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What Is The Difference Between Green And Purple Drywall?

Drywall is a very popular building material used in new construction homes. It is used to create masonry partitions, ceilings and to divide rooms within the structure. There are two main types that you can choose from; either green or purple. Although it’s possible to use both green and purple drywall, there are some differences to be aware of in order to make a selection.

Green drywall has a greater resistance to moisture intrusion, which is why it’s typically used for basement walls and exterior walls while purple drywall is used in high traffic areas like hallways or stairs. Green drywall is made from recycled materials while purple drywall can contain lead.

The purple color appears more in ceilings and beams where ceiling tiles or other furniture covers it. Green and purple drywall is used for making gypsum boards walls and ceilings due to their aesthetic appeal and low cost.

This article will go through the things you need to think about when deciding which type of drywall to use, including the differences between green and purple drywall, and which one is best depending on what you are using it for…

The Difference Between Green & Purple Drywall?

Drywall is not easy to tell apart, but there are some simple solutions.

The primary difference between the two drywalls is in their palette of available colors. Green drywall was around before purple, but it has gone out of style in more recent years in favor of the latter color. As a result, green drywall is harder to find in modern homes or repairs.

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If you are trying to identify whether you have green drywall or purple drywall in your home, look at its finish and texture.

Green drywall tends to have a flat matte finish when painted over, while purple drywall has a shinier appearance when finished with paint or another coating.

Another way to differentiate between green and purple drywall is to look at the pattern of the paper tape used over each sheet. Green drywall was often finished with mesh tape, while purple drywall most commonly features fiberglass tape.

FUN FACT: If you have a home that dates back to 1971, you should find green drywall in it. However, because the more stylish purple variety has replaced it, finding green may be difficult.

Best Uses For Each Drywall Type

Green drywall is ideal for areas that won’t receive too much wear and tear, such as basements and garages.

As paint typically minimizes product performance (durability, fireproofing), it generally isn’t used in high-traffic areas like hallways or staircases where durability and long product life are necessary to avoid frequent replacement costs. For this reason, purple-colored primers should be applied during manufacturing. 

This will save money by allowing the board to last longer and reduce installation costs because it can be nailed faster and easier than coating wet boards with a second coat of primer after they have been assembled into sheets.

Purple/green board isn’t necessarily unsafe, but it does reduce the board’s fireproofing abilities.

What Is The Best Use For Purple Drywall?

Purple-primed drywall should be used in high traffic areas like hallways or stairs because durability and long product life are necessary to avoid frequent replacement costs.

While the green board may not pose any immediate danger, it could indicate that manufacturers have taken shortcuts during the manufacturing process by applying primer after the wallboard.

Which Type Of Drywall Is Better?

Green and Purple drywall are two different versions of the same drywall production process.

Green drywall uses fewer chemicals when compared to purple drywall. However, it is essential to note that neither product is green; the name comes from the color staining used when making the product.

Green drywall was initially the only type of drywall produced. This created an opportunity for Purple Wall to enter the market with a comparable product at a lower price.

Green drywall was made with gypsum mined from natural deposits, manufactured by grinding up the gypsum into a powder. 

Purple drywall, on the other hand, uses gypsum that is processed into plaster. The plaster then undergoes a chemical reaction introduced by Calcium Sulfoaluminate.

This produces new compounds that are sandwiched between two layers of paper, making it easier to manufacture and cheaper to produce than standard gypsum drywall.

On most occasions, green drywall is used in an environment that requires some moisture resistance for a while. This includes bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, and saunas.

2 Types of Green Drywall: 

  1. Type X drywall has a high moisture resistant property designed for areas that need high levels of moisture resistance, such as exterior walls or shower walls. It’s also great in basements where steam from showers accumulates.
  2. Type M is the industry standard in residential construction because it works well with interior spaces with short-term exposure to extreme moisture.

NOTE: Both types of green drywall are comprised of Type X cement boards with a special water-resistant facing on one side, making them suitable for use in bathrooms. Here’s an article I wrote explaining further why they are the best option for bathroom walls.

Purple drywall is used in environments that require fire resistance for an extended time, like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, etc. It meets NFPA 285 and NFPA 286 standards for interior finish material in residential construction. 

This means that it can be directly installed on plywood or drywall subfloors and only needs the addition of joint tape and joint compound to complete your wall system.

When And Where To Use Green And Purple Drywall?

So, when thinking about when and where to use green and purple drywall, we help you with the following insights to help you decide which type is right for your project. 

  • Green drywall is excellent for Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, saunas, fire-rated interior walls.
  • Purple drywall is best suited for interior non-habitable spaces, exterior wall applications, and non-fire-rated interior walls. 

What you have to note is green and purple drywall are equally as effective once installed, but green drywall is much cheaper and easier to find because it’s more common. 


The best way to tell if you have green or purple drywall, besides having someone come out for an inspection, is by looking at your home’s electrical outlets.

If they’re copper, then it’s likely you have green drywall, but if they’re silver-colored steel with a flat side on one end, then it could be hardboard.

All you have to know is that green is more commonly used on ceilings while purple is more often seen on walls.