The History of Drywall

The history of drywall

This year drywall celebrates its 100th birthday. Not much in comparison to plaster which was used as far back as ancient Egypt, but still, it’s been around for quite some time and as technology progresses people are certainly continuing to see the benefits of its use.

The use of drywall is the opposite to traditional plastering methods as it refers to a wall covering that is made without the use of water (unlike plaster, which needs to be given time to dry). It is made mainly of gypsum which is found in huge beds that look like sandy beaches and is mined predominantly in the USA.

So what’s the history of drywall?

Invented back in 1916 by the United States Gypsum Corporation, an early version of drywall called Sheetrock was created to be a cheaper fireproof alternative to plaster that could be put up in much quicker time. Back then, it consisted of several layers of gypsum and paper pressed together, now it’s more like one sheet of gypsum covered by layers of heavy paper.

Today, some of the benefits of drywall still remain the fact that it’s cheaper and quicker to use, thanks to there being no need to wait around for it to dry.

And, in the middle of the last century, the popularity of drywall really gathered pace, because the post war baby boom meant that new houses were needed at a rate of knots, while the cash strapped era left people looking for the cheapest materials as possible to use – and what better for speed and cost effectiveness than drywall?

In our modern day, many still prefer the use of drywall, thanks to its flexibility, speed of use and great insulation, not to mention how much easier it is to use than traditional plastering methods.

And in the US, the drywall industry is still booming, with plenty of gypsum still mined and made into drywall. Traditionally it wasn’t the most environmentally friendly process and it was recommended that workers inhale as little gypsum dust as possible, but from the start it brought thousands of jobs to the areas where it was mined.

So why did it take so long for the use of drywall to take off? Mainly because it was originally thought of as a cheap alternative to the fine art of plastering and who wanted cheap alternatives in their homes?

But during and after the war, having a cheap alternative, while being thrifty and sensible with money was in fashion and with a shortage of people to do the jobs and the need for more houses to be built processes had to be quicker and less labour intensive.  Years after the war ended, drywall still remains massively popular and thanks to technological advances it’s much friendlier for the environment too.

Order your drywall tools online

If you have a spot of drywall work coming up and you need a helping hand, then you can order your drywall tools online today with us. Take a browse through the products we have in stock and look forward to making your life easier with the help that they can provide.

Plaster to Plaster Tips



We asked 100 plasterers for their top tips…

We love the plastering industry and with over 50 years’ experience under our belts, we’re fairly sure we’ve got some good ideas on the best plastering equipment and techniques to use. But don’t just take it from us. We asked 100 plasterers for their top tips and below are some of the things they came out with:

  • Make sure your surface is well prepared before you start, as it doesn’t matter how good a plasterer you are if your surface isn’t prepped.
  • Don’t mess about too much with your plaster, it’ll end up looking worse than when you started.
  • Use a sponge on multi when doing one coat as it gets the same results as two.
  • Give windows and skirting boards a quick wipe and dry after the first flattening.
  • Or spend a few minutes at the start running masking tape around them.
  • Get your PVA mix right and only skim PVA when dry.
  • Fill your beads first and go in the direction they’re going in to avoid sloping.
  • When your walls are turning, go over them with a hard dry trowel.
  • In between trowel stages make sure you bead up.
  • Blend, blend, blend – the more flawless your blending becomes the better the job and practice makes perfect.
  • Include fuel costs and waste materials in your pricing, as well as tools and van maintenance.
  • Give yourself a good early start.
  • Word of mouth recommendations from happy customers are great. Keep it professional.
  • Never rush through a job. Be your own worst critic and ensure the work you do is up to scratch.
  • Don’t give a specific start date for a job until you’re sure you can make it nearer the time as you risk looking unprofessional if the job before runs on.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep and always go above and beyond what you say you’ll do.
  • Allow a day extra when saying how long a job will take, just in case something unforeseen happens.
  • Save what money you can when the going’s good to cover the slow periods.
  • Get rid of dirty water before you mix up.
  • Wear gloves where you can to protect hands that are in and out of water all day.
  • Mix up cement and sand with your drill for spotless results.
  • Get your van/tools/equipment tidied up at the end of a job as there’s nothing worse than having to do it at the beginning of a new one.
  • Don’t leave your buckets full for the next day as they might leak overnight and never leave the mixer in the dirty water bucket – you’ll hate the mess if it tips over.
  • Scrim round the edges of switches and sockets once the fronts are off.
  • Price your job based on the most awkward bits and how difficult they’ll be to do, such as pipes and fittings that can’t be removed.
  • Keep all screws together in a sealed tub or old drinks bottle and avoid losing them.
  • Don’t let your plaster get too dry before you’ve finished with it.
  • Always use clean water.
  • Health and safety is important – when you take risks and hurt yourself you can say goodbye to your earnings.
  • Take responsibility for your own safety.
  • Realise your true worth and don’t undersell yourself.
  • Keep your tools clean as you go along.

Don’t forget you can order your tools online

And finally, we saved the best until last, which is – save yourself time by ordering your tools online with Gypsumtools and have them delivered to wherever you are in the UK!

Famous People Who Have Been in Plastering

Now, we all know that there are some shining stars in our industry. Those who can turn a basic job into a work of art. But, did you know that there are some mega famous faces who started out in our great profession?

When you take a look at the names of some of the famous people who have been in plastering, you might be surprised at just how well known they are. There are even a couple of knighthoods in there! So, can you imagine these iconic celebs with a hawk and trowel in hand?

Here’s our list!

  • Frank Sinatra – possibly the most famous face on the list and arguably one of the most famous Hollywood stars of all time. Before he did things his way, back in the 1930s he was a plasterer’s assistant and in fact his first wife Nancy (Sinatra), was the daughter of a plasterer too.
  • Sir Thomas Sean Connery – yet again another iconic celeb that you’re bound to recognise. These days we know him as possibly the best James Bond ever, but, back in his day, Sean and his younger brother Neil used to work as plastering contractors in Scotland’s fine capital Edinburgh. (Can imagine there were one or two happy housewives needing some plastering done around the time!)
  • Sir Henry Cooper – legend has it that this big time heavyweight boxer used to keep in shape for his fights by joining his twin brother on plastering jobs!
  • Alan Minter – Sir Henry wasn’t the only boxer keeping his physique honed through plastering – this former world middleweight champ was a plasterer too.
  • Brian Blessed – known more for his loud booming voice and tremendous acting talent than his ability to skim, but believe it or not, plastering is one of his many hidden talents.
  • Ricky Tomlinson – the Royle Family regular is quite well known for his political activism and the stint in prison that followed in his early life, but at the time he was also working as a plasterer on building sites.
  • Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards – who could forget this Olympic gold medal winning ski jumper from the eighties? He was also a plasterer by trade.

Don’t forget you can order your tools online!

If you fancy joining such a star studded line up with a career in plastering, or, if you’re already one of the industry’s leading lights and need to update your tools to fit, don’t forget you can order your tools online with us!

Company Spotlight – Nela

Nela Products

Nela Products

Always on the lookout for the best products to add to our wide range of plastering and drylining tools, we thought it was about time our customers found out more about Nela plastering tools which have not been around that long, but have quickly become a trusted name in the industry.

Nela, as a company, is quite new to the market, in fact, less than three years old, but we think you’ll agree that the range of plastering tools, which are 100% produced in their German factory are certainly something to be proud of.

The History of Nela

Launched in April 2014 in Wuppertal, Germany, the creators of Nela tools set up an organisation which took great pride in the products they produced. That’s why, to this day, they ensure their tools are manufactured to the highest standards and come ready to go. It’s because of this that in only a few years, these first class plastering trowels have become so widely respected.

A wide variety of NELA products are available, from professional plastering trowels such as the NELAFLEX and midget trowels, to hawks and other accessories and the range is always growing and improving. On the company Facebook page at the one year anniversary milestone last year, a spokesperson said:

“After various successful tool shows and product demonstrations the NELA Range of products have become extremely popular and successful in the UK Market.

“The first year was extremely successful for NELA and we hope for this to grow and continue. It was certainly a learning curve entering the market and we are now confident we have adapted our products and made the required improvements to believwe have the best products available to the Trade.e we have the best products available to the trade.

“As a company we will continue to grow, listen (…) and build close relationships to meet the demands of the trade and always improve our products.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our distributors throughout the UK, you have all worked very hard and helped make the product what it is today”.

Gypsumtools are a NELA Stockist

We are pleased to say that Gypsumtools are a NELA tools stockist and, because we like to give professional plasterers and DIY enthusiasts the biggest choice at the best prices, we feel they are a great addition our range.

The trowels are available with different handles, BiKoGRIP Cork and BiKoGRIP Soft – however, the BiKoGRIP Cork has proven to be the professionals’ choice and it’s a style which is consistent across the whole NELA range. We are happy to have the wide range in stock, with examples including the Premium and NELAFLEX Trowel. To find out more about what they can do, just take a look.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our followers and loyal customers for their purchases, without you guys NELA wouldn’t have the reputation it does today. Alongside this we would like to thank all of our distributors throughout the UK, you have all worked very hard and helped make the product it is today.

As a company, we will continue to grow, listen to the trade and build close relationships to meet the demands of the trade and always improve our products.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our followers and loyal customers for their purchases, without you guys NELA wouldn’t have the reputation it does today. Alongside this we would like to thank all of our distributors throughout the UK, you have all worked very hard and helped make the product it is today.

Order Online

If you have any questions or would like to discover the wide range of superior trowels that we sell, why not take a look through our products and order online. We are pleased to boast all the biggest names at the best possible prices.