How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

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How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Watching how drywall is made may sound akin to watching paint dry, but let me tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth! It is a very cool process to observe! Plus, I’m about to rock your world by sharing how Purple drywall can change your home for the better. Last month I had the honor of touring one of the National Gypsum manufacturing plants to learn about Purple drywall and how drywall is manufactured. After the experience, I have a whole new appreciation for drywall.

This is a sponsored post for Ask For Purple, a National Gypsum line of products. 

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

I never thought about how drywall is manufactured, and I bet you never did either. But, now that I know, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve watched being made. Drywall starts with a natural product called gypsum.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Some gypsum is harvested from quarries, but a large portion is actually a by product from coal burning power plants. Instead of the by product being discarded, National Gypsum uses it in drywall. This is just one way National Gypsum thinks green. They have been using recycled paper for their products since the 1960’s! And there is one more way National Gypsum is working to protect the planet. National Gypsum has developed Purple drywall that is moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. This means less water and mold damage in homes keeping construction debris from landfills. In addition, within the line of Purple drywall products, are sheets that stand up to abuse and impact. This means any home that installs Purple drywall products may never have to replace the drywall. You’ll definitely want to read more about this revolutionary product further down the page. But, first, back to how drywall is made.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

The rock you see above is gypsum rock. When crushed it turns into a powder. The powder is mixed with water, starch and …

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

… tiny fiberglass fibers to improve the strength of the core. In the old days, horse hair was used as a strengthener in plaster and other products.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

This slurry is pumped out onto a giant conveyor belt where it is sandwiched between two sheets. During the tour, we were handed a fresh cup of slurry as it was pumped out onto the drywall paper. As we walked along the super long conveyor belt, the slurry heated up and solidified within two minutes. (If you’ve ever used plaster of paris, it hardens through a similar chemical reaction.) Once the gypsum is hardened enough, the sheets are flipped over (wall side up to prevent damage) as they head into the heated dryers to fully dry for about 45 minutes.

After the sheets dry and harden, they continue on a series of conveyors until they are eventually cut to final size and banded together with a second sheet of drywall. The finished sheets are stacked up until the stack is complete. Several forklifts run a non-stop choreographed dance back and forth picking up the stacks of drywall and delivering them for storage or shipping. It was a sight to see!

I didn’t take any videos and photos inside the plant, but you can view this How It’s Made video showing the manufacturing process for making drywall.

In the video, you get a feel for the magnitude of the equipment, but I bet you didn’t realize the plant is a mile long! The most incredible thing about the plant tour is how few people work at one time. Less than 15 people work on the floor at a time! Remember when I said the plant was a mile long? The size of the plant and the number of people working in it seems disproportionate. It was impressive to watch the entire process.

What’s with that Purple Drywall?

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that stack of purple drywall at your local home improvement store. In the past, I looked at it, then reached for the less expensive sheets thinking they were the same. Boy was I wrong! After learning about the difference between Purple XP® drywall and regular, I will be choosing Purple from now on. Why?

In one picture, this is why:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Those black spots on the floor, ceiling, and drywall are black mold. If it was just on the linoleum, it could be cleaned. Once mold grows in drywall the only remedy is to remove and trash it. I don’t even want to think about how many tons of drywall waste goes into the landfill because it got wet or grew mold.

There is a solution to the problem: Purple XP® drywall products! They are moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. It makes sense to spend a few extra dollars to insure your walls will last longer and won’t secretly harbor allergens or harmful mold.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Did you know regular drywall begins growing mold and mildew within 24 hours of water exposure. The Purple drywall will resist moisture and prevent mold growth. I really wish I had known about Purple drywall when we had our kitchen leak. Had I learned about Purple drywall before that experience I would have insisted on Purple for the new drywall installed in the kitchen and laundry room.

Luckily we learn from our mistakes and I’ll be ordering a fair amount of Purple drywall for Etta (in full disclosure, National Gypsum will supply a portion of the drywall for my project as a Saving Etta sponsor.)

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Moisture, mold, and mildew-resistance only scratches the surface (pun intended). What if I told you there was a drywall that resists dings, scratches, and daily abuse?

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

What you see above is the Hi-Abuse XP® drywall after being put to the test on a wire abrasion machine. The same machine dug deep into the traditional drywall. Amazing, right! This is a game changer for those of us living with little wall destroying monsters (I mean lovable children.)

For those larger wall destroying monsters (think teenagers, college students, and frat houses), there’s a drywall for them too! Wall-punching party animals meet Hi-Impact XP®!

The Hi-Impact XP drywall has webbing integrated into the drywall sheets that holds firm against just about anything. This is a game changer for many locations. Think about gyms, ski lodges, garages, and more. Any space that gets daily abuse can benefit from this wall board.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

The folks at National Gypsum showed us a test where they released a 150 lb. dead weight against the Hi-Impact XP. The drywall cracked, but the weighted hammer could not break through. Anyone who has patched holes in drywall can tell you it’s a lot easier to repair a dent in drywall than a hole.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Finally, I’m super amped (another pun intended) to introduce you to SoundBreak XP! This is the drywall I wish they had when I lived in an old Philadelphia apartment building where I could hear every word spoken in the next apartment. In the summer I used to go nuts listening to the whomp, whomp, whomp sounds of an unbalanced ceiling fan in the next room as I tried to fall asleep. To everyone who ever wanted to reach through a wall and strangle your neighbor, I introduce to you SoundBreak XP®:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

See those two layers? There is a viscoelastic membrane that separates the two and does an amazing job at blocking noise.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

For those of you that are near tears right now because you don’t want to replace your drywall, dry those eyes. Here’s your hero:

SoundBreak XP Retrofit® is designed to be added on top of your existing walls. At only 5/16″ thick, it’s easy to secure to your existing drywall (after removing switch and outlet covers) and reduce noise immediately. I would have invested in this product for certain back in my apartment dwelling days.

I hope you learned more about Purple drywall and have the information to make informed choices during your next remodel or if you are investing in a new house. By the way, should you need help figuring out how much drywall you’ll need for that project, the AskForPURPLE site has a Material calculator to help you figure out how much drywall you need.

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for National Gypsum and Ask for Purple. I was compensated for my time and travel. I was not told what to say, all opinions are my own. As always I only work with brands that I would use myself.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

How is Drywall Made and What is Purple Drywall?

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69 replies
  1. Stephanie Bruther
    Stephanie Bruther says:

    We are getting ready to replace a section of our kitchen ceiling which was damaged by a leak in the bathroom upstairs. We will now be using the Purple XP for the repair. Thank you for this great info!!

  2. Sharon Flasche
    Sharon Flasche says:

    I live near the railroad, I would love to try the sound break XP drywall. It would be a life changer to win this contest. Thank You

  3. Janet
    Janet says:

    Hi-impact all the way! Many years ago we had major damage to walls from my father-in-law’s wheel chair. We never said anything to him of course, but the extra protection would sure be nice.

  4. Jennette Marie Powell
    Jennette Marie Powell says:

    First time commenter, but I’ve been reading for a while and loving your Saving Etta series! My husband and I just sold our first flip, and will soon start construction on our own new home (with a builder). Plus, we want to do another flip! So perfect timing on this topic. Soundbreak XP would be wonderful for our home, since our master bedroom backs up to the living room wall where the TV will be. Looking forward to the next Etta post!

  5. Whitney
    Whitney says:

    The high impact xp would be great for all those places behind doorknobs where the doorstop has just not done its job.

  6. s mendoza
    s mendoza says:

    Does Hi Impact come in small projects sheets? I’d love to patch the drywall behind each doorknob in the house!

  7. Wanda
    Wanda says:

    The SoundBreak XP would’ve been wonderful in my last apartment. I’m renovating a small house in Alabama; and am considering building a workshop extension on it. I’ll consider using the Hi-Impact XP gypsum sheets if I build the expansion.

    Thank you for the informative review. Nice job!

  8. Guerrina
    Guerrina says:

    Wow, that was totally cool to learn! At the minimum I’d like all my hallways and stairwells done in the High Impact XP. Moving furniture, ladders, etc. through those areas always leaves dings and more at my house!

  9. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    I’m using purple drywall in my hurricane damage repairs right now! Only recently discovered it as I am from out west where we didn’t have storms like we do here in Florida. I’m so grateful for the moisture protection. I did not know about their materials calculator until reading this post so I will be using that now for sure!

  10. Tricia Paterson
    Tricia Paterson says:

    heh heh…I’d use those tools all over my house and I’d look pretty dang good in purple….but product wise, I think I’d love the soundbreak XP for my bedroom.

  11. Heather
    Heather says:

    Would love to use the Soundbreak drywall when we remodel our bathroom. We have a small home and keeping the sounds inside the bathroom would be very nice!

  12. Sandy Moffitt
    Sandy Moffitt says:

    I have an interstate hwy practically running alongside my house. The Soundbreak XP is exactly what I’m looking for to block the nose.

  13. Chris Chrestensen Inc.
    Chris Chrestensen Inc. says:

    Would like to use the sound break board between my master bedroom and home office so I don’t keep my girlfriend up at night while working late and early morning hours.

  14. Deborah Yaiser
    Deborah Yaiser says:

    OMG…no brainer. SoundBreak XP Gypsum Purple! We live in Florida. Mold & moisture resistance factors alone make it an extremely desirable product. Noise reduction…what a plus!!!

  15. Jaime s
    Jaime s says:

    I would like to use the SoundBreak XP Retrofit® i since recently change the walls in my bedroom, I wished I knew about the sheets before.

  16. Lori Oliver
    Lori Oliver says:

    1898 lath and plaster bathroom wall coming down. Purple drywall going up! Thanks for the valuable information, Pretty Handy Girl!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Good luck. I know it will be a messy project getting that lathe and plaster down. But, you’ll be so happy when you’re done (especially because you probably don’t have any insulation right now.

  17. Naomi Mangan
    Naomi Mangan says:

    I’ve been a follower of your blog since way back when! I’d use purple drywall in bathrooms , kitchen, and basement. I’ve gone through two basement flooding and this could have saved me serious money and headaches! I’d also use the sound proof drywall between my next door neighbor’s I will soon live in a duplex and since I’m Deaf I use sound louder than normal and love music! Anyways, thanks to your blog and Ana White’s I am now empowered to tackle diy projects with pride.!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Naomi, thank you for your kind words. When looking into the SoundBreak XP Retro, you should look at the installation instructions. They recommend adding a putty pad to the outlets to further help with sound transmission.

  18. hansendawg
    hansendawg says:

    Everything sounds great, but the Sound XP is on my lust list for my own home. Is this a special order item, or do big box stores carry it? Very interesting blog post. Thanks Brittany!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      You can look on their store locator to see who carries the brand. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell you the exact products in stock. You will probably have to special order from your local home improvement store.

  19. Susan Stanfill
    Susan Stanfill says:

    It’s not too late for me to use SoundBreak XP. I haven’t put trim on laundry room yet. My washer is really loud, it would be perfect!

  20. Hope Ringley
    Hope Ringley says:

    We would love to try the moisture resistant Purple XP gypsum board. We have been living in/ remodeling our 1968 ranch we bought a year ago, and just found out we have to redo both bathrooms because of bad tiling in both rooms. It could be because the tile has been here for fifty years, or it could be because the house was moved from its’ original site to make way for the outer belt in Charlotte. One of many unique challenges faced when an older home has been moved; it has a nice newer brick veneer, but the interior hasn’t been touched since 1968-the era of paneling….its everywhere!!!! Yikes!!!!!

  21. Emily Shaffner
    Emily Shaffner says:

    I would love to try the Purple XP. Or the Soundbreak XP Retrofit! The purple is a no-brainer for bathrooms and basements. The Soundbreak would sure help my parents sleep better at night. There is a TV right on the other side of their bedroom wall. It would be an easy fix to put that up over what’s already there!

  22. Deborah Powell
    Deborah Powell says:

    I would and will use the sound breaker purple drywall on the bedroom wall next to the bathroom. My husband is an early riser and this will make sleeping while he showers soooo easy! I am the handing man in our family and will definitely find this produce even if I have to look all over the county.

  23. Brenda S Morrell
    Brenda S Morrell says:

    I’d use the Purple XP gypsum board in my bathroom. I’m going to be remodeling my bathroom in the next few months.

  24. Ivory
    Ivory says:

    oh my, I would use all the products in my home. Like all your followers that posted comments on your site, I too could and would love using this purple drywall product in my two bathrooms and basement. I have learned that in the long run it does not pay to use weak or poor qualities in your home just to save money, because you will have to soon replace it, thus cost even more in the long run. Your demonstration of using a bat on the wall sold me , and the fact I trust what you post, do, and say. soooo, yes, I would use all of these products in my home. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Mary Hunnicutt
    Mary Hunnicutt says:

    I wish I would have known about the purple XP drywall when we remodeled our basement. It would have been the perfect product to use in the mudroom, bathroom, and laundry room!

  26. Yvetta
    Yvetta says:

    We are getting ready to remodel a bathroom. Definitely will use the purple drywall! This
    Looks like an amazing product!

  27. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I would love the SoundBreak XP we live in a townhouse and can hear the neighbor kids at all hours of the night.

  28. Sewducky
    Sewducky says:

    I’d use the basic purple, for my bath remodel, I’ve put off fixing my drywall (after wallpaper removal) for far too long. If the bath was done, then the soundproof for replacing my celings of a stomped texture.

  29. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    I am so ready to replace huge sections of drywall in my townhouse with High-Impact Purple XP drywall! I have mold and mildew issues in the original walls from moisture and poor quality construction, so I am more than ready to rip it ALL out and replace it with this fantastic alternative! Thanks so much for sharing!

  30. Michele D
    Michele D says:

    I want to use the soundbreàk purple drywall. I have 2 teenage girls in the house. Enough said. Purple is my favorite color so it’s a no brained.

  31. Tammara
    Tammara says:

    All of the products are great. Im thinking Soundbreakxp would be good to use in the bathroom between the kitchen/living room.

  32. Heather S
    Heather S says:

    The high impact would have been great for repairing our basement stairwell! We wouldn’t have to be quite so careful bringing things up and down the stairs.

  33. Beth
    Beth says:

    Hi-abuse would be great in my house. I live in a small bungalow and the men in the home are pretty hard on things, in a sort of bull in a china shop sort of way 🙂

  34. someluckydog
    someluckydog says:

    We want to remove our fiberglass tub/showetr combination and put in a tiled shower, perfect for purple drywall!

  35. Kasey Miller
    Kasey Miller says:

    Thanks for the info. I would love to use the purple XP hi abuse in my little Fixer-upper in Galveston (a1900 Storm survivor). It would be perfect for the kitchen and bath and laundry area.

  36. Tanyaa Haines
    Tanyaa Haines says:

    Right now I would use the basic purple drywall – I have a bathroom remodel in my near future and this would be perfect for it as well as for a future kitchen remodel. I wish I had known about the sound break – this would have been a perfect solution for the basement ceiling we just redid a few months ago!

  37. s t a r l a (@mmstarla)
    s t a r l a (@mmstarla) says:

    So many benefits of each of these, hard decision! I think I would go ahead with the Hi-Impact XP! This sounds like it will hold up very well in my zoo, I mean home. Calm home. 🙂 / starla.batesATyahooDOTcom

  38. Nancy Blaschke
    Nancy Blaschke says:

    (Okay, how did I not see this til now?) I’ll give a whoop AND holler! We’re not currently planning any reno, but will have to look into Purple XP® drywall for future reference. I’m getting grossed out just thinking about how much mold and mildew could be in our family house (built 1800s).

  39. Barbara Hass
    Barbara Hass says:

    I have a teenage son with Bipolar disorder. I need the High-Impact Purple XP drywall in his room. And I would love to use the Soundproof XP between the family room and the garage for when said son is working in the garage with his music playing. (Now I know how my parents felt when my 5 siblings and I played our loud music.)

  40. Kirsten Taylor
    Kirsten Taylor says:

    We are getting ready to redo our bathroom and this would be awesome. Would take some of the worry I have about leaks from the sink and toilet away!

  41. Peggi prather
    Peggi prather says:

    We have a tiled shower that the grout had came loose. I started to tear it out and discovered that black mold had started to grow. I will be using the purple drywall as a replacement. I have other projects in my house that I will need the drywall to cut down on noise. I can’t wait to get started.


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