plywood available||Not fire resistant, does not look natural|
|Plastic Panels||Simple install, easy to clean, mold resistant||May be a little more expensive|
|Tongue and Groove |
(Lumber, siding etc)
|Lath and Plaster||Look nice||Long process, not common anymore and may be more expensive|
|Cement boards||Moisture resistant||Heavier than drywall|
|Wood Planks||Cost effective||Some may not like their design|
|Veneer Plaster||Harder and smoother than drywall||Hard to install|
|Wahoo Walls||Waterproof, effective against mold||Heavier than drywall|
Do You Drywall Ceiling or Walls First?
The ceiling drywalls need to be installed first. Otherwise, you will end up with ceiling drywall that is unsupported along an entire edge. When you install the ceiling first, the wall drywalls will be supporting the ceiling weight.
Also; installing the ceiling drywalls first means you can lift the wall sheets to make a tighter joint. By contrast if you do the walls first you would have to sculpt every edge to make it seat tightly, or end up with lots of voids to fill before you tape. Lots of unnecessary work.Embed from Getty Images
And; as a personal experience, I can say that starting from ceiling is easier. In my first drywall installation experience, I didn’t make any research and started from the walls. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to do that. It is much easier to start from the ceiling.