Old habits- and old building practices- die hard. New technologies and improvements are touching nearly every part of our lives, but despite this, it seems like builders are ignoring the new, superior technologies and sticking with the same things they've always done- drywall and wood studs. However, this has proven time and again to not work in a basement. It is, however, cheap.
Here's the bottom line: A basement is not like anywhere else in the home, and drywall is simply not designed for this kind of environment. No drywall- including mold-resistant drywall (also known as green board)- has a long-standing warranty against mold damage, and it certainly isn't warranted to survive a basement flood. Below are five good reasons to choose something other than drywall for your basement finishing.
Drywall Can't Hold its Weight
Cabinets, shelves, hanging plants, large artwork, and just about anything over 10 pounds is a serious challenge for drywall. If you want to mount something heavy, you're going to have to find wall studs to mount this weight- an imperfect and sometimes difficult process. Your positioning will be limited to the locations of these studs, which are often unevenly spaced. And just as it can crumble under too much weight, it's surprisingly easy for you, your children, or a well-placed doorknob to leave a gaping hole.
Drywall Installation Dust
Drywall dust and its problems are possibly the most painful part of a basement remodeling. Drywall is dirty! When remodeling contractors cut these heavy panels for your basement, a thick, fine dust is kicked up, coating everything in the area. This dust can kill ordinary vacuum motors, clogging the filters and causing them to overheat. A professional drywall vacuum can be purchased for about $650, but this is impractical for a homeowner and not commonly used by professionals. To make matters worse, the gypsum in drywall is irritating to eyes, sinuses, and lungs- be sure t wear masks, goggles and gloves during installation.
Service and Renovation Woes
Drywall ceilings are not the best choice in a finished basement when it comes time to do service or maintenance. They provide poor access to pipes and wiring- in some cases, the drywall ceiling will actually have to be removed to complete the job.
Installing a service panel makes this much easier, but it simply doesn't replace the convenience of a suspended ceiling, where every tile doubles as a service access point. And installing drywall on a ceiling is a difficult and expensive process, and the end result is hardly worth the effort.
Black Mold in Drywall
There is no long-term warranty for drywall- even brands that claim to be mold-resistant. Why? Drywall is designed with a gypsum core that's laid between two layers of heavy processed paper. Gypsum tends to absorb water and stay wet for long periods of time, which keeps the paper facing saturated long enough for mold to start growing. Drywall mold begins its damage behind the walls, growing in the moist environment and sending thousands of mold spores into the home. As it begins to cover the outer surface, it adds an ugly black stain on your wall's surface. Eventually, this stain will mature to include peeling, cracking paint, bulging marks behind the paint, and musty smells.
In rare cases, drywall can also support the growth of toxic black mold, a dangerous and potentially deadly strain. However, even when black mold is not present, spores in the air will agitate asthma, leading to a variety of breathing and health-related issues. In many cases, the entire drywall installation must be removed and completely replaced by a trained professional before the area is healthy once more.
"Green Board" is not Green
It's an unfortunate truth. Consider these facts:
To make matters worse, because of its low price and cheap design, there is no cost-effective way to recycle gypsum on the market today. Very little drywall of any kind is being recycled, and the problem is getting worse with every overloaded landfill.
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