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Moisture Resistant Plasterboard – Waste of Money?

Moisture Resistant Plasterboard

What is Moisture Resistant Plasterboard?

Moisture Resistant Plasterboard is like regular plasterboard in appearance. It is often made of the same base materials, with the addition of water resistant additives in the manufacturing process to give it protection against elevated moisture and humidity. Most often it is used in locations which have these higher levels of moisture, such as bathrooms, utility rooms and kitchens etc and is commonly more expensive, for reasons we will explain next.

One material that is sometimes added to Moisture Resistant Plasterboard is silicone which is known for its water resistant properties, amongst other things. This, and other water resistant materials can be added to the fabric of the Moisture Resistant Plasterboard or additionally, the coating too.

In many ways, the topic of Moisture Resistant Plasterboard is similar to our article on Anti Condensation Paint, where we looked at the pros and cons of its use, we will do the same in this article, especially in relation to water damage related problems in homes and businesses.

Ceiling Leak
Ceiling Leaks

Plasterboard, Moisture and Damp

On our page about the Top 10 Signs of a Water Leak, number one on that list was “Visible Signs of Damp, Moisture or Water” and commonly in UK properties, that will be visible damp on walls behind a wall or a ceiling leak. In both of those instances, and ceiling water damage, plasterboard can be involved.

We discuss damp further in our guide to types of damp most commonly found in the UK and additionally in our useful article explaining in more detail about cold spots on walls.

As we have said repeatedly on this site, regular plasterboard (and other building materials for that matter) does not ‘like’ elevated moisture. Not only can it cause things such as mould problems, but also structural problems over time, weakening the material.

Anyone that has seen plasterboard that has been into contact with damp or a water leak will know that plasterboard can soon become discoloured, become soft, crack or even (in the worst case) collapse.

This is where there is a potential role for Moisture Resistant Plasterboard, or Waterproof Plasterboard which is not necessarily the same thing. It’s also important to point out that it is different to ‘Mermaid board’ or ‘Aqua board’ etc, they are generally different and not to be confused with each other.

Sticking to Moisture Resistant Plasterboard…

What Does ‘Moisture Resistant’ Mean?

This is actually a very interesting point when it comes to Moisture Resistant Plasterboard. The first thing to say is that ‘Moisture Resistant Plasterboard’ does not necessarily mean all items with that description are identical, do your own research on each manufacturer or retailer for exact details, specifications and standards they confirm to.

However, when you research online for various manufacturers, retailers or forums you will see comments or statement about how Moisture Resistant Plasterboard is suitable for “high humidity areas” or things like ‘tolerates moist conditions’, “reduce the water absorption”, “reduce the risk of water damage” etc. Even in the standards that are applied have different gradings for different levels of moisture absorbance performance.

So as you can see Moisture Resistant Plasterboard, in particular the word ‘resistant’ suggests improved protection but not necessarily waterproof. There is actually an interesting article on the Bob Vila website called ‘Water Resistant vs Waterproof’ which digs into this in more detail. On there, they say “Water-resistant building materials can withstand some exposure to moisture but are still susceptible to water damage”. That is a clear and useful comparison and can apply to other things.

Water Damage Restoration
Water Damage Restoration Equipment

Moisture Resistant Plasterboard and Water Damage

As well as being experts in Water Leak Detection, we are also Water Damage Restoration professionals too. So whether you have a water leak, damp or even a flood at your house, we can help. We think that there is certainly a role and benefit of using Moisture Resistant Plasterboard, especially in rooms in properties where moisture and relative humidity are higher, even given the potential higher cost. Again, that’s something for you to decide if it is worth it.

That said, if you have a particularly bad problem with a water leak, damp on walls (including penetrating damp), condensation problems, leaky roof or even a flooded house then Moisture Resistant Plasterboard will still likely have issues and it obviously won’t solve the problem itself, it is not a magic wonder solution. Clearly the worse the problem, the more the damage will likely be.

To understand more about condensation on this topic – see our dew point chart page.

Condensation Problem
Condensation Problems

Ironically, given our comment earlier about signs of a water leak, it’s possible that Moisture Resistant Plasterboard might slow down the signs that might let you know that you have an issue such as a water leak but that’s not to say, as we said above, that we are against it (we’re not). It is a case of understanding the pros and cons as well as other options available.

We started out by comparing some of the content in this article to other things we have written previously and, as we suspected, we’ve ended up with similar observations. Our main conclusion that we would like to leave you with is this…

If you have a problem with a water leak (or other water damage issues), it is very unlikely that Moisture Resistant Plasterboard will make that problem go away – specifically the source of the problem. It can help reduce damage but do not ignore a water leak or try to mask it as it is something that you will likely regret and cost more in the long-run.

As we always say, if you think you have a water leak, find and fix it asap. If you think you have a water leak but cannot find it, contact us for help. Our leak detection team are experts in finding leaks, hidden ones in both domestic and commercial properties. logo logo

Is moisture resistant plasterboard any good?

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Moisture resistant plasterboard does have some useful uses in particular situations. However, it’s really important to understand its applications and limitations. For example, moisture resistant plasterboard does not stop the reasons for moisture in the first place, such as problems with penetrating damp, a water leak or even condensation problems. Make sure you understand what is causing the moisture in the first place before thinking its a magic fix-all solution. It does have uses though.

Is all plasterboard moisture resistant?

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No, all plasterboard is definitely not moisture resistant. Although there are varieties of moisture resistant plasterboard, most ‘standard’ plasterboard or plaster is not moisture resistant. In face, plaster can absorb a lot of water and can become weakened, cracked or distorted (especially on ceilings) if if comes into contact with water. Plus, wet or damp plaster can be a fertile breeding ground for mould in properties. It provides moisture and nutrients to mould.

How do you moisture proof plasterboard?

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There are two main ways to moisture proof plasterboard. The first, and most obvious is to use, moisture resistant plasterboard when doing the installation or maintenance. The other method is to paint it with moisture resistant paint or sealant. However, it is important to remember that this will not solve the cause of the damp and, in fact, it could trap it which could cause secondary damage to your property.