T: +255 222 162 930


T: +254 717 511 879

Five surprising facts about plasterboard

Five surprising facts about plasterboard

Plasterboard is a common building material that offers many advantages over brick, concrete and wood. Knauf Tanzania manufactures plasterboard products and other building supplies that make construction quicker, easier and more affordable. Did you know that it is also called drywall or gypsum board? Whatever your preferred name for it, here are five facts that you may not know about plasterboard.

1. It was invented over a century ago

According to Mark Goodchild, an expert Australian plasterer, plasterboard was produced as early as the mid-nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. At first, it was tough to assure builders that some gypsum jammed between two layers of paper could be sturdy enough to be used in construction, but it didn’t take long for contractors to realise how easy it was to install the material.

Knauf has been a global leader in the plasterboard industry since 1932. The Knauf Group was started when Alfons Knauf and Karl Knauf, brothers and mining engineers, managed to obtain the mining rights to gypsum deposits in Obermosel, Germany. Since then, the company has expanded its global reach. There are now over 250 production facilities in 86 different countries, including Tanzania.

2. Plasterboard can be recycled

One of the amazing things about gypsum is that it is fully recyclable. It can be turned into brand new plasterboard or it can be broken down and converted into soil conditioners, which can be utilised in the rehabilitation of old mines or for farming. The mineral (gypsum) encourages plant growth and can be used as a natural fertiliser. It increases water absorption and improves the structure of the soil.

Here at Knauf, we recycle whenever possible. Our paper facers on the surface of the plasterboard panels can be recycled. In addition, the gypsum in our products is made using a process that is recognised by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a sustainable materials management practice. 

3. Gypsum is a highly useful mineral

Calcium sulfate hydrate; the scientific name for the gypsum used in plasterboard. It can be found around the world as deposits within layers of sedimentary rock. It isn’t only used in plasterboard though – gypsum can be used in shampoo and even toothpaste.

Gypsum is sometimes called Plaster of Paris. It is ground-up and heated to remove three-quarters of its water content. The result is a fine powder that can be mixed with water to form a malleable paste. When it dries, the Plaster of Paris holds the shape, similar to clay. It can be used to make pottery, sculptures and even casts for broken bones.

4. Plasterboard is fire-resistant

Plasterboard is fairly fire-resistant, which is why we use it to manufacture fire-resistant panels for walls and ceilings. The gypsum in the plasterboard contains small amounts of water vapour. When exposed to fire, this water evaporates, which makes the surface of the panel slightly damp and helps to cool down the drywall. 

This slows down the spread of flames and enables the plasterboard to withstand extreme temperatures. With modern manufacturing techniques, increasing the strength of the material in the core of the plasterboard can give extra structural support in the case of a fire. 

5. There are many different names for plasterboard

As mentioned, plasterboard has many different names, such as sheetrock, gypsum board, wallboard, drywall – and that’s just to name a few. Plasterboard is used in construction around the world, so there will definitely be a variety of names for this popular building material.

These five facts shed light on the versatility of plasterboard as a construction material. If you would like more information about Knauf plasterboard and other products, please contact us today to speak to one of our experts.


Knauf is a German manufacturer of gypsum plasterboard that has operations in Tanzania. We use local materials to produce high-quality drywall products for the construction industry. Knauf takes pride in the quality of products and services that we provide to customers.

We have a world-class team of researchers that have developed ecologically-sound structures and earthquake-resistant systems and materials. These construction solutions are internationally patented and are now available to Tanzanian contractors.

For more information on plaster board and other construction materials, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around construction, plasterboard and building design.

You may also enjoy