Gypsum Products

SIC 3275

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Companies predominately employed in manufacturing plaster, plasterboard, and other gypsum products constitute the gypsum products industry. The manufacturers in this industry make products like acoustical plaster, wallboard, cement, insulating plaster, orthopedic plaster (for casts), plaster of Paris, and gypsum rock, lath, and tile.

Industry Snapshot

Gypsum product manufacturing is nearly synonymous with wallboard production, which represents more than 90 percent of industry sales. As such, the gypsum industry's fortunes are closely tied to those of the construction business. From the late 1990s construction boom to the slowdown in new construction in the early years of the 2000s and the general economic decline of those years, followed by increased construction levels during the middle of the first decade of the 2000s and the bottoming-out of the housing industry at the end of the decade, the gypsum industry has fluctuated. In 2005 the shipments from this industry were valued at $6.2 billion, a healthy increase from $3.8 billion in 2002, but by 2008 industry shipments had dropped to $343.5 million. Consequently, total wallboard products sold fell from 35 million square feet in 2006 to 26.4 million square feet in 2008. The overall weakened economy continued to contribute to a virtual standstill in both residential and commercial construction.

The United States remains the world's largest producer and consumer of wallboard in the 2010s. About 75 percent of the gypsum used in the United States is in wallboard, and 40 percent of wallboard products are used in new residential construction. Another 35 percent of industry output is used for remodeling and repair, while 10 percent goes into new commercial construction. The remaining 15 percent of the market consists of numerous miscellaneous applications, such as mobile home walls.

Organization and Structure

Gypsum, or hydrated calcium sulfate, has been an important construction material for centuries. It is mined from hardened ocean and saline-lake brine deposits. Natural supplies of the material are abundant, particularly in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and Britain. The largest U.S. gypsum-producing states are Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Nevada, California, and Indiana. Companies that only mine gypsum without producing finished or semi-finished goods are not considered part of this industry.

Companies in this industry dehydrate, or calcine, gypsum for use in wallboard manufacturing. Calcining is an intermediate process that occurs after gypsum is ground into a powder. The process is necessary to reconstitute a mineral paste for use in wallboard. The activity was spread among 65 plants in 28 states, often close to sites where the material was mined or quarried.

Gypsum is used as a fertilizer, a filler in paper and textiles, and a retarding agent in cement. However, about 80 percent of total gypsum output is used to make plaster that is formed into building products. When combined with water and additives, plaster becomes a white cementing material that sets and hardens by chemical reaction. It is an excellent construction material for interior walls because it is inexpensive, easy to install, fire retardant, and acts as a noise insulator.

Background and Development

Gypsum-based wallboard was first developed around 1900 in the United States. Strong housing markets during the post-World War II U.S. economic expansion pushed industry sales close to $2 billion in the late 1970s. However, a housing slump in the early 1980s kept revenues at $2.3 billion in 1982.

A recovery in housing starts boosted gypsum industry sales to nearly $2.7 billion in 1987. A U.S. economic recession and depressed housing markets in the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, pummeled industry participants. Receipts plunged below $2 billion a year in the early 1990s, and wallboard prices crashed from $127 per thousand square feet in 1985 to $67 in 1992. Prices recovered in the mid- to late 1990s as construction picked up and as wallboard manufacturers held the line on adding new capacity. From a plateau of $110 per thousand square feet in 1995 and 1996, prices edged upward from 1997 to 1998, nearing $130 by 1998. In 1999 prices peaked around $160 per 1,000 square feet, raising wallboard makers' profits handsomely. Between 1994 and 1999, output climbed 30 percent, crossing 29 billion square feet in 1999. The value of gypsum product shipments in 1999 was estimated at $4.5 billion.

Traditionally, 75 percent of this industry was gypsum wallboard, which was relatively constant during most of the first decade of the 2000s. Valued at $4.2 billion in 2003, the gypsum product industry grew through 2007, when it was valued at $6.2 billion. Demand for that year was around 46.8 million metric tons. Residential construction, commercial construction, and remodeling needs in the middle of the first decade of the 2000s drove demand for this industry's products.

An estimated 218 plants engaged in manufacturing plaster, plasterboard, and other gypsum products in 2008. Gypsum products were manufactured by 133 plants and held 61 percent of industry market share. Smaller segments were quicklime and hydrated lime, with 14 plants manufacturing agricultural lime.

Valued at an estimated $95 million, production of gypsum totaled 12.7 million tons in 2008, down significantly from 17.9 million tons in 2007 and 21.1 million tons in 2006. As overall construction bottomed out, so did demand for gypsum dropped some 20 percent during 2008. Construction of new wallboard plants and renovation of existing plants that began in 2005 came to a standstill as well. Of the 23.8 million tons of domestic gypsum consumed, manufacturers of wallboard and plaster products accounted for 85 percent. Three million tons were used for cement production, and 1.1 million tons were utilized in agricultural applications.

Current Conditions

There were a total of eight companies that manufactured gypsum wallboard products at 31 plants in the United States in 2009. Total wallboard product shipments fell 27 percent to 1.83 billion square meters (17 billion square feet) compared to 2008. Production of gypsum continued to spiral downward as demand in the residential, commercial, and remodeling markets continued to be at a standstill, decreasing slightly from 9.4 million tons in 2009 to 9 million tons in 2010 with a value of $58.5 million.

Despite being the largest U.S. wallboard maker, USG Corp. "fell into the red in 2007's fourth-quarter--and has yet to climb out," according to The Wall Street Journal, on June 14, 2011. Since 2007 the company has laid off one-third of its workforce, cut capacity 30 percent, and shut eight plants while idling others. In the past, if residential construction was in a slump, the company could rely on commercial construction or even home remodeling to sustain them, but since all three have faltered over the past three years UGS was just trying to survive the economic turmoil.

USG was planning to expand globally, particularly in China and Latin America, and has developed an "Ultralight" wallboard. This wallboard weighs roughly 30 percent less than other wallboard on the market, making it less expensive to ship and cuts down installation time. Cleveland-based Longbow Research analyst Garik Shmois said "the lighter product will help but will likely be matched by competitors."

The Freedonia Group projected that drywall demand would increase 9 percent from 2009 through 2014 in conjunction with the U.S. residential construction sector rebounding, causing drywall demand to outpace drywall demand within the non-residential construction sector. Furthermore, the U.S. residential construction market was expected to command half of all manufactured drywall through 2014, further demonstrating accelerating growth.

Industry Leaders

USG Corp., formerly United States Gypsum Co., of Illinois, is the largest U.S. wallboard maker, with $4.6 billion in 2008 revenue and 12,800 employees. Aftershocks from financial hurdles that plagued the firm in the 1970s and 1980s, ranging from antitrust matters to a hostile takeover bid to lawsuits over asbestos-contaminated products, forced the company to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. By the late 1990s, USG emerged successfully from bankruptcy. In 1999 USG commanded one-third of the U.S. wallboard market. Approximately 80 percent of the company's $3.6 billion in sales that year came from its wallboard division, North American Gypsum. USG also markets ceiling tiles and commercial ceiling systems. USG's revenues plummeted to $2.9 billion in 2010, and its workforce dropped to 9,250 workers as overall construction struggled.

Eagle Materials Inc., formerly known as Centex Construction Products, was another major player in the U.S. gypsum industry. The company was based in Dallas, Texas, and approximately 40 percent of its $602.2 million revenue in 2008 came from gypsum wallboard. The company employed 1,600 people. Eagle Materials had 1,350 employees, and revenues fell to $462.2 million in 2011, reflecting a stagnant economy.

America and the World

The United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France accounted for the bulk of drywall shipments in 2009 with shipments totaling more than 250 million square meters.

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News and information about Gypsum Products

Wipo Publishes Patent of Certainteed Gypsum and John W. College for "Method for Reducing Elemental Sulfur in Gypsum Products" (American, Canadian Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 14, 2017; 419 words
...REDUCING ELEMENTAL SULFUR IN GYPSUM PRODUCTS."Applicants: CERTAINTEED...levels of elemental sulfur within gypsum products such as wall board. Gypsum sometimes...elemental sulfur in the production of gypsum products."The patent was filed on Nov...
Wipo Publishes Patent of United States Gypsum for "Water-Resistant Gypsum Products and Methods" (American Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; April 30, 2017; 336 words
...27.Title of the invention: "WATER-RESISTANT GYPSUM PRODUCTS AND METHODS."Applicants: UNITED STATES GYPSUM...Organization: "This invention relates to water-resistant gypsum products manufactured with water-based emulsions comprising...
Wipo Publishes Patent of Saint-Gobain Placo, Kane Ironside and Hao Song for "Gypsum Product Composition, Gypsum Products and a Method for Using a Compound in Gypsum Board" (Chinese Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; June 25, 2017; 390 words
...Publication No. WO/2017/101110 was published on June 22.Title of the invention: "GYPSUM PRODUCT COMPOSITION, GYPSUM PRODUCTS, AND A METHOD FOR USING A COMPOUND IN GYPSUM BOARD."Applicants: SAINT-GOBAIN PLACO (FR), Kane Ironside...
Provision of Gypsum Products
Mena Report; September 7, 2016; 302 words
Contract notice:Provision of Gypsum products. Procurement of plaster products for orthopedic departments in Region Jnkping. This contract is divided into lots: no Time limit...
US Patent Issued to Saint-Gobain Placo on Sept. 6 for "Method and Apparatus for Manufacturing Gypsum Products" (French Inventor)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 6, 2016; 337 words
...issued on Sept. 6, was assigned to Saint-Gobain Placo SAS (France)."Method and apparatus for manufacturing gypsum products" was invented by Hamouda Jaffel (Aulnay-sous-Bois, France).According to the abstract* released by the U...
US Patent Issued to Eastman Chemical on June 3 for "Incorporation of a Resin Dispersion to Improve the Moisture Resistance of Gypsum Products" (Tennessee Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; June 3, 2014; 425 words
...improve the moisture resistance of gypsum products" was invented by Laura Lee Martin...in making moisture resistant gypsum products. In particular, this invention...manufacture of such moisture resistant gypsum products."The patent was filed on Feb...
Uspto Issues Trademark: Lime & Gypsum Products
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 3, 2014; 349 words
...ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 3 -- The trademark LIME & GYPSUM PRODUCTS (Reg. No. 4629103) was issued on Oct. 28 by the...the mark. The mark consists of the words "LIME & GYPSUM PRODUCTS" above the image of a plant."Goods and Services...
Wipo Publishes Patent of United States Gypsum for "Gypsum Products with Fortified Glass Fiber Mat" (American Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; December 27, 2015; 336 words
...published on Dec. 23.Title of the invention: "GYPSUM PRODUCTS WITH FORTIFIED GLASS FIBER MAT."Applicants: UNITED...a glass fiber mat saturated with salt crystals and gypsum products with the glass fiber mats are provided as well...

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