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I know from long experience that drywall often (always?) has glass fibers (fiberglass) mixed in with the Gypsum to add strength. Because of the number of drywall related products that have fiberglass in them, I am having trouble finding good references.

I did find Possible Environmental Concerns with Recycling Gypsum Drywall which says Type X drywall has fiberglass in it. The article also says older drywall may have Asbestos and/or Mercury.

Looking for reliable references that indicate how I can tell that a drywall product only has Gypsum between the paper, or at the very least how to reliably identify drywall that has fiberglass or other hazardous additives.

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2 Answers 2

Fiberglass is visible in the drywall when you cut the paper face and snap it back. Instead of just the rough powdery plaster, you will see what looks like a fuzzy surface that's the bits of fiberglass that were embedded in the two halves. Type X drywall is used for fire rated applications, which are typically garages, common walls in a multi-dwelling structure, and occasionally around a utility room. A simple way to tell the difference between Type X and other drywall is to measure the thickness, type X will typically be 5/8" thick while other drywall is 1/2" or thinner.

For the hazardous materials you listed, I would check the age of the home or determine the date it was last renovated. And if hazardous materials were used then, have anything suspicious tested.

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SHEETROCK® Brand FIRECODE® C Core Gypsum Panels come in 1/2 in. sheets, and I believe they also contain fiberglass (or at least the MSDS lists Fibrous Glass. –  Tester101 Jun 25 at 13:14
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Rules of thumb always seem to have a pesky exception. –  BMitch Jun 25 at 14:22

Your best source for information about drywall, is going to be the manufacturers.

USG
National Gypsum
Georgia Pacific
CertainTeed

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Actually it does not look like the manufacturers are a good resource Example Type X If they call out the presence of fiberglass in their drywall product it is so well hidden that I did not find it. –  James Jenkins Jun 25 at 13:13

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