Story at a glance:

  • GridMarX® installation guide marks on Gold Bond® gypsum board products show installers where to place fasteners, eliminating the need for repeated measuring.
  • National Gypsum’s exclusive MaX 12® optimized fastener pattern combined with GridMarX can save users up to $70 per thousand square feet.
  • PermaBASE® Cement Board can be installed on exteriors instead of the traditional metal lath and scratch method, saving crews time and money.

Any contractor knows installing substrates like drywall, sheathing, or cement board in either interior or exterior applications can be time-consuming and labor-intensive with all the measuring and marking, checking, and re-checking, scraping, and cleaning. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? With innovative products and systems from Gold Bond® Building Products and PermaBASE® Building Products, provided exclusively by National Gypsum Company, installation can be efficient and clean, saving crews time and money.

Headquartered in Charlotte, National Gypsum Company holds the products it sells to top quality, sustainability, and durability standards. The company is always working to serve its customers better with its technical guides and manuals to take the guesswork out of product application and installation. “The last thing we want is for a contractor or architect on a job site to not know how to properly use our products,” says Matt Gallagher, product manager of gypsum systems at National Gypsum. Gallagher sat down with gb&d to explain more about the company’s innovative time and material-saving systems and products.

How do your products help crews keep projects on schedule?


Photo courtesy of National Gypsum Company

We have many features that enhance productivity and efficiency on the job site. For example, our GridMarX guide marks, which are printed on most Gold Bond gypsum board products, allow installers to follow the fastening pattern without having to measure or mark, leading to faster and more accurate installation. The guide marks run vertically on the boards in four-inch increments and at 16, 24, and 32 inches horizontally so the installer always has a reference point.

We also have, MaX 12, the most comprehensive 12-inch optimized fastener pattern used on single layer UL fire-rated walls—a large part of commercial construction. Together, GridMarX and MaX 12 help reduce costs by limiting the number of fasteners and increasing the speed of installation.

Locating fastener placement is easy with the guide marks – a helpful tool for training. New installers can get fully up to speed quicker, while existing installers can become more efficient by increasing the speed and accuracy of their work. In addition, reducing the number of missed studs during installation saves time in fixing those mistakes while providing easier, higher quality finishing.

The foremost construction cost-estimating company, RS Means Data from Gordian, found that MaX 12 and GridMarX led to significant labor and materials cost savings, including up to:

  • 17% reduction in labor hours
  • 45% savings on fasteners
  • $70 per thousand square feet savings in labor and material costs (estimated before the COVID-19 pandemic)

With the price of fasteners increasing significantly since 2020 and chronic labor shortages, these savings can be the difference needed to win a contract.

How can your products replace traditional time-consuming install methods?


Photo courtesy of National Gypsum Company

Another time- and labor-saving example is utilizing PermaBASE Cement Board versus the traditional metal lath and scratch method of installing exterior stone or thin brick veneer. The metal lath and scratch method can be very inefficient, requiring multiple labor-intensive trips around the building to install weather barriers, hang the metal lath, and apply multiple coats of mortar.

With PermaBASE Cement Board, the same person who hangs drywall can hang the cement board, or exterior crews can easily be trained to hang the board. The process requires only a single weather barrier be installed underneath the PermaBASE and a layer of modified mortar on the surface to adhere the veneer.

Our time/cost study with Home Innovation Research Labs, an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Homebuilders, revealed a 35% installation time savings with PermaBASE Cement Board over the metal lath and scratch installation for adhered stone veneer. This translates to an estimated savings of nine hours of installation time on a typical stone application on a single-family home—a full day’s work. There are also less call-backs as exterior veneers and stone are much more likely to stay adhered in a PermaBASE application as opposed to being attached to a traditional metal lath and scratch method.

Using PermaBASE Cement Board can also contribute to a cleaner job site because it arrives on a pallet for tidy storage and doesn’t require potable water, a mixer and application temperatures above freezing. With strict environmental regulations governing job site runoff, cement washout can be a big deal. Utilizing PermaBASE Cement Board means you don’t have to worry about piles of sand and cement staying put on site.

How are these products high-performance?


GridMarX guide marks allow installers to follow the fastening pattern without having to measure or mark. Photo courtesy of National Gypsum Company

Innovation in product performance, installation, and handling are top-of-mind for scientists and engineers at National Gypsum. Working closely with our customers, we strive to simplify installation processes while also providing products that are durable and prevent callbacks. Faster and more accurate installations make it easier for our contractor customers to secure more projects.

These products also help after installation. Code officials have a lot of work to do. GridMarX guide marks make for a cleaner assembly and help inspectors easily identify fastener patterns. The markings are lined up with the studs so you can feel confident their fastener placement is correct.

What should architects know about your products?

In addition to our product and system innovations, we offer construction guides, manuals, and literature to help architects save time during the design phase and contractors gain efficiencies during the installation phase. Our top resources include:

  • The PURPLE Book® II: The industry’s leading resource for fire-rated assemblies in commercial construction.
  • The SoundBook® 2.0: Provides technical details for acoustical assemblies and drawings of real-world sound-rated designs.
  • The Wood Book™: A manual for fire-rated assemblies in wood-frame construction.
  • NGC Construction Guide: An all-inclusive guide of product information and systems overviews.

We strive to be a resource for all contractors and architects. In addition to this extensive list of technical resources, our Construction Services Team at 1-800-NATIONAL® is available to talk through questions and recommend solutions.