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Waterproof, durable and easily removable panels?

Mr_Silas | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Hello! First time here 🙂

I’m 25 years old, own 4 rental properties which i do all repairs and maintenance myself. As i have become more fluent in everything that comes along with doing that, i am now ready to do a fix and flip. Or i like to think of it more as a conversion. I have many questions and would love some dialogue in the future of what i want to accomplish.

My main focus is going to be making the house as maintenance free as possible. Super functional, strong and smart.

So my question. I have over the years begun to hate drywall and want to instead do something that is waterproof, durable, easy to clean and easy to remove. Just in case any in wall maintenance needs to be done. Any suggestions? i’d prefer something more sleek and modern. No weird patterns, or designs. I want boring and simple.

So far these are what im considering
-1/2 cement board
-fiberglass panel
-vinyl panel
-npr panel
-pvc panels

Does anyone know of a company that makes a product like this that is meant for what im trying to accomplish? i know if this was a new construction i could do concrete, or use high density insulated foam panels etc. but i need something that i can do on top of the interior pre existing framing of the house.

Thanks Guys!! 🙂

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  1. iLikeDirt | | #1

    If you're going to sell it, you won't be around to realize the advantage of easier future maintenance that comes from using removable interior panels, and you might turn off buyers accustomed to painted drywall or plaster. Sounds like an idea better suited to your rental properties. If you're going for the modern look, run your utilities in exposed surface-mounted conduits. Go for a bold, "industrial" look. Depending on your local market, it might be economically justifiable. I'd buy it. If you've already got the old drywall off, you could replace it with DensGlas panels with a quick coat of paint. As in, bon't bother mudding over the joints and the screw holes. Could be a nice modern look if you choose a cool color for the paint, like a gray, silver, or even a stark, bright white.

    Keep the fire code in mind, whatever you do.

  2. Mr_Silas | | #2

    but i want to pass that along to my buyer. i want to be different than the current superficial flipper. i know it will be more work and i may make less money but it something i want to do.

    i have just spent the last few hours with metlspan and they had some great interior and exterior panels. all tongue and grove fit with urethane insulation. and a think layer of g90 steel thats sealed on the outside. i contacted the local agent and he just flat out turned me down. after the company recommended me a whole set up. really frustrating.

    you make a good point about having something that people will relate to better. can you think of any other paneling material that i could do something like that with? densglass is still Gypsum, which isnt water proof or durable. and its so messy.

    thank you for all your input!! really helps. i want to keep my gears turning and get creative if i have to.
    thats why i started looking and industrial building supplies because i know something out there exists.

  3. pbyar | | #3

    Okay, here's a braindump:
    How waterproof?
    Oil rubbed hardwood or bamboo veneer plywood (out-gassing issues?)
    Marine epoxy encapsulated plywood panels hung on rudder pintles for easy slide up removal (with a big enough reveal at the ceiling)
    Cement board with stainless fasteners. With well considered reveals, it could be quite striking. The panels would give you a great opportunity to change color mid wall, if it's an open plan. .
    Canvas on stretchers and add a Jackson Pollack or Mark Rothko layer
    All of the panel options give you the chance to run flush baseboards, which are the cat's meow meow to my modernist adled brain
    Oo, oo, edge lit, frameless, frosted glass doors
    Okay, I'll calm down. Drywall *is* cheap, easy to repair, and offers some fire rating. For leaving a legacy space, I personally would first want to make certain that it was very well and robustly air sealed, but we all have our quirks.
    One man's must have is another woman's it's gotta go, so if is too aesthetically extreme, all the cost, thought and labor may end up in a landfill. -Just my cheery thought for the morning. :-D

  4. Mr_Silas | | #4

    hey, brain dump all you want.
    "your the deuce i never want to drop" -andy bernard/the office

    no those are all cool ideas. marine epoxy plywood sounds interesting. ill have to look into that.

    i am interested in that cement board idea. i just have to do some research and see if they make cement panels with a smooth enough finish.

    i actually have thought about doing canvas. thats so funny you mention that. as long as the stretching mechanism was easy. and i would have to have some clean insulation behind. but that would make for endless wall changes. i might save that for my next project.

    it is easy to repair, but not for the average person. especially with texture on it. i just personally think just like plumbing and electrical have evolved over time i think drywall will to. and it will be more durable, better against the elements and easier to install. instead of waiting for the next modernization of the current interior residential wall finish technique, im going to create or find someone that is on that path. its ok for people to disagree, its just my own personal belief. And im willing to spend more money, more time and take the risk of it not working perfect or someone not liking it.

    so i have been doing some more research and have found some other cool stuff. let me know what you guys think. i ordered samples from all these companies.

    1.crane composites fiber glass re enforced plastic. seems like a great product. cool textures, easy to install.

    2. marlite also has a great frp panel. smooth white and simple.

    3. moz metals steel sheets. doing a metal wall panel has been growing on me the last few days. depending on how much it is, i think it could be a great choice. durable, no maintenance and will last forever. and it will look awesome.

    4. bridger steel
    ok these guys would be the more industrial metal look. but some of their applications look awesome. would just have to see how to give it a clean finish.

    5. than i also found mbci. biggest panel they have is 12" i think. so i still havent visualized how a interior wall would look. but still has potential. i contacted them to find out more.

    anyways its fun doing all this research and trying to do this. obviously the products are out there and there is a way to do this. just got to find the best one and go for it. as always i appreciate any feedback you guys have :)


  5. iFlyer | | #5

    Keep going, Silas, the more people get exposed to other options, the more questions they will ask and realize not everything has to be the same "just because that's the way we've always done it."

    Detailed finishing is the key, otherwise it just looks half-hearted and poorly thought through - how do you handle edges, corners, light switches and electric outlets. I've used wood panels and corrugated aluminum panels, but mostly for accent wall, or sections.

    In my opinion the FRP panels (and joints) make it look like a commercial kitchen at best, or gas station restroom at worst. .... and keep in mind that most of these choices are acoustically hard and echo, making it important to have softer, sound absorbent materials included such as fabric panels, curtains, flooring (or ceiling).

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    Remember that drywall is vapor-permeable for a reason. If your building is air-conditioned, interior vinyl panels or steel panels can lead to moisture accumulation in your walls -- that means mold and rot. It happens.

    There is a reason that landlords choose drywall. Drywall is inexpensive and easily repaired. Frankly, it's hard to beat.

  7. user-5714885 | | #7

    I am looking into fiber cement products for interior walls. I don't know who markets fiber cement specifically for interior walls. I do know that Durock fiber cement panels are very often used in shower walls but I believe it is marketed as floor tile backer board.

    To my knowledge fiber cement is vapor permeable, although you can certainly make any panel system vapor permeable by leaving the seams open.

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