Pre-treated drywall aims to lock in sustainability

Drywallers, put down those coaters. Your jobs may now be easier. And future buildings? Hopefully, they will be more efficient, too.

A joint venture of Chicago-based building supplier USG Corp. and Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing, Beachwood, OH, has joined existing systems to create an air-tight barrier system that optimizes air, water and and vapor in building structures by pre-treating drywall panels before they are hung on the jobsite.

The Securerock ExoAir 430 system is purportedly the first integrated gypsum sheathing panel with a factory-applied fluid air-barrier membrane, uniting USG’s Securock Glass-Mat Sheathing and Tremco’s fluid applied air/water barrier membrane into a single panel. With panels coated inside USG factories, trades no longer will have to spend time and money treating them in the field. That should lower labor costs, according to the product website.

But the two parents aren’t the only ones singing their child’s praises.

In April at a NYC gala, the independent Edison Awards annual competition honored the USG-Tremco system with a Silver medal in the Building Construction & Lighting Innovations category. Intended to promote “excellence in new product and service development,” the award for Securock credits the product as “the first-ever barrier panel that fully protects buildings from air, water, vapor and thermal factors – making a structure more energy efficient and sustainable.”

“With the current system, people are applying these membranes at the job site,” said USG VP Srinivas Veeramasuneni, speaking last month to Crain’s Chicago Business at USG’s Corporate Innovation Center in Libertyville IL. “It takes time and it’s not consistent. When you have (inclement) weather, you have weather delays,” he added.

But the 430 System allows work to proceed during such weather. Membrane adhesion isn’t compromised by rain. Nor is it affected by improper sheathing preparation.

Equally important, according to USG, the 430 promotes product consistency, alleviating concerns about application variability when the membrane is applied in the field. In fact, controlled factory conditions “promote mil thickness and uniformity,” significantly reducing — if not eliminating — rework in the field.

The result, USG and Tremco say, is “energy-efficient buildings that reduce heating and cooling costs, improve the comfort, health and safety of building occupants, and ensure the building will last for its designated service life.” Four years in the making, the new product was delayed until the two firms could determine how to pre-coat sheets safely and consistently in a manner that promoted proper drying. So far, so good.

Already, the new panels have helped 10 customers to cut installation time by 30%, says USG.