Gypsum interior is a new trend that Ugandans are beginning to adopt.
According to www.gypsum.org, an online portal, gypsum is a mineral found in sedimentary rock formations in a crystalline form known as calcium sulfate dihydrate. Gypsum rock is mined or quarried and transported to the manufacturing facility.
The manufacturer receives quarried gypsum, and crushes the large pieces before any further processing takes place. Crushed rock is then ground into a fine powder and heated to about 350 degrees F, driving off three-fourths of the chemically combined water in a process called calcining. The calcined is then used as the base for gypsum plaster, gypsum board and other gypsum products.
Patrick Ssenyange, an interior designer at Aluminum and Steel World Uganda, says using gypsum is a recent but modern way of building ceilings. “A gypsum board is soft and can easily break. This flexibility enables the designer to curve and cut out different designs as per the client’s order,” says Ssenyange.
Esther Atwiine who opted to have a gypsum ceiling says the gypsums are trendy, comfortable, add class and beauty to the house and also make it unique.
Solomon Mwanje, an interior designer at Aluminum and Steel World Uganda, says although costly, he tries to get and use cheaper materials and it is because of this that he has been able to subsidise prices for his customers. He also says he keeps clients from thinking they are being exploited by encouraging them to get involved in the whole process from the start.

Advantages
Ssenyange says gypsum board building systems are easy to install for several reasons. Gypsum board panels are relatively large compared to other materials.
They come in 48 and 54 inch wide sheets and in lengths of 8, 10, or 12 feet, so they quickly cover large wall and ceiling areas. Gypsum board assemblies require only a few tools for their construction. The board can be cut with either a utility knife or a variety of saws, and it can be attached with a variety of fasteners, including screws, nails, and staples
Additionally, he says a gypsum board is a fire resistant material and also sound proof, keeping away all unwanted noise.

Chris Kaweesi, who had a gypsum ceiling fitted a couple of months ago says his house is always cool regardless of the weather.
“When I had it installed, I thought it would consume power since there were a number of lights installed. Surprisingly, their consumption is not high at all and my electrical bill has somehow reduced,” says Kaweesi.
According to www.gypsum.org, gypsum board satisfies a wide range of architectural requirements for design. Ease of application, performance, ease of repair, availability, and its adaptability to all forms of decoration combine to make gypsum board unmatched by any other surfacing product.

Where it is placed
Mwanje says in the recent past, gypsums were used in hotels, bars and some clubs because they looked too classy for someone to have in the house.
People thought having it at home would be exaggerating what is required but this has greatly changed. He says gypsums can be placed in the bedroom, sitting room, bathrooms, toilet and kitchen depending on the particular style or feel a client would want to achieve.
“You can have it placed on your ceilings, walls and doors. It is not only attractive but also fire resistant,” he says.

Lights used
Ssenyange says the lights used are not different from the usual energy saving bulbs available on the market.
In addition, Mwanje says energy saving spot lights are placed individually in each provision and their prices range from Shs25,000 and Shs150,000 depending on the quality and durability of the lights.
“The hidden lights or strip lights are in line form and measured in metres. You can light them according to the mood and are controlled by remote. They are common in bars and clubs although they can be placed in a house with different colour settings,” says Ssenyange.
Ssenyange estimates the cost of each line metre at Shs35,000. The metres used depend on the size of the room, how many rooms one wishes to place the lights and where one chooses to purchase the lights from.

Cost
Mwanje, says gypsum is costly because the construction alone without light installation will cost Shs3m. Atwiine advises one to choose what they want and discuss their budget with the designer so that you are not caught off-guard by extra costs.

Limitations of use
• Maintain adequate ventilation in the working area during installation and curing period.
• Do not use gypsum board where exposure to moisture is extreme or continuous.
• Take care to ensure that the gypsum board will not be exposed to temperatures exceeding 125 °F for extended periods of time, for example, when located adjacent to wood burning stoves, electric lighting, electric heating appliances or other heating units.

saanyu@ug.nationmedia.com