The wallboard industry’s ability to control mold growth has come a long way in the past seven years. Thanks to smart building design and new products, the pesky, costly and potential health hazard is taking a back seat. While there is no sure-fire way to eliminate mold completely, containing moisture combined with the introduction of Mold Resistant Wallboard is making a big difference.

Fifty-five percent of 1000 surveyed homeowners expressed concerns about mold, according to a GypsumToday.com article.

Why it’s Important

Not only is mold unsightly and remediation costs significant, mold exposure (particularly at high levels) can lead to health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are sensitive to molds can experience “symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. “In some cases, the reactions can be severe including fever and shortness of breath. People with compromised immune systems are also subject to complications such as asthma symptoms for people with asthma and some studies suggest there is a link between early mold exposure and asthma in some children, particularly those genetically prone to it.

How Biocides Help

Mold needs three things to live: moisture, mold spores and food.  Unfortunately it is not difficult for all three to be present in most environments. And while eliminating moisture is one of the most effective ways to keep mold at bay, it is not always possible (especially in humid conditions or in areas where flooding has occurred). To help contain all three life-giving elements, biocides are placed in the core of a gypsum board where they work most effectively.

Gypsum board manufacturers have been testing biocides, determining which safely works best since 2005. Over seven years, confidence in using biocides has grown and now most leading US wallboard manufactures offer Mold Resistant Wallboard. Other manufacturers have chosen to eliminate the paper entirely, but these boards may still have mold problems if a biocide is not used.

Lonza’s product, Sodium Omadine™ fungicide is one of the leading biocides used in mold resistant wallboard. Through testing, the product proved to be one of the best to control mold growth, achieving a rating of between a 9 and 10 in ASTM 3273 (one of the most accepted standard tests for mold-resistant characteristics of drywall).

The Future of Mold Resistant Wallboard

Today most wallboard companies selling in the United States offer a mold resistant product or have a water or moisture resistant board—it is also sold at Home Depot. The use of biocides to tackle one of the industry’s most persistent challenges has grown significantly, providing long-lasting protection against molds. Due to this success, the trend is being commercially launched in other parts of the world, including Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, Korea and Australia.