As is the case with many products, moisture-resistant wallboard is a hit with some architects, but others are skeptical. One convert, a longtime user of wonder-board, made the switch to moisture-resistant wallboard at the urging of his drywall contractor. “I had designed his house, and he used it practically everywhere,” says Fort Lauderdale, Fla.- based architect Arthur Bengochea. Now, it's the only product Bengochea uses. “My installers tell me it's easier to work with,” he says.
Kendall P. Wilson, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, on the other hand, has heard of many of the new specialized drywall products on the market but has yet to try them. “For the vast majority of our work, we use standard drywall,” says the principal of Washington, D.C.-based Envision Design. He says the products appear to make sense for some applications, but he'd “like to know how much more [they] would cost” before he would consider using them.
His point is well-taken. PATH reports that mold-resistant products install in the same manner as traditional drywall (so labor rates won't vary), but it tallies the material costs at about 50 percent more than ½-inch gypsum board. GP's Reid acknowledges the price premium but argues that the company's products “compete against green-board, so the two are more comparable in price.”
Bengochea says the higher cost for DensArmor, his product of choice, is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. “When you're doing a million-dollar home, the extra money is not a big deal,” he says. But he's quick to point out that the cost boost isn't so great that the material couldn't be specified for less expensive houses too.
Quiet Solution's Weiss contends that it's misleading to evaluate his company's products, which start at around $39.95 per sheet, simply on price. If you were to analyze the sound-transmission rating achieved with QuietRock and then analyze the same ratings achieved by other wall-assembly methods, he says, “QuietRock ends up being the cheaper application.”
Despite the higher price tag, USG's Pappas expects the specialty drywall market to continue to grow. In his view, such products create better wall assemblies, contribute to better indoor air quality, and help reduce the potential for mold growth. “The beautiful thing about these panels,” he adds, “is that they look, feel, and act like traditional drywall. That's the key point.”