Is There an Industry Cover Up?
What I am about to tell you may shock you and even make you mad but this is something you need to be aware of because it could possibly have health implications for you and your family. I first read about this issue in a book by Mike Holmes (Canada’s most trusted contractor) entitled “Make it Right”. Mike refers to drywall as the cover up because it serves to cover mistakes in the heating, plumbing and electrical systems of your home but having read his book I’m beginning to believe there’s a lot more cover up going on than meets the eye.
Standard Interior Wall Material
According to Mike there’s something that has been going on in the home construction industry that every home owner should be aware of but is rarely talked about by contractors. The simple truth of the matter is that the drywall in your home is a mold magnet and once it’s wet it’s the perfect breeding ground for spores which can make you sick and even on a deeper level through rot can even compromise the structural integrity of your home. But before you take out your sledge hammer and start knocking down walls it’s good to know that this only applies to you if you get your walls wet The other bright side to this problem is if you are planning on renovating your bathroom there are two great solutions to replace your regular drywall with to make sure this doesn’t happen to you in the future.
Nowhere Near Waterproof
To understand why ordinary drywall can be a problem in your bathroom let’s examine what it’s made of. Regular drywall is made up of gypsum otherwise known as calcium sulphate that is sandwiched between two layers of heavy paper which produces a ridged board that can be cut and trimmed to different sizes to put on your walls and a thicker version for your ceilings. The problem with regular drywall is not only does it act like a sponge for water but because of its composition it is the perfect food for mold. In the past green drywall was commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens or anywhere where there was the possibility of moisture but as most home owners of older homes will tell you it is nowhere near waterproof. In fact if it gets saturated with water mold will grow on it quite quickly just like regular drywall.
Georgia-Pacific GP DensArmor Plus
A better alternative for bathrooms especially under the tile around the bathtub and shower areas is cement board which has a fibreglass coating to protect the surface. For the rest of your grooming space Mike suggests using a Georgia-Pacific GP DensArmor Plus drywall. The good thing about this product is that there is nothing in it for mold to eat and grow. You can even put it in water without it getting wrecked. This is truly a moisture proof building material perfect for the bathroom environment that the bath renovator should take note of it. The only downside to this product is it’s a denser material so it’s a little harder to work with but that is nothing compared to having mold in your home.
Premixed Finishing Compounds
One more thing should be mentioned here, when you are putting up drywall there are going to be slight gaps between the sections. To hide and smooth out your walls the gaps are taped and “mud” is applied over this with a spatula and later sanded down to create a clean uncluttered surface so you can paint or put tile on. The problem is that most finishers use a premixed plaster for mudding which is prone to molding. Mike Holmes instead suggests using Sheetrock 90, the 90 refers to the fast drying time. The plus to using this mixture is because it dries so fast mold does not have time to grow also it is stronger than regular mud. The downside to using this product is that you do have to mix it yourself and you have to work quickly because it dries so fast.
Is Mold in Your Future?
The dirty little secret of the home construction industry is that time is money and to save cost and speed up the process builders use regular drywall and premixed compounds to mud their walls and ceilings which may be acceptable in non-moisture ridden areas of your home. Now that you know this and are planning on doing a bathroom renovation and want things done right then its best to follow Mr. Holmes advice and use the right drywall materials so that mold will not be a problem in your home anytime soon.