1/2 vs. 5/8 Drywall: Key Differences You Should Know

The difference between 1/2 inch drywall and 5/8 inch drywall isn't just about the numbers that tell you how thick they are.
A person holding a sheet of drywall with the key differences between 1/2 vs. 5/8 drywall that you should know.

What really matters is when and where each type works best. Also, it’s good to know how their slight thickness changes affect what they can do. Understanding these basics helps you make a smarter choice because it lets you know which one fits your needs better. So here we let you know all the differences between 1/2 drywall and 5/8 drywall, which, in the end, guides you toward a wiser decision for your next DIY project.

What are 1/2 and 5/8 Drywalls? 

1/2 and 5/8 drywall are gypsum boards that serve as interior building materials for walls and ceilings. These drywalls are also known as sheetrock, gypsum board, wallboard, etc. The basic difference between 1/2 Inch Drywall and 5/8 Inch drywall is their thickness. 

1/2-inch drywall, which is slightly less thicker than 5/8, is a standard and common thickness in residential walls and ceilings. 5/8 Inch Drywall is used in applications where greater structural integrity, fire resistance, or soundproofing is desired. 

1/2 Inch Vs. 5/8 Inch Drywall Panel Differences

It is easier to explain their key differences based on some important features of the drywall. Here are features and how 1/2  and 5/8  drywalls are different from each other considering those aspects.


When comparing a drywall or gypsum board, one of the most important factors is its thickness. Especially because thickness affects or influences other qualities such as strength, durability, and soundproofing capabilities. 

Thickness of 1/2-inch Drywall

The thickness of 1/2 drywall is typically around 0.5 inches or 12.7 mm, the measure slightly varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is a common and popular thickness choice among mass users for interior walls and ceilings. 

While it may not have the best thickness, it combines strength with flexibility, adding versatility in application. Plus, the panels of 1/2 inch drywall are easy to carry and work with. 

Adding to that, variations of 1/2 inch drywall exist: conventional 1/2 inch drywall and ultra-light 1/2 inch drywall. The ultra-light 1/2-inch drywall is approximately 10 to 13 pounds lighter than conventional 1/2-inch drywall.

Thickness of 5/8-inch Drywall

5/8 inch drywall is thicker, stiffer, and heavier than 1/2  drywall. The approximate thickness of 5/8  is somewhere around  0.625 inches or 15.9 mm. This thickness comes with special advantages such as additional durability and improved resistance to different impacts such as fire and sound. 

Best for Thickness

1/2-inch drywall is mostly used in residential spaces. That said,  the cost-effectiveness of 1/2-inch drywall often influences users’ choices. However, it indeed has the advantage of flexibility and ease of handling and installation, especially for DIY homeowners or contractors. 

On the other hand, 5/8 drywall thickness offers better durability, soundproofing, and fire resistance. That’s why it’s a preferred choice or mandatory in commercial buildings where higher quality and safety standards are required. If you prioritize quality over budget, 5/8  drywall is for you.


5/8 inch drywall is generally more expensive than 1/2 inch drywall. 5/8 inch drywall’s extra thickness contributes to its higher cost. However, you can trade off additional costs for the added benefits like better fire resistance and soundproofing of 5/8 inch drywall. 

When deciding between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch drywall based on cost, it’s important to your budget and necessary requirements. If fire resistance or soundproofing is not a significant concern and you want to save money, 1/2-inch drywall may be the better option. 

However, if you need increased fire resistance and improved soundproofing, or if you’re installing drywall on ceilings, the added benefits of 5/8 inch drywall may be worth the extra cost.

Ease of Installation

5/8 inch drywall is heavier compared to 1/2 inch drywall and can potentially weigh up to 110 lbs for a standard 4’x8′ sheet. This extra weight of 5/8 drywall can make handling and installation challenging. You may require help from a friend, even if you’re using lifting equipment. The same is true for drywall installers.

Sound Proofing 

The increased thickness and density of 5/2 drywall helps optimize sound insulation better than 1/2  drywall. Additional mass and density can block the transmission of sound waves between rooms. This can result in quieter and more isolated spaces, which is especially important for minimizing noise between rooms or from external sources.

Moreover, 5/8 drywall generally has a higher STC rating, which essentially indicates better soundproofing performance. 5/2 drywall also reduces better than 1/2 drywall impact noise, such as footsteps or objects hitting the wall.

So, if you want your house compartment to be better noise-proofed, 5/8 is recommended.

Fire Resistance

If fire resistance is a significant concern for you, 5/8 inch drywall is recommended as it is more fire resistant than 1/2 due to greater thickness. Even in many situations, the property codes also stipulate using 5/8 drywall and impose fire-rated material for safety concerns. For example, a garage requires extra fireproofing for keeping gas tanks, cars, and lawnmowers. This leads to the requirement of 5/8 inch drywall for enhanced safety.

Furthermore, specialized fire-safe products are exclusively available in a 5/8-inch thickness. For instance, the 5/8″ Gold Bond XP Fire-Shield C Gypsum Board and CertainTeed Type X Fire-Resistant Drywall Panel are highly fire resistant.

To present a clearer picture, fire-resistant drywalls are often called “Type X” or “Type C” drywall. These designations denote a higher level of fire resistance. Type X and Type C drywall contain vermiculite and more fire glass than Type X.  This distinction identifies Type C as having superior fire-retardant properties.

So, when you’re not sure which drywall is safe against fire, carefully read their specification and certification. Make sure they’ve been tested and approved following the ASTM E119 standard. 

Also, look for labels like UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada). These labels mean the drywall meets special fire safety rules and can be used in places where fire safety is important.

Mold and Moisture Resistance

The drywall’s thickness does not solely decide mold and moisture resistance. Some specially made drywall offers enhanced mold and moisture resistance, which are mostly used in the bathroom and kitchen. These moisture and mold-resistant drywall come in both 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch thicknesses. 

Pro Tip: For areas where moisture is a concern, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or basements, it’s recommended to use greenboard drywall or cement board instead of regular drywall. And when mold is a matter of concern, you can choose mold-resistant drywall, often called “purple” drywall, because it’s purple in color. 

Ceiling Use

Both 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch drywalls can be used for ceilings, and they’re actually quite common for both walls and ceilings in homes. However, due to additional thickness, strength, and durability, 5/8 inch drywall is better than 1/2 inch drywall. 

The reason is that its increased strength and sturdiness offer better resistance to sagging between the joists over time. So, when it comes to ceilings, 5/8 inch drywall is usually the better pick.

1/2-inch drywall is lighter, which might make installation slightly easier. However, the benefits of using thicker drywall for ceilings often outweigh this advantage.

Wall Use 

While using 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch drywalls for building walls, each drywall has its own benefit. Your choice will depend on which benefit matters more to you.

1/2 Drywall for Wall Use

Many people choose 1/2-inch drywall for their home’s interior wall, and they are fine with it. This is especially true because most interior walls in homes don’t need the extra strength that 5/8 inch drywall offers. 

Additionally, 1/2-inch drywall is lighter and easier to handle, which happens to be more manageable for DIY uses. Another advantage is that its thinner design makes it easier to bend and fit around corners or bumps in the wall if that’s necessary.

5/8  Drywall for Wall Use 

For commercial buildings where higher safety, privacy, and security are important, a 5/8-inch drywall is an absolute mandate. Even when you choose them for a residential wall, they can help even out irregularities in the framing and help make a smoother surface for the final finish. This is particularly useful when working with traditional lumber, which can have variations in dimensions.

Moreover, thicker drywall of 5/2-inch can potentially reduce the incidence of nail pops over time, as the extra thickness offers more resistance to the movement of framing members.

Which One is Better for the Wall?

Each drywall type has advantages and disadvantages, and you should pick the one that best suits your needs. For residential use, if you’re looking for a basic standard, 1/2-inch drywall is a good choice. 

But if you want more protection, soundproofing, and fire resistance, then 5/8-inch drywall is a better option. In corporate and office buildings, it’s recommended to prioritize 5/8 inch drywall over 1/2 inch for added benefits.


What are The Sizes of 1/2 and 5/8 Drywalls? 

Answer: The standard size of all drywalls, including 5/8 or 1/2-inch drywall, is 4 ft x 8 ft. This is the common size of all drywalls. However, drywalls are available in other sizes for special applications, such as 4 ft x 12 ft, 2 ft x 4 ft, etc.

For example, 4 ft x 12 ft and 4 ft x 16 ft sizes of drywall are often suitable for tall and long walls, whereas small drywalls of 2 ft x 4 ft and 2 ft x 2 ft are often used to wallboard the alcoves of the house. 

Does Building Codes Have Specific Requirements of Width and Length?

Answer: Building codes do not have certain width and length requirements. Building codes may only require the specific thickness of drywall panels. The DIY technician or architect mainly decides the width and length. 

How Do I Choose Between 1/2 Inch and 5/8 Inch Drywall?

Answer: Consider your specific needs, such as fire resistance, soundproofing, and budget. For basic applications, 1/2 inch drywall might be sufficient. For enhanced properties and safety, 5/8 inch drywall is a better choice.

Remember, the choice between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch drywall depends on your project requirements, building codes, and personal preferences.


To sum it all up, when it comes to choosing between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch drywall, remember that both have their own perks. If you’re working on standard residential walls or ceilings and want something cost-effective and easy to handle, 1/2-inch drywall is a solid choice. 

But if you’re after extra fire resistance, durability, and soundproofing, 5/8-inch drywall is the way to go. Always consider factors like building codes, safety, and your own preferences when making your decision.

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