At this year’s Intex Expo, held last week in Nashville, Lafarge announces that it is launching an improved version of its Rapid Deco L5 drywall. Samples of the new version were on display at the annual show.

The product features an improvement to Lafarge’s patented factory applied Level 5 skim coat technology. Perfected in Europe, this new technology provides a smoother, slicker surface coating that is pre-applied to the gypsum board during the manufacturing process. This coating more accurately replicates the field-applied process while removing the extra time and additional labor required achieving a high quality level of finish.

This new coating also provides an enhanced level of abrasion resistance to resist job site damage and eliminate virtually any fiber rising during sanding, which leads to joint photographing on regular gypsum boards. The product is targeted at more discriminating owners and consumers looking for a seamless substrate for painting and decorating.

The Rapid Deco Level 5 system includes a matching joint compound that provides a consistent texture and absorption to match the board surface. When properly applied, it provides a superior solution to a field applied skim coat and an equivalent substitute to meet an ASTM C840 specification.

This cost effective system will allow applicators and designers to utilize Level 5 finishes more often due to the predictability of the results. The factory applied finish is consistent board after board, project after project. It also eliminates the uneven results often experienced with jobsite applied spray Level 5 alternatives, without the additional preparation, application and clean-up time. “Millions of square feet of Rapid Deco L5 gypsum board have been installed successfully since the original product launch in 2004,” said Terry O'Brien, manager of product development and innovation for Lafarge Gypsum. “Now with a new, more consistent quality surface and enhanced cost effectiveness, the appeal of Rapid Deco will spread from typical Level 5 applications to a broader group of projects desiring an enhanced level of finish.”

In addition, the new Rapid Deco will be manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art plants in Silver Grove, Ky., and Palatka, Fla., which utilize 100-percent synthetic gypsum, and at the Buchanan, N.Y. plant beginning next year. This allows the product to contribute to the attainment of LEED credits for both the Recycled Materials credit (MR 4.1 & 4.2) and the Regional Materials credit (MR 5.1 & 5.2).

“The Rapid Deco system, now sold in 6 other countries, has shown Lafarge's ability to utilize our international technical expertise and develop innovative products which can bring value to our customers around the world,” said Stephen DeMay, vice president of sales.