Mold management: gypsum manufacturers are targeting mold with education and new products

Mold management: gypsum manufacturers are targeting mold with education and new products – Product Info

Stephani L. Miller

Mold has always been with us, flourishing on the nutrients provided by cellulose-based materials such as wood. The organism’s recent celebrity through the media and high-profile lawsuits has encouraged the industry to seek solutions to the problem of mold and mildew growth–from both product and practice standpoints.

Since cellulose is a key ingredient in many building products, solving mold issues will not be easy. Limiting exposure, and taking immediate steps to correct the effects should exposure occur, are the best ways to reduce the risk of mold growth on building products, according to many experts. In addition, products that resist mold growth are getting more attention. Gypsum is one of the categories in which some manufacturers are focusing on ways to educate end users and to create products that resist the growth of mold.

Georgia-Pacific Gypsum’s two new patented gypsum wallboard products, DensArmor Interior Guard and DensArmor Plus Interior Guard, incorporate the company’s patented glass-mat “Dens” technology, which features an inorganic glass mat embedded in the non-combustible core of its gypsum boards. Inorganic materials have been proven to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew because they provide no food for mold spores. DensArmor Interior Guard has a glass-mat backing and heavy-duty paper facing for use inside wall cavities (a common growth area), while DensArmor Plus is both faced and backed with the glass mat for even greater resistance. Both products are intended for general wall applications, not just in commonly wet areas (circle 101).

“Over the years,” says Chris Beyer, national marketing manager for Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, “we have known that these [Dens technology] products have superior mold and mildew resistance. With the emergence of the mold and mildew issues, we recognized that our patented technology had some key advantages.”

USG recently introduced a mold- and mildew-resistant gypsum shaft liner, Sheetrock Brand Gypsum Liner Panels-Enhanced. The Sheetrock product uses a 100 percent recycled blue paper for its facing and backing, which is treated with a biocide in a proprietary process for water, mold, and mildew resistance (circle 102).

USG has no current plans to develop mold- and mildew-resistant gypsum wallboard for general applications. The company believes mold and mildew are caused by moisture-control problems, not from problems with its general-application Sheetrock product.

“We’re focused on building systems and continuing to communicate best practices,” says Dean Updegrove, USG product marketing manager for drywall and plaster.

The Gypsum Association is taking steps to educate end-users on the proper storage and installation of gypsum board products as a solution to mold and mildew problems. “We have an ad hoc committee that is looking at the scientific evidence that is out there to come up with a valid, scientifically based outreach and information program,” says Jerry Walker, the Gypsum Association’s executive director.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Hanley-Wood, Inc.

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