Why Paper Faced Gypsum Drywalls are Highly Debated in India!
Updated: Aug 21
“Technology is always ahead of peoples ability to change, the problem with Indian mindset is we have 19th Century mindset, 20th Century processes and 21st Century Needs"
The Strength in any Gypsum board is in its paper, hence making the core by itself a weak substrate, for the same reason it is light in weight but on the other side it is not great with 1) IMPACT, 2) MOISTURE and 3) UNPLANNED LOADS.
Understanding the Indian consumer is very important as “The aim of marketing innovative technology must be to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”.
IMPACT: On an average 50-60% Indian residence will have 1 kid or more under 15 years of age, the reason why impact is such a necessary requirement for walls is because kids like to play in the house, generally resulting in a direct or indirect impact on walls every once in a while, if the walls are not designed to take such simple impacts, this can lead to a chaos amongst the consumer, as most of the people in India think Internal Partition Walls are Load Bearing and if the walls crack or if you can easily punch a hole in it they fear for their security and safety.
However, not enough efforts are taken by the developers to educate their customers about the difference in load bearing and non load bearing elements in their buildings, and even if the consumer is informed they will still expect their internal partitions to be able to take domestic impacts from playing children, moving furniture or accidental impacts, this is the norm and moving away from this may take many years.
(MindSet Fact: If a drywall is damaged in Australia or USA, people know how to fix it using handy patches, and it is generally a DIY thing in the western world, whereas in India we rely on carpenters for the most basic domestic tasks to be done within a home like putting up a nail on the wall etc.)
MOISTURE: Total population of India was 1.28 Billion as per 2014 census report out of which 560 million stay near the coast, which is generally a good thing but this means trouble for the paper faced gypsum Drywalls, most coastal areas like Mumbai have high salinity and moisture in the air, when it comes to Gypsum Drywalls this means constant moisture movement in the air, a well known general fact is Paper Faced Gypsum boards are no particularly great with moisture as they generally face issues with bacterial told development and bad door, moreover constant exposure to moisture may lead to sagging of Walls made with Paper Faced Gypsum Boards, leading to finishing issues over a 5 year period.
(MindSet Fact: In a moisture-compromised structure, drywall is especially susceptible to damage from exposure to moisture. This is because paper faced gypsum boards, the material drywall is made of, is very sensitive to moisture. Drywall that has been allowed to get too wet can experience numerous problems, such as dissolution and mold growth. In the West projects are known to measure moisture with the moisture meters and generally their onsite practices are very neat and structured as they deliberately try to avoid exposure to moisture, something which will take long time in India to happen as changing site procedure sparks a chain reaction sometimes leading to failure and work delay as except a few companies generally Indian project sites are unable to cope with the teething problems in a systemic change and even if the management is ready to change the system, educating vendors and labour becomes a very difficult task. Eventually, leading to a haphazard or half cooked drywall installations on sites).
UNPLANNED LOADS: The right way to use Paper Faced Drywalls requires a project to undergo an entire Building information modelling before commencing works as these drywalls cannot take exaggerated loads on them, For example most basic things like Television Location , Air Condition locations and Shelf Unit locations need to be finalised beforehand as Paper Faced Drywalls require backer supports generally done in Plywood to hold the lateral loads on it. Moreover, unplanned loading is limited to a few Kilograms as special anchors need to be used.
The Fact of the Indian Residential Consumer is before an actual user moves in the property, it has changed hands thru few or multiple investors, their only motive is to make a margin on these properties and they generally do not care to check about small details on the project specifications. For when the actual user moves in, he/she will go thru a minor or major remodelling of the house generally requires the Walls to take unplanned loads in different locations, this creates major friction with Paper Faced Drywalls as everything needs to be planned before installation of walls. Hence, leading to criticism and bad mouth publicity of the developer on the later/move In stages of the project.
(MindSet Fact: A typical Indian home prefers to load heavy jars of pickles and spices on their kitchen cabinets and storage units, Paper Faced Drywalls cannot facilitate heavy loading on the board which is a cause for concern regarding the acceptability of Paper faced Drywalls in the Indian Walling Market. Moreover, most of the suppliers of these systems have failed to understand the Indian consumer needs, like the use of double doors at entrance, major interior remodelling during move in, ability to hand cabinets on walls etc.)
CONCLUSION: Does this mean, Drywalls are not a better solution to traditional Brick/Block Walls?, the answer is NO, Drywalls are undoubtedly a superior solution to Traditional Partition walls the main reason is because they support our ecology, No Water is used in the construction of Drywalls, also a project can be completed much faster (upto 30%) if it decided to properly implement drywalls in the project, the wastage of materials when using Drywalls is much less compared to the mess created while plastering Brick/Block Walls, Drywalls also make the structure lighter as it weighs 10x lighter than conventional systems which means better resistance to Earthquakes, Fire Resistance and Sound Resistance can be easily achieved and guaranteed on Drywalls. However, “INDIANIZING” Drywalls is a more important thought for Drywalls to thrive, and the good part about this is, there are options available in the market, For Example, Fermacell Gmbh a German firm has readily available systems which can take unplanned loads, deal with moisture and impact, as their materials are not paper faced and have much higher density (1150 Kg/m3), apart from that many other cementitious cladding materials like SCG SmartBoard are available in ample amounts on the Indian market which perform much better than the paper faced drywalls without really affecting the price of the Systems.
“ For a innovative technology to be successful, it is very important for it to have one leg in familiarity (in this case Impact , Moisture, Unplanned Loads) and other leg in usable Innovation (i.e, Protecting Ecology, Reducing Waste, Making structures more Earthquake friendly, Fire Resistance and Sound Resistance)”.