Weighing the pros and cons of paperless vs. standard drywall

Q: I have been hearing a lot lately about paperless drywall. Can you please share some information on exactly what this is? Lou from Prescott Valley

A: Paperless drywall is a sheet goods product for covering walls. Paperless drywall has drawn a lot of attention in the marketplace and is an interesting product.

Let's start with traditional drywall which is made of a firm gypsum core that is covered with a special paper. Not all traditional drywall has the same paper facing and, if you look at drywall sheets, you will see some have a blue or green paper covering - this inhibits the absorption of water that will soften the gypsum board.

Paperless drywall is covered with fiberglass that is extremely water-resistant and the gypsum core of paperless drywall is also moisture-resistant, which is not necessarily the case with traditional drywall.

The best advantage to paperless drywall is that it is mold-resistant - not mold-proof, but it helps to minimize the spread of mold. The fiberglass covering on paperless drywall is not a food source for most common molds; therefore mold development is more challenging, and paperless drywall is more unresponsive to mold growth. Another plus to paperless drywall is that the surface is tougher and more damage-resilient.

When installing standard drywall in areas of moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements, a vapor barrier should be installed, and with paperless drywall there is no need for a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is installed to prevent moisture damage to your walls.

The material cost for paperless drywall is more than double that of standard drywall and paperless drywall is more labor-intensive to install. The primary installation areas for paperless drywall are bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas.

There is a slightly rougher surface when you view paperless drywall from a closer view; however, from a distance of approximately 5 feet, you cannot tell any difference between standard and paperless drywall. When a light is cast on paperless drywall, you can sometimes see the texture of the fiberglass matting.

It does take an experienced and qualified drywall finisher to install paperless drywall, and the entire surface of the paperless drywall should be skimmed with a drywall compound. Also, keep in mind there are different methods of skim-coating and different tools to use, so it is important again to make sure you are using an experienced drywall finisher. Paperless drywall is not a do-it-yourself project.

Now that we have given you some basic facts on standard vs. paperless drywall, here are some simple pros and cons:

Paperless pros: Increased mold resistance; more resistant to dings, nicks and dents; no need to install a vapor barrier; a great material for heavy moisture areas.

Paperless cons: More expensive than standard drywall; not as easily repaired; additional drywall mud needed to install.

Standard drywall pros: Made from all-recycled products; easy to repair; less expensive than paperless; readily available on the market.

Standard cons: Does not inhibit mold growth; damages more easily; vapor barrier is necessary in moisture prone areas.-Jeff Hallett, estimator, Chartier Drywall, Prescott

Q: How can I remove nail polish from my hardwood floor?-Edna in Prescott

A: If you have spilled nail polish on your finished wood floor, you are probably going to remove part of the finish when you remove the polish. We suggest that you try to remove the dried-on polish by using a damp, white towel to dab a bit of rubbing alcohol on the spot before you put anything harsher on the finished floor. Before you apply it to the polish, test it on a piece of scrap wood or on a spot of your floor that is covered by furniture or a rug.

If rubbing alcohol does not remove the polish, dab the stain with mineral spirits, a mild petroleum-based solvent that painters sometimes use instead of turpentine to clean paint brushes. Be careful not to spill the solvent on the unstained area of the floor.

Still no luck? Break out the nail polish remover, but use a non-acetone brand. If this still does not do the trick, try an acetone-based polish remover, but be aware that it is going to take the finish off of your floor along with the polish. Lacquer thinner will work much the same way. If you are careful to dab the polish and not the surrounding floor, you will create only a small area of damage to the floor. Lightly sand the unfinished area and then recoat it with an oil-based urethane, using a narrow artist's paint brush. So, Edna - no more nail-polishing over hardwood floors.-Sandy Griffis, executive director, Yavapai County Contractors Association

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. YCCA, your local trusted referral source, can be reached at 778-0040 or at www.ycca.org. Don't start without us!

Submit your questions to ycca@cableone.net and watch for your answer in the weekly real estate section of the Daily Courier.