Can We Actually Stop Mold From Growing On Drywall?
Drywall is a lightweight, economical, and very easy to install building material for interior walls and ceilings. But in addition to all these benefits it offers, drywall is also known to be very vulnerable to mold and mildew growth. Its high organic intake as well as its great ability to absorb and retain moisture provide mold spores with all the conditions they need to support their growth and survival.
In order to compensate for this inconvenience, many manufacturers nowadays market some of their
products as being mold resistant and help to prevent mold and mildew from forming on drywall.
So, are these claims right? Do these products really help prevent mold from forming on drywall? And
is mold-resistant drywall worth the investment?
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Read further to get the lowdown on all things drywall and mold.
TLDR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read!)
Mold resistant drywall grows mold and mildew much slower than regular drywall, but it’s only worth the investment if you install it in rooms that are most prone to damp problems and, if you put preventative efforts into keeping your interior dry and moisture-free.
What Makes Drywall Prone To Mold?
Drywall is known to be a perfect home for mold. This is due mainly to the fact that drywall is highly organic and therefore provides a good nutritional supply for molds that feed on carbon-based materials and organic matters like wood, fabrics, skin cells, food, carpets, paper etc.
Because what is drywall after all?
A standard drywall board is simply a panel of gypsum put between 2 sheets of paper.
Now, while the gypsum core is not organic, the layers of paper that cover the gypsum are organic and therefore attract mold spores looking for something to digest.
Another reason why drywall is so attractive for mold is that it has a soft and light texture.
Gypsum itself is a very soft mineral. And when combined with paper, it gives us a light, soft, and cost- effective combination that offers many benefits to homeowners and construction professionals.
After all, that’s what has contributed to the vast-scale consumption of drywall, isn’t it?
But on the other hand, however this non-solid nature of drywall also makes it a good absorber of moisture and water vapor and therefore, a welcoming ground for mold spores looking for a wet environment where to spread and multiply.
Moisture and water leaks also find it easy to travel effortlessly through the soft wall panels and quickly spread the moisture/mold damage over a wider area.
Not only that, but drywall panels also have a porous nature which traps even more moisture and mold.
In other words, the tiny, microscopic holes in plasterboard make it easy for mold to take root on ceilings and become so difficult to remove.
All this explains why mold damaged drywall is almost impossible to cure and why the best solution is usually to replace infected boards with new ones.
This is because once molds get into drywall they enter the tiny pores and start to spread in all
directions and become so difficult to clean and eradicate.
Read more about drywall and how it gets affected by mold
What Is Special About Mold Resistant Drywall?
Now, how does mold-resistant drywall change the game? What is special about it that makes it a good stopper for mold growth?
Well, the short answer is that mold-resistant drywall does not incorporate paper.
As you may have concluded yourself, paper is the main reason why drywall is so attractive for mold.
First, because paper is highly organic and therefore provides mold with enough food to grow;
Second, because the soft nature of paper helps to retain more moisture and mold spores and allows them to spread very quickly.
So, removing the paper facing from drywall will drastically reduce its ability to retain and
promote mold buildup, and that’s exactly the idea behind mold resistant drywall, which usually comes in two forms.
Faceless (also known as homogeneous) drywall is a form of drywall that has no facing and
incorporates only gypsum material.
In other words, unlike regular drywall, faceless drywall does not have sheets of paper covering the gypsum core and goes homogeneously through the whole panel.
This way, the mold spores land directly on the gypsum material which, as we said, is not carbon-based and therefore does not provide organic food for mold.
Fibreglass Facing Drywall
As the name suggests, fiberglass facing drywall uses fiberglass covers instead of paper.
This is because fiberglass is not carbon-based, and as a result, gives mold nothing to feed on.
Does Mold Resistant Drywall Really Work?
As you can see, both types of mold resistant drywall do not incorporate paper and only use
inorganic materials that mold cannot digest.
So yes, mold-resistant drywall does work because by removing all organic matters from your gypsum boards, you leave very few things for mold spores to feed on, and this alone reduces drastically the likelihood of mold buildup on drywall.
In other words, compared to standard, paper facing drywall, mold resistant drywall has a much lower chance of developing mold.
So far, seems pretty clear cut…
Now the real question is, does having mold resistant drywall mean that you will never suffer from mold problems on drywall ever again?
That’s the question we should ask.
Well, the thing to note here is that manufacturers never guarantee that their drywall products are immune to mold growth.
The only thing they say is that they provide better resistance to mold problems.
How do you interpret this? This is another way of saying that there are certain conditions
under which mold can still take root even on mold resistant drywall.
What are those conditions?
We must always keep in mind that although mold cannot grow on inorganic surfaces, it can still feed on dust, dirt, dead skin cells, hair grim, and other tiny carbon-based materials that accumulate on these inorganic surfaces.
This means that in reality, it’s nearly impossible to prevent mold spores from getting into an
organic substance that they can feed on.
So even with mold-resistant drywall, mold will still be able to find the necessary food to support its growth and spreading.
Yes, it will be a much slower growth, but it will happen.
The only thing you can really do to prevent this from happening or at least keep it at a slow pace
is to address the moisture issues in your house and reduce your drywall exposure to moisture.
Because like any other living creature, mold spores need water oxygen, food, and light (or
darkness) to survive.
And since you can’t prevent mold from getting food, light, and oxygen, the only thing you can
really control is water and how much moisture penetrates your drywall.
That’s why manufacturers do not market their products as immune to mold but only resistants to it. It means that at the end of the day, it all depends on you.
If you place drywall in a damp and humid environment, mold will still appear even if the panels provide very small amounts of organic food.
On the other hand, if you keep your drywall dry and protected from moisture, mold resistant drywall will help reduce the chances of mold buildup even further.
So Is Mold-Resistant Drywall Worth It?
Now it’s time to answer the most important question. Is mold-resistant drywall worth the
If humid air can make both regular and mold-resistant drywall grow mold, then what’s the
difference between the two?
Put differently, if with both products you still have to worry about moisture issues and put effort into keeping your rooms dry, then what is the added value of mold resistant drywall?
What justifies the higher price for mold resistant drywall, which is typically DOUBLE the price of normal drywall?
All of these questions are legitimate and point to the fact that mold resistant drywall may not be worth the investment and all the marketing efforts that go into it.
Well, the first thing that we can say here is that, of course, you don’t need to replace all your
gypsum boards with mold-resistant drywall.
This can be a huge investment with very little difference to notice.
Instead, you should only invest in mold resistant drywall to put an extra layer of protection in rooms that are most likely to have moisture and mold issues.
Bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, etc. are all places where water condensation occurs more frequently, creating favorable conditions for the growth and development of
So in such rooms, mold resistant drywall may be worth the investment because it will make it more difficult for molds to form on the gypsum boards.
With the same moisture level, regular drywall will get moldy a lot faster than mold resistant drywall.
The mold damage will also be more severe and irreversible.
So yes, in this case, mold resistant drywall can be a good choice because it will save you a lot of
money, headaches, and maintenance time in the long run. And of course, there is no need to mention the attenuation of health risks caused by moldy surfaces.
But if you plan to replace all your wallboards with mold resistant panels, I don’t think you wil see a big difference in all rooms.
Dry and moisture-free rooms will generally be good even with standard (and cheaper ;)) drywall.
Having said that, please note that you still need to put some effort into keeping your building
dry, even in wet and moisture-prone rooms.
Mold resistant drywall will help you by preventing the molds from getting food. In turn, your need to help it back by preventing the mold from having a water supply.
In other words, keeping your drywall mold-free is more than just choosing a nice product and
manufacturer. You still need to do something on your end to reduce the conditions under which mold thrive and spread.
Not to mention, of course, that you need to make sure that there isn’t any structural damage that causes water to flood behind your wall panels. So check your internal pipes and hoses before investing in new drywall.
As always, we hope you found this article helpful, but if you need a professional touch then call the number on this page for support.
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Great info, thanks for sharing.
E. Brown – Miami, FL