What is Gypcrete?

If you’re looking into flooring options, then you’ve probably stumbled across gypsum concrete – otherwise known as Gypcrete. Gypcrete is an increasingly popular option for flooring underlayment in new construction as it hits many of the requirements that residential and commercial property owners are looking for.

The term ‘Gypcrete’ is actually the Maxxon Corporation’s trademarked name for gypsum concrete, but it’s become the generic term for any gypsum concrete flooring.

Gypcrete is close relative to concrete, the main difference is that gypcrete contains gypsum, which is the same material used in drywall. This results in a lighter product than concrete but not quite as durable.

What is Gypcrete?

Gypcrete is a building material containing gypsum, sand, Portland cement, and water. The mixture skews towards a high level of gypsum versus other aggregates, which makes the final product lightweight and easy to work with.

gypcrete flooring underlayerment

Gypcrete is also typically marketed as self-leveling, although some gypcrete mixtures will require some form of manual leveling. Either way, it’s easier to apply than standard concrete, and can be used in thin layers that would not be possible with standard concrete.

The most commonly used application of gypcrete is as a flooring underlayment. This means it’s applied between the subfloor and the top layer of flooring. Like concrete, it can’t be nailed into easily, so nail down wood flooring is not an option when using a gypcrete layer.

Gypcrete Installation

Gypcrete installation must be completed by a professional, so unfortunately a DIY job is out of the question.

The gypcrete is applied in a thin layer using a pump and hose until the entire surface is covered. Then, it’s troweled smooth and allowed to cure. The layer is typically between ½” and 1 ½” thick, but it can also be applied in 3” thicknesses in some cases.

When it comes to the installation itself, it has a much faster install time than concrete, as gypcrete dries and cures rapidly. An entire floor can typically be completed in a single day, and the floor will be able to handle foot traffic in 90 minutes in most cases.

This is a major advantage over traditional concrete, which can take days to cure enough to handle foot traffic and even longer until you can complete heavy work on it.

Gypcrete Strengths and Weaknesses

Gypcrete has a number of features that make it a fantastic flooring underlayment, but it has its limitations.

Gypcrete Strengths

A major advantage of gypcrete is its fire resistance. A ¾” thick layer of gypcrete on a floor or ceiling will provide a 1-hour fire rating. This makes it a popular choice in residential apartment and condo buildings.

Gypcrete also doesn’t contain any toxic substances once cured, as gypsum is a harmless product used in drywall and is even used as a food additive and ingredient in many dental products.

Gypcrete is also popularly used for floors with built-in radiant heating. The reason is that standard concrete is corrosive to metal pipes.

As previously mentioned, the installation process is fast and straightforward, which means an entire building can typically be completed in one to two days.

Another bonus as far as residential buildings go is that gypcrete will provide a good level of soundproofing.

Gypcrete Weaknesses

Gypcrete is prone to cracking around its edges over time. This can be mitigated by using a reputable contractor who knows what they’re doing, but it’s something to be aware of.

Another thing to remember is that gypcrete is not compatible with all flooring types. It won’t work with nail down wood flooring, so it’s typically used with either carpet or vinyl-coated wood flooring.

Denis Gardner

I've loved tinkering and fixing things for as long as I can remember. So, naturally, I gravitated towards DIY and home improvement when I bought my first home. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or messing around with my newest tool!

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