Is There a Difference Between Ceiling Drywall and Regular Drywall?

When you’re working on a home improvement project involving drywall, you might wonder if there’s a difference between ceiling and regular drywall. After all, they look pretty similar, so why would there be two different types? 

There is no difference between regular Drywall and Ceiling Drywall. Both can be used for ceiling purposes. However, hanging a ceiling Drywall on your ceiling is highly recommended. Regular 1/2-inch Drywall on the ceiling is prone to sagging and eventually will have to be replaced.

Well, as it turns out, there is a difference—ceiling drywall is actually designed specifically for use on ceilings. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between ceiling drywall and regular drywall so that you can make the best decision for your next project.

What Is Regular Drywall?

Regular drywall, also known as the whiteboard, is one of the most common types of sheetrock. It’s mostly used in residential properties. The most common thickness and size for regular drywall are 1/2-inch and 4×8 feet, respectively.

That being said, as modern homes have higher ceilings, regular drywall panels are now available in 4×16 feet. In addition, if you are looking for sheetrock for small repairs, some manufacturers even provide 2×2 feet panels. However, these panels are not easy to find!

Compared to other drywall types, the whiteboard is the most basic one. It is not moisture, mold, or mildew-resistant. So, you cannot use regular drywall in the kitchen or bathroom. The perfect places to use regular drywall are hallways, living rooms, and bedrooms.

To learn more about these panels, you can check out our article explaining, “Is 1/2-inch drywall really 1/2-inch thick?”. The article covers everything: from different types of drywall panels to a brief comparison between 1/2-inch drywall and 5/8-inch drywall.

What Is Ceiling Drywall?

Ceiling drywall is a material that is used to cover ceilings. These panels are available in different sizes, thicknesses, and types. You can use 1/2″, 3/8″, and 5/8″ ceiling drywall panels for your home renovation project.

When it comes to ceilings, it’s recommended to use thicker drywall panels. This is because thicker panels will prevent the joists from sagging, improving the strength of your drywall. So, 5/8-inch drywall is the perfect choice for ceilings. 

While renovating a properly, you need to pay close attention to the building code. For residential property, you can use any type of drywall for the ceiling. Alternatively, if you are using this wall-covering material in commercial buildings, you must invest in 5/8-inch ceiling drywall (even if you don’t have fire-rated requirements). 

What Is The Difference Between Ceiling Drywall And Regular Drywall?

Generally speaking, there is no difference between regular drywall and ceiling drywall. You can even use regular panels on your ceilings as long as you are working on a residential property.

However, that doesn’t mean you should use regular drywall on ceilings. As we mentioned before, unlike walls, ceilings are subject to sagging. So, if you use regular drywall on your ceilings, you might end up with moisture damage, causing mold growth, which means you’d need to redo your whole ceiling again. 

Moreover, regular drywalls are only available in 1/2-inch thickness as 5/8-inch thickness is recommended to use for ceilings. It would be best to follow these guidelines. Fortunately, several moisture-resistant types of drywall available in the market come in 5/8-inch thickness: as discussed further in this article.

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the differences between regular and ceiling drywall.


First, regular drywall panels are only available in 1/2-inch thickness. Although you can find these sheets in multiple sizes, you can only find 1/2-inch regular drywall. Using a thinner panel on the ceiling can create a gap between joists, which leads to sagging. 

Comparatively, you can find ceiling drywalls with different thicknesses. These panels are available in 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/8″, and 5/8″ thicknesses. It is recommended to use 5/8-inch drywall on the ceiling as it offers better fire resistance and is more rigid.


Regular drywall is one of the most inexpensive wall-covering materials available out there. Alternatively, 5/8-inch drywall for ceilings can cost you over 30% more than regular ones. Moreover, as handling 5/8-inch drywall is more difficult, you’ll also need to pay more labor costs!


Of course, the 5/8-inch drywall weighs more than 1/2-inch regular drywall. While a 4×8 feet panel of 1/2-inch regular drywall weighs around 57 pounds, the same size of a 5/8-inch panel can weigh more than 70 pounds, making it harder to carry and handle.


5/8-inch drywall is more durable and stronger than 1/2-inch regular drywall. This is why more builders suggest using 5/8-inch drywall on the ceiling. It won’t crack during installation and will also prevent sagging afterward.

In addition, ceiling drywall panels are usually moisture and mold-resistant. The 5/8-inch fire-resistant drywall can even protect your building from fire for more than one hour. 

Do You Need Special Drywall For Ceiling?

It depends. Technically, you can use any drywall type on both walls and ceilings for residential use. However, that’s not the same for commercial property. If you want to renovate a commercial building, you must get 5/8-inch drywall.

If a commercial property does not have fire-rated requirements, you can use any 5/8-inch drywall, including the green board. Alternatively, if your building has fire-rated requirements, you must use 5/8-inch fire-resistant drywall, AKA type X Drywall.

Can You Use Regular Drywall For Ceiling?

Yes, you can use regular /2-inch drywall on ceilings as long as you work on a residential property. However, that’s not an ideal approach.

Regular drywall is not as durable as 5/8-inch sheetrock panels, even though they last for a long time. Moreover, these panels are only available in 1/2-inch thickness, which can lead to sagging. So, stick to high-quality 5/8″ drywall for ceilings – whether you are working on a residential property or a commercial building.

What Type Of Drywall Should Be Used For Ceilings?

There are different types of drywall panels available out there for different purposes. For ceilings, it is recommended to use 5/8-inch moisture and fire-resistant drywall, such as:

The Green Board

The green board is one of the most popular moisture-resistant drywall available on the market. It is available in multiple sizes, including 1/2″ and 5/8″. You can use this drywall in places where moisture is the main threat, such as the bathroom ceiling and basement ceiling!

The green board is a little more expensive than regular drywall but is still quite affordable. You can use a 5/8-inch green board on both residential and commercial properties. The only downside of this type of drywall is that it cannot prevent mold growth!

The Purple Board

Another drywall type that deserves a spot on our list is the purple board. You can use a 1/2-inch purple board on ceilings for residential property. Alternatively, the 5/8-inch purple board is perfect for all types of ceiling applications.

The purple board is an upgraded version of the green board. While the green board is only moisture-resistance, the purple board offers resistance to moisture, mold, mildew, and even fire. It is a lot more expensive than regular drywall but worth every penny.

Type X Drywall

For commercial use, we always recommend investing in Type X drywall. Type X drywall is available in 5/8-inch thickness. It is fire-resistant drywall that can be used in commercial buildings with one-hour fire-rated requirements.

After the cement board, Type X drywall is considered the best wall-covering material. It is not only fire-resistant but also provides excellent protection from moisture and mold. 


Do Ceilings Have To Be 5/8 Drywall?

Legally you’re not obligated by the building code to use 5/8-inch drywall for residential property. So, you can use any drywall type, including 1/2-inch drywall, but it’s highly recommended. Alternatively, if you are working on a commercial building, you must get 5/8-inch drywall (even if there are no fire-rated requirements).

Is Ceiling Drywall The Same As Wall Drywall?

Yes, both ceiling drywall and wall drywall are the same. The difference depends upon your selected type of drywall and project. For instance, while you can use any drywall on residential property, you can only use 5/8-inch drywall on ceilings for commercial use!

Is Drywall Too Heavy For Ceiling?

Absolutely not. You can hang drywall on the ceiling without worrying about the weight. On average, a ceiling can hold up to 20 pounds of weight per square foot. Even the heaviest drywall panel (5/8-inch drywall) weighs around 70 pounds (2.2 pounds per square foot), so you can safely install drywall on ceilings.

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