/ FEMA Flood Damage-Resistant Materials Guidelines

New FEMA Guide Accepts Use of "Non-Paper-Faced Gypsum Board"

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a new document in August 2008, titled "Flood Damage-Resistant Materials Requirements", in which the use of non-paper-faced gypsum board for walls and ceilings is listed as acceptable for both commercial and residential buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

Non-paper-faced Dens® Brand gypsum panels, manufactured by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, incorporate fiberglass mats instead of paper facings and comply with the new FEMA requirements. The Dens Brand product array includes interior and exterior gypsum panels which comply under the new guidelines.
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Three years in the making, FEMA's "Flood Damage-Resistant Materials Requirements" provides guidance on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations and serves as a materials guide to help protect buildings that are constructed in SFHAs from damage caused by flood forces. Not only does the report specifically name non-paper-faced gypsum panels as acceptable, the use of paper-faced gypsum board is excluded from the acceptable materials list.

SFHAs are determined by FEMA through a map called a flood insurance rate map (FIRM) which delineates these 100-year flood zones and other risk premium zones, such as an area below a dam, that are applicable to a community.

NFIP regulations for flood damage-resistant materials state that: "… If a proposed building site is in a flood prone area, all new construction and substantial improvements shall… (ii) Be constructed with materials resistant to flood damage.

Drainable/Dryable Wall Assembly

Drainable/Dryable Wall AssemblySee page 16 of the new FEMA guidelines for information about partial wet floodproofing techniques. A drainable dryable wall assembly featured in the FEMA document and similar to the one illustrated above, allows the wall to drain and dry out after a flood event. The wall is built so the chair molding and the base molding can be removed. After removal, the gaps behind the chair molding and the base molding provide space where the wall can be sprayed out with a hose and left to dry.

Attention property owners, inspectors, contractors --

DensArmor Plus high-performance interior drywallSeveral non-paper-faced Dens® Brand gypsum panels from Georgia-Pacific are acceptable under the new FEMA guidelines for wall and ceiling applications in the thousands of SFHAs in the United States. Dens Brand panels are faced with fiberglass mats and feature moisture-resistant cores to resist the effects of surface water exposure while providing resistance to mold growth - and resist exposure to the elements during the early stages of the construction cycle.

For product information and warranties, visit our product pages:

DensArmor Plus® High-Performance Interior Panel is designed as a replacement for paper-faced gypsum board for building interiors anywhere added moisture- and mold-resistance is desirable.

DensArmor Plus Abuse-Resistant Panel is formulated for high traffic areas such as corridors in hospitals, schools and other public buildings.

DensArmor Plus Impact-Resistant Panel, with a special embedded mesh, is formulated for especially high traffic areas such as corridors in healthcare facilities, schools and correctional institutions.

DensShield® Tile Backer is a highly moisture-resistant substrate for floor, wall and ceiling ceramic tile installations and has a built-in moisture barrier which protects tile installations and the wall cavity from the effects of moisture in wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

DensGlass® Sheathing is a moisture-resistant gypsum panel that can be used for exterior walls, ceilings and soffits. With a long established track record, DensGlass Sheathing is widely used and its bright GOLD color is recognized throughout the construction industry.

FEMA Glossary

Missouri floodplain Crystal City, MO, May 17, 2002 -- Water stands in a former residential area that State and local officials included in a floodplain buyout program after the 1993 floods. This is the western edge of this buyout area. Photo by Anita Westervelt/FEMA News Photo

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Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is the land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood on NFIP maps. The SFHA is the area where the NFIP's floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies. The SFHA includes Zones A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, and V.

Base Flood is the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This is the regulatory standard also referred to as the "100-year flood." The base flood is the national standard used by the NFIP and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are typically shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is the official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

Flood Zone is a flood hazard area identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood.


Midwest floods 1993 July 1993 -- An aerial view of floodwaters showing the extent of the damage wreaked by the disaster. A total of 534 counties in nine states were declared eligible for federal disaster aid. As a result of the floods, 168,340 people registered for federal assistance. Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA Photo

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