I’ve been a licensed General Contractor in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 35 years, where my brother and I have operated our design/build home remodeling company. In addition, for the last three decades, we have editorialized about construction trends, products and technology through our national radio program, TV, blogs and more. In the course of our media work, we have had the good fortune of touring many manufacturing facilities to learn first hand how products are made and to better understand how they can benefit pros and consumers alike.
Recently, I had the pleasure of touring the National Gypsum PURPLE Drywall Manufacturing Facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. The tour, which ranged from the lab to the loading dock —and everything in between —, gave me an “up close and personal” look at how the PURPLE family of products are made. Fascinating! I never grow tired of a behind-the-scenes peek at building product manufacturing and the automation, skill, and teamwork that is essential to the process. National Gypsum didn’t disappoint. To say that I learned a thing or two about drywall and PURPLE high-performance drywall products, in particular, would be a huge understatement.
Although I have used PURPLE drywall on many of my projects throughout the years, the tour revealed that I had only scratched the surface when it comes to product diversity, application, features and benefits. In short, PURPLE is no one-trick pony. If anything, it’s a herd of cattle! The range of PURPLE drywall products offerings helps builders turn out the best product possible — for themselves and their customers.
When you think PURPLE drywall you probably think moisture resistance. And while it’s true that PURPLE XP gypsum board has excellent moisture and mold resistance properties, it’s only one member of a family of National Gypsum XP products that offer solutions for scratches, dents and even dreaded noise.
I suppose the biggest message that I got out of my PURPLE tour was that designing and building “sizzle” into a project is great, but, the sizzle is only as good as the “steak” that’s behind it. Solid floors, straight and durable walls and ceilings, and quiet space make for fewer callbacks, happier customers, and a better bottom line. Consequently, when visiting better building projects, you won’t just see PURPLE gypsum board in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry. Heck, depending upon the project, you might see it in just about every room — including the garage!
Got a noise challenge on a project? PURPLE SoundBreak XP Gypsum Board will significantly reduce noise from room to room or between floors. So, if your project includes a home theatre, a nursery, a home office or your customers simply don’t want to listen to their kid’s music or gaming, PURPLE SoundBreak XP is the answer. It’s available in ½” or 5/8”and the retrofit product, SoundBreak XP Retrofit Board, which is 5/16” thick, can be easily applied over existing drywall to quiet a noisy home.
Walls in hallways, stairwells and other high-traffic areas get lots of wear and tear. That’s where PURPLE Hi-Abuse XP drywall comes in handy. As the name implies, the surface is more durable and offers extra protection against scuffs and scratches, yet finishes just like other PURPLE products. How do they test surface durability? With a machine mounted, stiff wire brush that makes repeated passes over the face of the Hi-Abuse XP. Now that’s what I call a test! I’m still trying to figure out how to hook up that testing machine to my barbecue grill!
I’m a baseball fan. And it’s why I’m a fan of PURPLE Hi-Impact XP Drywall that can take a pounding with a Louisville Slugger. Yep, one of the highlights of my tour was the opportunity to take a whack at PURPLE Hi-Impact XP with a baseball bat. Thanks to the reinforcing fiberglass mesh that’s built into the product, there was a bigger dent in my ego than there was in the drywall, which, by the way, I repaired with a simple swipe of PURPLE ProForm XP Joint Compound. Nice contrast from having to remove a section of drywall, back it out, install a patch and then tape and finish. You’ll never strike out when you install PURPLE Hi-Impact XP Drywall in a garage, bonus room, or depending upon how rambunctious they may be, — in kids’ rooms.
We install a lot of tile on our projects and having a durable, waterproof backing is essential. Many traditional backer boards can be heavy and difficult to cut. And when a bathroom remodel is located on the second floor of a home, it can be a real chore getting the product where you need it. And cutting backer board with a saw or grinder can create a disaster of dust and grime. During my tour, I had the opportunity to cut, carry and install PermaBase Cement Board. It’s ultra light; cuts easily with a utility knife and the edges won’t crumble when pounding nails along the edge. It’s available in four thicknesses — ¼”, 7/16”, ½” or 5/8” — and in 3’ by 5’ and 4’ by 8’ sheets. The 7/16” product is a nice alternative to ½” when trying to get one finish to plane into another — as is often the case with remodeling.
Keep in mind that all PURPLE Drywall products have the same mold and mildew resistance that you have grown to love and depend on. You can learn more about the PURPLE family of gypsum products by visiting www.AskForPurple.com.