Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels: Single-Family Homes

Add extra surface durability where it is needed most

1. Stairway     2. Entryway
Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels help walls resist surface damage where extra activity increases wall contact

Physical Description
Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels are commonly available in a 5/8” (15.9 mm) thickness, a 48” (1.2 m) width and lengths from 8’ (2.4 m) to 12’ (3.7 m). Boards are manufactured with heavyweight front and back facers made of either extra-durable paper or naturally tough fiberglass mats. Long edges are normally wrapped with the facer material and tapered for faster, easier joint finishing and short edges are cut square. Each panel’s high-density core is often formulated for enhanced mold and moisture resistance as well as fire resistance. The applicable product manufacturing standard is ASTM C1629.

Advantages and Benefits
Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels are an excellent example of a product developed to relieve a specific durability concern that can also contribute several other valuable benefits in a well-designed home.

o Wall Performance – Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels are reinforced to handle minor surface bumps, scrapes and scratches better than standard gypsum drywall. They are specially engineered for use on walls where high traffic and activity make wall contact a recognized expectation. Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels also provide laboratory-test values for comparative evaluation of their resistance to abrasions and minor indentations caused by both soft- and hard-body impacts.

o Construction Efficiency – Wall construction with Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels involves the same system assembly, installation process and application timing as standard drywall. It offers the same application and finishing efficiencies that make gypsum wallboard the interior wall surface of choice, plus the added benefit of extended durability.

o Maintenance Simplicity – Occasional repairs to minor surface damage and dents can be accomplished quickly, cost efficiently and effectively with common tools and techniques as well as basic carpentry skills.

o Mold and Moisture Protection – It is very common for Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels to be manufactured with enhanced resistance to moisture absorption and mold growth in addition to their primary surface toughness. It’s just one more precaution to help prevent damage and decay from compromising the insulation, sound attenuation and fire protection values designed into the wall systems of a home.

o Fire Resistance – Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels can also contribute to a residential structure’s fire protection strategy. They are produced with a non-combustible Type X core and are UL Classified for use in any fire-rated assembly where a 5/8” Type X panel is approved. Refer to GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual. Consult with gypsum manufacturer for specific recommendations.

o Noise Reduction – Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels can help minimize the transfer of unwanted noise from exterior sound sources into a home or between adjacent rooms inside a single-family home. They may be used anywhere 5/8” Type X gypsum wallboard panels are specified in tested sound control assemblies. Refer to GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual. Consult with gypsum manufacturer for specific recommendations. more

o Finishing Flexibility – Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels may be textured, painted or decorated with the same finishing materials and flexibility as traditional drywall panels.

Damage-Resistance Classifications
To provide a way of comparing the expected performance of different brands of Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels, laboratory tests are conducted in accordance to ASTM C1629 to simulate wear that could be experienced in a typical single-family home application. Product samples are exposed to four different potentially damaging forces on specially designed test equipment and ranked into one of three different classifications based on the degree of damage each sample sustains.

o Surface Abrasion – Measures the ability of a gypsum panel facer to resist surface scratches and scuffs by exposing the panel to a 25 lb. weighted wire brush held against the sample’s surface. The sample is moved back and forth 50 times. Based on the depth of the abrasion at the conclusion of the test cycle, the board is assigned to one of three classification levels.

Classification LevelMax. Abrasion Depth
10.126″ (3.2mm)
20.59″ (1.5mm)
30.010″ (0.3mm)

o Surface Indentation – Measures the ability of a gypsum panel to resist dents caused by small, hard objects by exposing the panel to the impact of a round-tipped rod. Based on the depth of the indentation the impact causes, the board is assigned to one of three classification levels.

Classification LevelMax. Indentation Depth
10.150″ (3.8mm)
20.100″ (2.5mm)
30.050″ (1.3mm)

o Soft-Body Impact – Measures the ability of a gypsum panel to resist a single impact from a heavy soft object by exposing a sample panel to the impact of a swinging leather bag loaded with steel pellets. Based on the energy required to fracture the panel calculated from the leather bag’s weight and drop height, the board is assigned to one of three classification levels.

Classification LevelMin. Fracture Energy
190 ft·lbf (122 J)
2195 ft·lbf (265 J)
3300 ft·lbf (408 J)

o Hard-Body Impact – Measures the ability of a gypsum panel to resist the impact of a hard object by exposing a sample panel to the impact of a steel cylinder on a pendulum. Based on the amount of force required for the cylinder to penetrate through the panel, the sample is assigned to one of three classification levels.

Classification LevelMin. Penetration Energy
150 ft·lbf (68 J)
2100 ft·lbf (136 J)
3150 ft·lbf (204 J)

Gypsum panel performance characteristics vary by manufacturer. Consult with the gypsum manufacturer you are considering for the specific classification levels that pertain to your project goals.

In order to accomplish the design requirements established for a single-family home project, several application limitations should be observed. These recommendations are intended to provide general information only about considerations that are common in this category of special performance gypsum products:

o Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels are intended for interior use only
o Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels are nonstructural and are not designed to be a fastener base for mounting other materials
o maximum framing spacing should be no greater than 16” (406 mm) o.c.
o avoid exposure to prolonged temperatures exceeding 125°
o do not finish Abuse-Resistant Gypsum Panels before structure is properly enclosed
o not intended for constant exposure to moisture, ponding or cascading water
o not designed to be used as a substrate for tile applications

Refer to the document GA-216 Application And Finishing Of Gypsum Panel Products for more specific information.

Products vary by brand. For more specific limitations related to the gypsum panel being considered, consult with the product’s manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to typical questions our technical experts address on a routine basis. These answers may provide additional information you are seeking as well. To submit an inquiry of your own, click here.

1. I’m a little confused. Where should I use abuse-resistant wallboard and where should I use impact-resistant wallboard?

Many designers find that either board will work fine in areas that are subject to a little more “wear and tear.” However, there are some differences to keep in mind when selecting the best board for your application. For example, boards classified as abuse resistant typically have higher abrasion and indentation resistance (meaning a classification level of 2 or 3 per ASTM C1629 for both). Boards that are impact resistant would have similar classification levels for the hard and soft body tests in C1629.
So, is it more likely that the wall could be regularly “side-swiped” by a child carrying sports equipment, or someone carelessly carrying a package? Or, is it more likely someone might hit the wall “full-on” with a large object as might happen in a home workshop or garage? If the answer is “side-swiped”, you should probably consider abuse-resistant boards. If the answer is “full-on,” then you may wish to choose impact resistant to reduce the likelihood of penetration into the wall cavity.

2. Does the additional panel strength of abuse- or impact-resistant panels allow them to be applied on assemblies with wider spacing?

No. Stud and frame spacing is dictated by design standards and the building code.