The terminology below describes various levels of finish of gypsum board surfaces prior to the application of specific types of final decoration. The recommended level of finish of gypsum board wall and ceiling surfaces varies with the final decoration to be applied and can also be dependent on their location in a structure and the type of illumination striking the surface. Each recommended level of finish is described with typical applications.
The following definitions provide greater insight into decision making during your remodel or building process:
The following levels of finish are established as a guide for specific final decoration. The minimum requirements for each level shall be as described herein.
Frequently specified in plenum areas above ceilings, in attics, in areas where the assembly would generally be concealed or in building service corridors, and other areas not normally open to public view. Accessories optional at specified discretion in corridors and other areas with pedestrian traffic.
Some degree of sound and smoke control is provided; in some geographic areas this level is referred to as “fire taping.” Where a fire-resistance rating is required for the gypsum board assembly, details of construction shall be in accordance with reports of fire tests of assemblies that have met the fire-rating requirement. Tape and fastener heads need not be covered with joint compound.
Specified where water-resistant gypsum backing board is used as substrate for tile; may be specified in garages, warehouse storage, or other similar areas where surface appearance is not of primary concern./div>
Typically specified in appearance areas, which coverings are to be applied as the final decoration. This level of finish is not recommended where smooth painted surfaces or light to medium wall coverings are specified./div>
This level should be specified where flat paints, light textures, or wall coverings are to be applied. In critical lighting areas, flat paints applied over light textures tend to reduce joint photographing. Gloss, semi-gloss, and enamel paints are not recommended over this level of finish.
The weight, texture, and sheen level of wall coverings applied over this level of finish should be carefully evaluated. Joints and fasteners must be adequately concealed if the wall covering material is lightweight, contains limited pattern, has a gloss finish, or any combination of these finishes is present. Unbacked vinyl wall coverings are not recommended over this level of finish.
The level of finish is highly recommended where gloss, semi-gloss, enamel, or non-textured flat paints are specified or where severe lighting conditions occur.
This highest quality finish is the most effective method to provide a uniform surface and minimize the possibility of joint photographing and of fasteners showing through the final decoration.
For finish paints: A good quality, white, latex drywall primer formulated with higher binder solids, applied undiluted, is typically specified for new gypsum board surfaces prior to the application of texture materials and gloss, semi-gloss, and flat latex wall paints.
An alkali and moisture-resistant primer and a tinted enamel undercoat may be required under enamel paints. Consult with the finish paint manufacturer for specific recommendations.
For wall coverings: White, self-sizing, water base, “universal” (all purpose) wall covering primers have recently been introduced into the marketplace for use on new gypsum board surfaces. These products are claimed to minimize damage if wall coverings are subsequently removed, bind poor latex paint, allow handing over glossy surfaces and existing vinyls, hide wall colors, and to be water washable.