Glass mat products are potentially the most profitable and fastest growing segment of the drywall market with even more opportunity to expand.
In an industry where technology has been fairly stagnant, the emergence of glass mat drywall products has successfully improved the trade over the past two decades. Glass mat technology offers unique application benefits and is used for a wide variety of drywall applications. Unlike paper-faced gypsum board, glass mat drywall offers moisture and mold protection enabled by the inorganic surfaces of the products which is highly desired in wet or humid application environments.
Until the early 2000’s, Georgia-Pacific held patents on glass mat gypsum board technology and was the only producer of a broad range of products for various residential and commercial uses in the construction industry. Now that the patents have since expired, competing gypsum drywall manufacturers are producing products using similar glass mat technology. The expansion of glass mat drywall products from one supplier to all of the major manufacturers is indicative of growth for these products within the category.
Product Improvements Lead Opportunity
While there are many performance benefits to glass mat technology, challenges still exist. One major issue relates to the surface finishing characteristics that present aesthetic and labor-intensive challenges for contractors on interior wallboards. Specifically, it can be fairly difficult and time-consuming to achieve a smooth transition where joint compound has been applied. Glass mat facings are inherently more textured and rougher than smooth paper faced drywall. Manufacturers have an opportunity to further grow this segment with advanced innovation and continued education. Overall, these products will likely continue to experience product development in this high growth and margin segment of the drywall category.
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