An important thing to understand about a building’s structural durability is that it needs to breathe. The idea might seem strange but it’s a crucial factor in avoiding decay and dampness — especially in older buildings. The breathability of construction materials refers to their ability to pass moisture — in the form of water vapor — through the structure, in order to avoid it from being trapped, leading to interstitial condensation.
People often confuse a wall’s breathability with its ability to pass air rather than water vapors. This is an important distinction when referring to insulation, because if your wall lets air pass through, you will lose heat in the winters while the summers will let the hot air into air-conditioned buildings — making your A.C system work twice as hard to dry out the moisture.
Since magnesium oxide wallboards are water-resistant, they are increasingly being used in buildings instead of their alternative — gypsum-based drywalls. Here are some benefits of building a breathing wall with MgO boards:
1. MgO boards have highest fire and mold resistance rating
As top-class building materials, MgO boards are non-combustible — virtually considered impervious to fire. They even have the highest fire standard among the alternatives —without the addition of chemicals. Moreover, MgO is mold and bug free since mold simply doesn’t grow on it due to the MgO board’s salt content which makes them ‘non-nutritious’ to fungus and any such insects.
2. MgO is non-toxic
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified about 16,000 chemicals of concern among the chemicals used in construction and announced their prioritized assessment based on the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Free from harmful substances like asbestos and formaldehyde, MgO doesn’t pose danger to human health. Plus, magnesium oxide boards don’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which not only have adverse health effects but also pollute the indoor air. MgO is also environmentally-friendly since it is classified as a mineral. Therefore, using MgO boards in indoor construction can improve the the breathing space.
Alternative building materials or insulations that are generally free from asbestos, often contain cancer causing agents—called carcinogens—and require a hazmat suit for installation. On the contrary, MgO board installation is safe, owing to its chemical-free and natural properties.
3. MgO is versatile
MgO boards are versatile just like cement sheathings and gypsum. However, they are increasingly used in damp places to increase the building’s performance. They can be used both indoors and outdoors for ceilings, structural sheathing for wood boards, firewalls or shower stall backer boards. With flexibility greater than cement boards, MgO boards are also high impact resistance.