Should drywall used in a ceiling be of a different weight/grade than drywall used in walls?
We are demoing a closet this weekend, and will need to repair the remaining drywall in a few places.
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Depends on the ceiling/wall function. In most cases for repairs you want to replicate what was there, unless you are ripping the entire wall/ceiling or it's too hard to track down matching replacement drywall.
If the wall/ceiling is a firewall, you normally need to replace the structure that was there, which may be double-layer 5/8 type X ("firecode") gypsum. I prefer it for ceiling applications anyway (single layer where double-layer is not needed), as it's far less prone to sag than the thinner grades. It's also heavier, which you may not be fond of - and it is sometimes used on "acoustic" walls for that reason.
I've dealt with old walls that use as little as 1/4" drywall. 1/2" is what's normal/standard in new construction - 1/4 and 3/8 may be available from a supplier but I would only use those for repairs of a wall starting with that thickness where replacing the whole wall doesn't make more sense.
First you need to figure out if the ceilings are considered a firewall. If they are they must be 5/8 inch type X.
If not I would suggest one of the two:
1/2" gypsum ceiling board - ceiling board is simply drywall rated to have less sag and less pulling properties. This is normally what we use on jobs. It is not always available at big box in all lengths but we usually find it. And then you can always order it and they will deliver. See this PDF to compare ceiling board to regular wall board.
1/2" lightweight wallboard. This is your stock lightweight drywall. Given its light weight it will have less sag and pop out issues.
I would never use anything less than a half inch. It just bends too much. Given that there is more flex during your install could cause issues down the road at the seams.
If one can afford, I would recommend go for the best - protection, performance and build quality of your home. If it was my own home, where I wish to live for a long time, I would get it built with the finest material. Using a 5/8" drywall makes sense in so many ways, so go with the best available, after all you don't rip drywall now and then. Once installed, follow the manufacturer's guidelines as to how it needs to be finished if you want that excellence in paint finish etc. Thank you