Saving time and money are always at the top of a building owner's to-do list. One of the most innovative yet pragmatic ways of doing these things is to "go paperless" with your interior walls.
What is paperless drywall?
Paperless interior drywall uses fiber glass mats instead of traditional paper facings to cover the gypsum core. So, it reduces the effects of moisture from rain and humidity that can occur during the construction cycle.
Some brands of paperless drywall panels can be installed and left unprotected from the elements for up to 6 months; therefore, contractors don't have to delay interior drywall installation until a building is dried in, and the risk of tear-out or callbacks to replace moisture-damaged panels is reduced.
What are the benefits?
Helping construction stay on track is just one of the reasons why paperless gypsum technology, now nearly 2 decades old, continues to gain favor among building owners, architects, and contractors. The advantages of paperless drywall and other paperless gypsum products can extend beyond the construction phase. In the future, when leaks and moisture intrusion can impact a building's performance, paperless drywall resists water damage and may help avoid costly remediation—a common occurrence with traditional, paper-faced gypsum panels.
The key to paperless drywall effectiveness is how it's made. As previously mentioned, a gypsum panel is covered with fiber glass mats on the front and back. The mats are different from traditional paper facings because they're moisture resistant and provide improved strength and durability.
The industry's top paperless drywall panels, when tested in accordance with ASTM D 3273, regularly score a 10, the highest level of performance for mold resistance under the ASTM D 3273 test method. Most paperless drywall panels are also listed as microbial resistant by the GREENGUARD® Environmental Institute, reducing indoor air quality concerns.
Paperless drywall is durable, too; it's designed to resist warping, water absorption, and delamination, and it's more abuse resistant than paper-faced drywall. Paperless gypsum panels are noncombustible, with zero smoke and zero flame spread development. Additional testing revealed that specially made abuse-resistant gypsum panels achieved high levels of performance under the ASTM C 1629.
Where to use it?
Certain industries have their own standards and needs that paperless drywall aids in meeting or exceeding. For instance, in the education field, half of U.S. schools have indoor air quality problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Paperless drywall is an increasingly popular school construction product because it's the only gypsum drywall product with GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality and GREENGUARD Children & Schools certifications. These certifications recognize indoor products that have low VOC emissions.
As the adoption of paperless gypsum panels continues to evolve, the advantages of increased moisture resistance and the added flexibility in construction or renovation situations are appealing to facilities professionals in many different building types.
Barry Reid is senior product development marketing manager at Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC.