As DIY home bloggers, Cassity and I get to learn about and try many different products that are used in and around a home. Most of our blog posts show pictures of what a room looks like in the final stages, but recently we got the chance to learn more than we thought possible about drywall!! We learned the importance of making good decisions about the drywall and cement board that goes up behind the paint or tile, that makes the room even better and is a good foundation for all that goes in the space! Thank you to National Gypsum for partnering with us and teaching us about their product product called PURPLE XP® .
The best part of learning about this PURPLE XP® drywall was to go out and actually meet the company behind it, National Gypsum. They flew me out to their Charlotte, NC headquarters for two days to teach me about their line of drywall. There were 4 other bloggers there as well, learning about the product.
It was fun to meet new bloggers and hear what projects they were working on. We also got to meet the TV host of DIY Network's Mega Dens, Anitra Mecadon. She was super nice and very passionate about promoting this cool drywall product.
So what is PURPLE? That was one of the questions that I had when National Gypsum first contacted us. Isn’t drywall all the same? It’s just drywall right? Well I learned that there is A LOT more to drywall than I thought.
This PURPLE drywall can be placed all over the house, not just in the bathroom, and there are many specialized versions of the product.
After learning the benefits of the new line, here is a summary of PURPLE XP Residential Products and Features I was impressed with:
- All the following products are all mildew, moisture and mold resistant.
- They are all XP and that stands for extra protection.
- All the drywall is made of natural and synthetic gypsum and made in the USA.
- They come in 4×8 sheets or longer than 8′ if needed.
- The drywall comes in 1/2″ and 5/8″ thicknesses.
- All the drywall products cut like regular drywall.
- All of their drywall is fire resistant.
- PURPLE XP® Drywall
- Great for all over the house especially bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. The wet areas of the home.
- Hi-Abuse® XP® Drywall
- Great for extra protection in hall ways and high traffic areas that take a lot of abuse.. or lives with teenagers!!
- Hi-Impact® XP® Drywall
- Great for garage, playrooms, home gym and areas where the wall would get hit a lot.
- Holds up to hi-impact hits without creating huge holes to have to repair.
- Has a fiberglass mesh on the back side to give it the added strength.
- SoundBreak® XP® Drywall
- Great for living rooms, media rooms, bedrooms to keep down the noise.
- Reduces the sound levels from other adjacent rooms by about half or more.
- ProForm® XP® Ready Mix with Dust-Tech® Joint compound
- Even the joint compound is mildew, moisture and mold resistant.
- This joint compound also reduces the amount of dust in the air by about 60%. It is made to fall to the floor while sanding and not get air borne.
- PermaBase PLUS® Cement Board
- The perfect board for around showers and tubs.
- Naturally mildew, moisture and mold resistant
- Flexible to shape around curved designs.
- Light weight.
- Easy to cut and snap with a utility knife.
- 7/16″ thick.
They even have drywall sheathing that they install on the outside of homes. When we were driving around Charlotte we would see a lot of new buildings going up with purple sheathing. It became a game to see who was using their new product.
Visiting the Testing Center
When I was at headquarters they let us see their testing center and try out a couple of tests on their drywall ourselves. The best test I did was taking a bat and try to smash a hole in the drywall. This was a test for the PURPLE Hi-Impact® XP® drywall. With my first hit I only made a small dent about the size of a silver dollar. I thought I would have been able to swing really hard and really smash a hole through it, but I was wrong. It took about five more really hard hits (in the exact same spot) to actually break through the drywall, but it still didn't make a hole completely through the drywall.
The PURPLE Hi-Impact® XP® drywall has a fiberglass mesh that doesn't allow it to make a complete blown out hole. So this makes it easier to patch the drywall on the dented side without having to patch an entire blown out hole. I thought that was really cool. No more patching big holes with this stuff.
We watched an abrasion test on the PURPLE Hi-Abuse® XP®, taking a 150-pound weight and scratching the surface for a minute of time with a metal brush. After a minute it didn't even penetrate through the paper. But with regular drywall within a minute it scratched halfway through the drywall board.
They showed us their cement board, PURPLE PermaBase PLUS® Cement Board, and how easy it was to cut and install. Typically I have had to cut cement board with a reciprocating saw and make a big mess, but not this stuff. Their cement board, PURPLE PermaBase PLUS®, weighs a lot less and is super easy to cut. In fact, you can just cut it with just a utility knife like you would drywall.
It can also be shaped to a curved wall, like this.
It also has a PURPLE edge coating that holds the board from cracking when you nail it close to the edge. Such a great feature that is really useful!
After lunch we went on a little field trip of one of their manufacturing plants.
This was one of their newest, most recent, drywall manufacturing plants. The plant itself was a half a mile long! Wow, it was so long. The plant was so long because of how fast they're producing the drywall and the amount of time it needs to cure before they cut it into sheets. Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures to show how it was made, but it was super impressive. We were able to see the two layers of paper and the mud come together to create the sheet as it rolled along the huge half-mile track. We actually walked along the track to see the whole process. So while it was rolling on the track it was hardening and getting ready to be cut and baked. Once it was cut they send it back the opposite way into some very huge ovens they were 14 layers of drywall high. Then we got to see it all packaged up and stacked. The most impressive thing was that the whole plant ran with about 15 workers at a time.
The Drywall Competition
The last day we were there in Charlotte, they had a drywall competition between the five bloggers attending. The competition was to see who could screw in a certain amount of drywall screws, mix up drywall compound, tape a seam and hang up cement board. All within a certain amount of time. We also were able to see how big a of a dent we could make in our opponent's drywall, for them to have to patch, as a way to kick off the competition. Finally after about a 30 min race, the competition was over. It was judged on quality of work and cleanliness of job site. I felt pretty good about my work, but I was not quite sure about the results. I was competing with some pretty good drywallers. After a little bit of time judging the judges came to conclusion.
And the winner is…!
I won! I couldn't believe it! I won this really awesome metal. It was lots of fun.
Our Bathroom Project
Right now in our own house projects, we are building in a basement bathroom. It has literally been plumbed and just sitting there undone for 50 years. We are making a full bathroom out of a powder room, and it is a newish project for us – we've remodeled existing bathrooms and even added a powder room, but building one from scratch is pretty new!! We have never dealt with creating a watertight shower space, and we have been sort of waffling on what to do and how to do it right. I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything right to keep it watertight and free from mildew, moisture and mold issues in the future, so the timing of learning about a new drywall was perfect.
After everything I've learned, I can go home with all this awesome knowledge and be able to tackle my next big project. My question earlier of what to put up around the tub was answered with this trip. I'm gonna use their cement board, PURPLE PermaBase PLUS® all the way around the tub and along all the walls in the bathroom, because it's going to create the best moisture barrier between the shower and the walls and the tile – lots of tile. It will also have the best bond for the tile on all the walls in the bathroom. On the ceiling I will be installing PURPLE XP® drywall. I won’t have tile up on the ceiling but I will have to protect it from moisture from the shower.
Can't wait to get started.
Thanks National Gypsum for the great information and showing me your great product in Charlotte, NC. Now I know what product I need to get started on my next project. I can’t wait to start hanging drywall in our new bathroom remodel.
What projects are you guys working on? Be sure to AskForPurple for your next drywall project. You will thank me!