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Drywall Terms Glossary

Common Language of the Drywall Industry with Our Comprehensive Glossary

Navigating the drywall industry can be challenging, especially with its unique set of terms and lingo. To make it easier, we at Timothy's Toolbox have compiled this detailed glossary of drywall terms. By exploring this glossary, you'll gain a clear understanding of the language used in drywall installation and repair, making communication with your team smoother and more efficient. Whether you're new to the field or looking to brush up on your knowledge, this resource will help you become fluent in drywall terminology.

Drywall Glossary


Materials used for sanding or smoothing surfaces, such as sandpaper. Abrasives come in various grits, which determine how coarse or fine the sanding will be. They are essential for preparing drywall surfaces for painting or finishing by removing rough spots and creating a smooth, even texture.

Access Door (Access Panel)
A small, covered opening in a wall that provides access to plumbing, electrical, or other systems behind the wall. These panels are typically installed in strategic locations to allow for maintenance and repairs without needing to remove large sections of drywall.

ASTM International
An international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. In the drywall industry, ASTM standards ensure the quality, safety, and performance of drywall products and installation practices.

Automatic Taper (Bazooka)
An automatic taper is a specialized tool used in drywall installation to apply joint tape and joint compound simultaneously to seams between drywall panels. This tool significantly speeds up the taping process by automatically dispensing the right amount of compound and embedding the tape as it moves along the joint. It ensures a consistent and efficient application, reducing the need for manual adjustments and smoothing. Automatic tapers are commonly used by professional drywall installers to achieve high-quality, uniform results quickly and with less effort.

Back Blocking
The process of reinforcing a joint between two sheets of drywall by placing additional material behind the joint. This technique helps to prevent cracks and ensure a smooth, seamless finish, especially in areas where butt joints are unavoidable.

Material placed behind drywall to provide additional support and stability. Backing can be made from wood, metal, or other materials and is used to strengthen areas where drywall may be subject to stress or impact, such as around windows, doors, or fixtures.

A strip of material used to reinforce and finish the edges and corners of drywall. Beads come in various shapes, such as corner bead, J-bead, and L-bead, and are typically made from metal or plastic. They provide a clean, sharp edge and protect the drywall from damage.

Butt Joint
A joint where two non-tapered edges of drywall meet. This type of joint can be more challenging to finish smoothly compared to tapered joints because the seam is more visible. Proper back blocking and careful application of joint compound are essential for achieving a seamless appearance.

Cement Board
A strong, water-resistant material used as a base for tile in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Cement board is more durable than standard drywall and provides a solid, stable surface for tile installations, preventing moisture-related issues like mold and mildew.

A beveled edge that provides a smooth transition between two surfaces. Chamfered edges are often used in drywall to create decorative effects or to ease sharp corners, reducing the risk of damage and improving the overall appearance of the finish.

Corner Bead
A strip of metal or plastic used to create a clean, finished edge at the corners of drywall. Corner beads protect the drywall corners from damage and provide a straight, crisp line that enhances the overall look of the finished wall. They are available in various profiles, including bullnose for a rounded look.

A soundproofing technique that involves creating a gap between two layers of drywall or between the drywall and the framing to reduce sound transmission. This gap can be achieved using resilient channels or other methods to minimize vibrations that carry sound through walls and ceilings.

A construction material consisting of a gypsum core sandwiched between two paper faces, used for walls and ceilings in interior construction. Drywall is easy to install and finish, making it the preferred material for creating smooth, even surfaces in residential and commercial buildings.

Drywall Adhesive
A type of construction adhesive used to attach drywall panels to framing, improving bond strength and reducing the number of fasteners needed. Using adhesive can help minimize nail pops and other issues, resulting in a more secure and stable installation.

Drywall Compound
A paste used to finish drywall joints, corners, and fasteners, also known as mud. Drywall compound comes in various types, including all-purpose, lightweight, and setting compounds, each suited for different stages of the finishing process. It is used to create a smooth, seamless surface ready for painting or wallpapering.

Drywall Screws
Specialized screws designed to securely attach drywall panels to the framing. They have a bugle-shaped head and are coated to resist rust. Drywall screws provide a strong hold and are less likely to pop out over time compared to nails, ensuring a more durable installation.

Drywall Tape
Tape used to reinforce joints between drywall panels, typically made of paper or fiberglass mesh. Paper tape is commonly used for flat seams, while mesh tape is often preferred for its ease of use and strength, especially in areas prone to cracking.

Expansion Joint
A flexible joint used to allow for movement in large drywall surfaces, preventing cracks. Expansion joints are essential in buildings subject to temperature fluctuations, moisture changes, or settling, as they absorb movement and reduce stress on the drywall.

Exposed Fasteners
Fasteners that remain visible after the drywall installation is complete. In some designs, exposed fasteners are intentionally left visible for aesthetic reasons, while in others, they are concealed with joint compound and paint.

A general term for any hardware used to attach drywall to framing, including screws and nails. Proper selection and installation of fasteners are crucial for ensuring the drywall remains securely attached and free from defects like nail pops.

The technique of gradually reducing the thickness of drywall compound to blend it smoothly into the surrounding surface. Feathering is a critical skill in drywall finishing, ensuring that seams and repairs are invisible once the wall is painted.

Furring Strips
Thin strips of wood or metal used to level a wall or ceiling surface before attaching drywall. Furring strips provide a flat, even surface for drywall installation and can also create space for insulation or to run electrical wiring and plumbing.

A type of moisture-resistant drywall used in areas prone to humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Greenboard is coated with a moisture-resistant layer that helps prevent mold and mildew, making it suitable for damp environments.

Hot Mud
A fast-setting drywall compound that hardens quickly, often used for quick repairs or when time is limited. Hot mud is available in various setting times, typically ranging from 5 to 90 minutes, and is ideal for situations where rapid turnaround is needed.

The area where two pieces of drywall meet must be filled and smoothed with joint compound for a seamless finish. Proper joint treatment is essential for creating a smooth, continuous surface and preventing cracks and defects.


Drywall Joint

Joint Compound
A substance used to fill and finish joints between drywall panels. It comes in several types, including pre-mixed and powdered forms, each suited for different applications such as taping, topping, and all-purpose use.

Joint Tape
Tape used to reinforce joints between drywall panels, typically made of paper or fiberglass mesh. Paper tape is preferred for flat seams and inside corners, while mesh tape is commonly used for its strength and ease of application.

Knockdown Texture
A popular wall finish achieved by spraying or rolling on a texture and then flattening it slightly with a knife. Knockdown texture adds visual interest to walls and ceilings and helps to hide minor imperfections in the drywall surface.

Level 5 Finish
The highest quality drywall finish, involving multiple coats of compound and a final skim coat to create a perfectly smooth surface. A Level 5 finish is recommended for areas with critical lighting or where a flawless paint job is desired. See our blog post regarding Drywall Level Finishes.  

The process of applying drywall compound to seams, corners, and over fasteners to create a smooth surface. Mudding is a multi-step process that includes taping, coating, and sanding to achieve a seamless finish.

Mesh Tape
A type of joint tape made from fiberglass mesh, often used for its strength and ease of application. Mesh tape is self-adhesive and resists cracking, making it ideal for high-stress areas and repairs.

Nail Pop
A common issue where drywall nails or screws push out from the surface, often due to settling or moisture changes. Nail pops create visible bumps and can be repaired by resetting the fastener and applying joint compound.

A preparatory coating applied to drywall before painting to ensure better adhesion and a more uniform finish. Primer seals the drywall surface, providing a base for the topcoat and enhancing the durability and appearance of the final paint job.

Resilient Channel
A metal channel used to reduce sound transmission through walls and ceilings by decoupling the drywall from the framing. Resilient channels create a gap that absorbs sound vibrations, improving acoustic performance in residential and commercial buildings.

Resilient Furring Channel
Another term for resilient channel, emphasizes its use in creating a gap for insulation and soundproofing. These channels are essential in sound-sensitive environments such as recording studios and multi-family housing.

Resilient Isolation Clips
A type of fastener used to reduce sound transmission through walls and ceilings. These clips attach to the framing and hold resilient channels, which then support the drywall. By decoupling the drywall from the structural framing, resilient isolation clips help to minimize vibrations and improve acoustic performance, making them essential for soundproofing applications in residential and commercial buildings.

A measure of thermal resistance used in the context of insulation. Higher R-values indicate better insulating properties, helping to maintain indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs. In drywall applications, insulation with appropriate R-values is installed behind the drywall to enhance thermal efficiency.

Sanding Sponge
A sponge with an abrasive surface used for sanding drywall compound. It can be used wet or dry to smooth surfaces, offering flexibility in achieving the desired finish. Wet sanding with a sanding sponge reduces dust and creates a finer finish.

A brand of drywall that has become synonymous with drywall in general. Sheetrock is known for its quality and is widely used in the construction industry for creating smooth interior walls and ceilings. It comes in various types, including standard, moisture-resistant, and fire-resistant options.


Drywall Sheets are often called Sheetrock, Gypsum, and Wallboard. Sheetrock and Gypsum are popular manufacturers of Drywall. 

Sound Damping
Techniques and materials used to reduce the transmission of sound through walls and ceilings. Sound damping involves using specialized materials and construction methods to minimize noise levels and enhance acoustic comfort.

Techniques and materials used to reduce noise transmission through walls and ceilings. Soundproofing aims to create a barrier that blocks sound waves, providing quieter indoor environments. It is commonly achieved through the use of insulation, resilient channels, and sound-damping materials.

The process of applying joint tape over seams and corners in drywall installations to reinforce and smooth them. Taping is a critical step in drywall finishing, ensuring that joints are strong and invisible once painted.

A decorative finish applied to drywall surfaces, such as orange peel, knockdown, or popcorn texture. Texturing adds visual interest and can help hide imperfections in the drywall surface. Different application techniques create various effects, from subtle to bold.

Utility Knife
A versatile cutting tool used for scoring and cutting drywall panels. Utility knives are essential for making precise cuts, trimming edges, and performing various tasks during drywall installation.

Another term for drywall, emphasizes its use as a general-purpose wall material. Wallboard is widely used in construction for creating smooth, paintable interior walls and ceilings.

Wet Sanding
A technique of smoothing drywall compound using a damp sponge, reduces dust and creating a smooth finish. Wet sanding is ideal for final finishing and touch-ups, providing a cleaner and more controlled sanding process.


This glossary serves as a great starting point for understanding the essential terms used in the drywall industry. While it may not cover every possible term, we've included the most commonly used ones to help you get started. We hope you find this resource helpful as you continue to learn and grow in your drywall projects. For more detailed information and resources, be sure to explore our blog and other educational materials available on our website.

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