7th Nov 2022 -

You might be asking yourself, just what is dry lining exactly? Well, it is simply a form of lining walls and ceilings with plasterboard as opposed to plaster, render or other types of ‘wet’ covering. 

The modern form of dry lining was created in the UK and first rose to prominence in the late 1800s. However, people have been lining insulation on their internal and external walls or ceilings for millennia.

Inuit societies still use skins from the animals they hunt for food to warm the inside of their homes, by lining them on the ice walls of their house. To help improve issues from cold and dampness during the Middle Ages, people would adorn the masonry walls of castles with rugs and tapestries (in addition to animal skins) for insulation. 

In modern times, manufacturers developed several innovations. For example, special manufacturing techniques and substances are added to plasterboard to provide certain characteristics. Examples include the following:

  • Ultra-lightweight: By using certain fibres or more loosely packed materials an extremely lightweight can be achieved, which is ideal for ceilings. Lighter weights also mean easy transport, which makes drywall useful for difficult-to-access areas - such as high floors.
  • Tapered edge designs: To prevent interstitial condensation between boards, a tapered edge can help prevent dampness in a wall. By using a tapered edge, you speed up installation time, which can reduce the costs of larger commercial or industrial projects. 

Traditional plastering, adding a layer of plaster to provide a smooth surface for walls and ceilings has also been used by humans for millennia. However, traditional plastering does not provide the same insulating benefits by itself and it is not as versatile when it comes to construction.

Before the invention of dry lining or plasterboard, a process using lath and plaster was the predominant technique for building internal walls. This involves using thin pieces of wood (laths) and plastering over them. Nowadays, the most common method for partitioning rooms, especially commercial buildings, is to construct metal stud and track frames, then dryline them with plasterboard.

Why Do People Use Dry Lining?

Dry lining is mainly used as a quicker, easier and often, cheaper way to construct walls as opposed to brickwork and plaster. The most common use for dry lining in the modern world is for partitioning. Using plasterboards fitted to a steel frame system allows for an easy, cost-effective way to build walls in the interior of a building. This is most common in office buildings where one large area can be partitioned into multiple offices. There are multiple words for this process such as partitioning, dry lining or even plasterboarding, but they are all effectively the same thing. Dry lining can also be used on existing walls or ceilings as an alternative to plastering.

Why Use Dry Lining Instead of Plastering?

Some people get confused by the differences between dry lining and plastering, perhaps because dry lining can itself be plastered. 

Essentially, plaster is ‘wet’ and applied to walls or ceilings to provide a smooth finish. This is usually applied to an existing wall or ceiling, which can then be decorated with paint, tiles, or other finishes. 

Dry lining is ‘dry’ as it uses plasterboard. Plasterboards can be used to cover both existing and newly constructed walls and ceilings. A dry-lining frame system forms the structure of the wall itself, which can then be fitted with plasterboards to construct a completed wall or partition. This can then be finished by plastering and decorating. Painting or wallpapering directly on the plasterboard is also an option but will require tape and joint finishing, depending on the type of method you choose.

In most cases, there is no need to decide in favour of one or the other in construction - as lined walls can often still benefit from the versatility a plaster finish delivers.

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What is the Difference Between Dry Lining and Plasterboard?

Dry lining is generally considered to be the process of lining or constructing walls with plasterboard. It can also be referred to as partitioning or plasterboarding. There are other terms in use for plasterboard itself, including buster board, custard board, gypsum board, gypsum panel, sheetrock, or wallboard. It can be confusing, and there are variations between different types of plasterboard - but overall, they achieve the same goal.

What are Dry Lining Boards Made From? 

Plasterboard is made from gypsum, a mineral composed of hydrated calcium sulfate. It is an extremely versatile substance that is also the key ingredient in plaster. After mixing with various bits of plastic, paper or foam - the plasterboard is ready for installation. Other additives that strengthen or add some other quality, such as damp resistance or sound insulation can also be added to the board. 

Typically the materials are combined and pressed into a board, which will be lightweight and have a set width, thickness and length. One of the more popular uses for plasterboard is for insulation.  It is common to dryline cavity walls that contain insulation between the boards.  

A construction worker wearing a white t-shirt, blue trousers, gloves and a yellow hard hat installing plasterboard on a wall in front of wool insulation.

Is Dry Lining Used For Insulation?

Dry lining is indeed used for insulation, which takes us back to the history section mentioned earlier, where people lined their walls primarily for more warmth. Today, people still use dry lining to insulate a building, making it more comfortable for the people inside. 

Some of the main benefits of insulated plasterboard include the following: 

  • Energy efficiency: Insulation makes interiors more energy efficient - and is useful for both walls and ceilings. As such, it can be used to create better fuel efficiency within a building - thereby reducing energy costs. Energy efficiency makes drywall a popular investment for homeowners.
  • Climate comfort: Insulated plasterboards help to provide better comfort during the winter, as well as helping to keep walls cool in the summer. Plasterboarding can also be useful for issues with dampness, condensation, and other potentially hazardous environmental problems.
  • Sound insulation: A great benefit of plasterboard is mitigating the effects of noise pollution. Specific types of drywall offer excellent sound insulation, with minimal differences in the overall thickness. Many varieties are made to deliver multiple benefits at once, such as sound and moisture resistance.
  • High strength: Many varieties of plasterboard and steel frames are designed to deliver a very high strength, which is ideal for commercial and industrial buildings. High-density plasterboard is also useful for buildings such as schools, libraries, and other public spaces
  • Cost-effective: Another reason people use dry lining for insulation is that it is extremely cost-effective. With a low price and a swift installation process, dry lining is considered one of the most essential parts of many construction projects.

Quality Dry Lining Supplies Delivered

Overall, dry lining is one of the most popular forms of construction in the UK and is used by partitioners and builders to renovate properties for all types of industries. It is used widely in both the commercial and residential sectors and is known for its versatility and ease of construction. It can be used for extremely small jobs, such as lining a bathroom wall, or huge projects such as fitting out an entire office complex.

We stock a range of plaster & plasterboard products through our website, perfect for a range of projects. For professionals, our trade account managers can source you exactly what you need, delivering in bulk to you or your site at a brilliant trade price. Sign up for a trade account today, or tell us what you need through the form below.

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