News / Calgary

Calgary company stands to gain from drywall tariffs

Drywall alternative Dragonboard is practically fireproof

Dionne Mascarenhas’s company D Buzz Group has exclusive rights to distribute Dragonboard – a fire-resistant drywall alternative – in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Dionne Mascarenhas’s company D Buzz Group has exclusive rights to distribute Dragonboard – a fire-resistant drywall alternative – in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Builders in Alberta say they’re alarmed by a new tariff on drywall imposed by the Federal government earlier this month, but one Calgary company is hoping their drywall alternative will find the silver lining in this cloud.

Dionne Mascarenhas is president of D Buzz Group – a Calgary based distributor for Dragonboard.

The product is similar to gypsum-based drywall, but is instead made from magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride.  

What’s different is that it’s non-flammable, with a two-hour fire rating. It also stands up to water and is mould and mildew resistant.

If the tariffs stay in place, Mascarenhas expects business to pick up.

“It will have a huge impact on us in a positive way. Our product is always a bit higher in price than drywall, but normally a builder who wanted to use the product wouldn’t care.”

She said the product has become more common in larger commercial builds as well as condominiums. However she’s hoping to break into smaller residential home market.

“It’s the residential clients who are a bit resistant because it’s their end user would be paying a higher price for something. But now it would make more sense for them to use our product versus drywall.”

She said given the product’s fire rating, it could have a huge appeal to those rebuilding in Fort McMurray.

The Canada Border Services Agency imposed preliminary tariffs of Sept. 6 on U.S. gypsum board imported into Canada for use in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

A spokesman for Canada's largest independent gypsum supplier said the tariffs undermines the stability of the industry and could impact the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, where thousands of buildings were destroyed by fire earlier this year.

"If we can't get enough material to ship into the province of Alberta then as Fort McMurray stands, it would be affected like everybody else," said Doug Skrepnek, chief executive officer at WSB Titan.

- With files from The Canadian Press