How Strong is A Plasterboard Ceiling? (Explained!)

Mounting objects on a plasterboard ceiling without first determining whether the material can withstand the added weight is a risky move you should never make.

Plasterboard is a common and versatile interior finish, also known as sheetrock, gypsum board, or drywall. It has thermal insulating properties and moderate load-bearing strength.

Finding out exactly how strong your plasterboard ceiling is can save you from terrible accidents, undue replacements, and hefty repair costs.

With that said, here’s everything you need to know about the load-bearing capacity of plasterboard ceilings and some helpful tips for a successful installation.

Are Plasterboard Ceilings Strong?

The strength of your plasterboard ceiling depends on the type of plasterboard your ceiling panel is made out of, but generally, plasterboard ceilings have adequate strength.

It is also worthy of note that plasterboard ceilings found in institutions or commercial establishments are by far stronger than the ones found in residential units.

Here’s a breakdown of the various types of plasterboard products on the market and how strong they are.

  1. Water-Resistant Plasterboard
    This type of plasterboard is manufactured for moisture-prone spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
    It is fairly strong, has a water-resistant paper lining and core, and can be used to construct outdoor setups.
    Water-resistant plasterboards can also be used in the construction of seaside buildings, as the specified structures are constantly exposed to moisture and high humidity.
  2. Acoustic Plasterboard
    Acoustic plasterboards are pretty strong; they’re denser than most types of plasterboard and are used to soundproof noisy areas.
    The efficiency of these building products can be enhanced or improved by using other soundproof materials like fiberglass or mineral wool to reinforce them.
    Plasterboards of this type are ideal for spaces like home theatres and recording studios.
  3. Fire-Resistant Plasterboard
    This type of plasterboard contains strong additives and glass fibers and is designed for use in fire hazard severity zones.
    Fire-resistant plasterboards can resist fire for as long as two hours. The efficiency of these products depends on how they’re manufactured.
    So, if you ever decide to acquire this building material, make sure the producer is credible. Also, check for the fire performance rating on the product.
  4. Insulated Plasterboard
    Insulated plasterboards are also known as thermal plasterboards. This type of plasterboard can retain heat and keep a living area warm and cozy.
    Plasterboards that are referred to as insulated consist of a thermal insulation board adhered to regular plasterboard to form one sheet.
    ting the interior walls of a home can be done at a considerably cheaper rate with this type of plasterboard; it isn’t so expensive and has sufficient strength.
  5. Impact Resistant Plasterboard
    Plasterboards that are impact resistant are super strong; they are very difficult to damage and can last for a long time.
    This type of plasterboard is quite dense and contains a lot of additives, and a thick lining paper is used to protect and provide support to its core.
     It’s ideal for areas with a lot of traffic or high-impact areas like hotel corridors, schools, and hospitals.

Are Plasterboard Ceilings Good?

You can never regret using plasterboard for your ceiling cladding. It’s cheap to install, easy to fix, more affordable than other interior finishes, and can be reused and painted over.

The downside to hanging plasterboard on a ceiling is that the installation process can be complicated, especially if the room you’re using it in is small.

Also, sagging insulation in your ceiling can make the already complicated process of installing plasterboard ceiling panels even more complicated.

So, be extra careful when hanging this building material upon your ceiling; otherwise, you’d have a poorly attached and ugly-looking plasterboard ceiling as the end result.

For homeowners that are wondering if their existing plasterboard ceiling is good, here’s how to tell.

Get a ladder and climb up until you’re close to your ceiling. Scan the surface closely for cracks, then proceed to gently press into your ceiling at different spots.

If you notice any cracks or see the ceiling come apart as you touch it, it’s not in good condition.

You can strengthen the weakened material by applying several layers of veneer-coat plaster over it.

How Much Can A Plasterboard Ceiling Hold?

The amount of weight a plasterboard ceiling can hold depends on how thick the ceiling panel is and the type of fixture you use to mount objects on it.

If your plasterboard ceiling was installed or put in place way before you moved into your home, you must make an effort to find out how thick the installation is.

You can do this by going through the blueprint of your home or by measuring the width of your plasterboard ceiling through the drilled holes for your lighting.

Here are the two widths plasterboards for ceiling claddings come in and how much weight they can withstand,

  • 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) Thick Plasterboards

The standard width of plasterboards that are to be hung on ceilings is 1/2-inch or 12.7mm. Plasterboard ceilings that are this thick can withstand a direct weight of about 20 pounds.

So, objects like a small ceiling fan or potted plant can go on a ceiling of this width.

An object as heavy as 30 pounds can be mounted on a 1/2-inch-thick plasterboard ceiling panel, provided that joists are used to hold it in place.

  • 5/8-inch (15.9mm) Thick Plasterboards

Plasterboard ceiling panels that are 5/8-inch thick can hold the weight of objects as heavy as 50 pounds or more.

This specification of plasterboard is the thickest you can get and requires hangers that are evenly spaced for a safe and successful mount.

Other widths of plasterboard include 1/4-inch (6.35mm) and 3/8-inch (9.52mm), but they’re not ideal for ceiling claddings.

As mentioned previously, mounting fixtures also play a significant role in your plasterboard ceilings’ ability to hold weight. See the subheading below to find out how.  

Is It Safe to Hang Something on A Plasterboard Ceiling?

Hanging objects on a plasterboard ceiling are only safe when the object you wish to hang is within the load-bearing capacity of your ceiling, and you have the right fixtures for hanging.

There are three ways by which you can successfully mount an object on a plasterboard ceiling.

  • Through Nails and Studs

Hanging objects on a plasterboard ceiling with nails and studs isn’t an effective method if you want the objects to stay mounted for a long time.

Nails can hold about 20 pounds of weight, but they won’t stay in a plasterboard ceiling for long because the material is fragile.

Make sure you use a stud with your nail to secure the object you wish to hang in place for a lengthier time frame.

  • Through Ceiling Anchors

Ceiling anchors are perfect for mounting weighty objects on a plasterboard ceiling because they distribute the weight of mounted objects across the ceiling.

There are four types of this anchor available on the market they are sleeve-type anchors, expansion anchors, hollow-wall anchors, and threaded anchors.

Objects mounted through this method can stay up for a pretty long time and are not so difficult to take down.

  • Through the Ceiling Beam

This method of hanging objects on a plasterboard ceiling is super effective but difficult to implement; it entails attaching the object you wish to mount to the beam behind the plasterboard.

To successfully carry out this method, you must use a stud finder to locate the beams and place hangers where the beams are located.

Another way to go about this method is to install brand new cross-beams to support the objects you want to mount on the ceiling.

Final Thoughts

A plasterboard ceiling may not be the strongest type of ceiling, but it is quite functional.

As we discussed earlier, these building materials have varying strength levels that must be determined before anything is hung on them.

We hope you were able to take away some key pieces of information from this article and trust that whatever you decide to hang on your plasterboard ceiling will be mounted safely.