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Here at USG, we stand by our products. As an industry innovator with over a century of experience providing products and materials our customers have come to trust, we take claims about product performance very seriously.
While improper storage of products or expired materials will undoubtedly influence the quality of the final installed and finished system, it’s been found that a vast majority of our technical support is related to the environmental conditions and how they affect USG products. This is why it’s important to have a full understanding of outside factors that affect drywall installation and finishing.
Construction has a penchant for weather delays, but it’s not without any good reason. If products are not installed under ideal conditions, it can lead to diminished performance and costly repairs.
The ideal conditions for installation, finishing, and decorating of gypsum materials are closely matched to intended occupancy environments. Anything too hot, too cold, too humid, etc. can impact product performance. This is why temperature, humidity, ventilation, and moisture should be maintained prior to stocking, installing, or completing finishing or final decoration.
There are three forms of outside influence or movement that can adversely affect final product performance:
Movement is the main reason why USG recommends control joints and perimeter relief to better account for any expansion or contraction experience on the jobsite.
Poor jobsite conditions can affect gypsum board. On their surface, it may seem like these effects are a result of poor-quality products, but the real issue tends to be more dependent on the environmental factors that result in movement on the jobsite.
Appearance defects can also be affected by poor conditions. Variance in drying times can lead to paint color/texture variations, sheen, and even bubbling of the finish paint
Despite their drastic effect on construction materials, there are many easy ways to test and prevent negative jobsite conditions. In taking a few precautionary steps, you will save yourself time, effort, and most importantly, money.
Using a Joint Compound Drying Time chart can be very helpful in this respect, giving you a simple reference guide by which to evaluate risk; just be sure to keep the temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the finishing process.
Measuring the surface temperature of the wall, as well as the temp/relative humidity of the air can also provide some insight. Surface temperature should always be maintained above the dew point throughout the curing process. In fact, referring to the dew point temperature can also help evaluate your job conditions. As a general rule, do not apply compounds or coating unless the surface temperature is at least 5 degrees above the dew point temperature of the room.
The use of HVAC systems before, during, and after installation and finish/decoration will also do wonders in keeping your jobsite under control. Keep the system on after work and on weekends to avoid large swings in environmental conditions. A free-standing heat source can be helpful in maintaining jobsite conditions, but never use un-vented, temporary heaters. They produce fumes that can stain surfaces as well as bleed through textures and paint. Additionally, propane and/or kerosene heaters add water vapor to the air as they burn, naturally raising the levels of humidity. If you do use a heater, it should never blow directly on the surface of the wall; this will cause rapid drying, cracking, and delamination.
Environmental conditions can adversely affect the average jobsite but approach the situation with a unified and detailed plan to address round-the-clock environmental conditions. Not only will this ensure a smooth, seamless finish, but optimal environment conditions can eliminate call-backs and costly re-work, which are often more expensive to repair than the original work.