Unlock time, cost savings with the new MaX 16 optimized fastener pattern

Mar 27, 2023

The innovative fastener pattern can help commercial drywall contractors speed up installations and streamline inspections


With ongoing construction labor shortages and the rising cost of drywall fasteners, improving efficiency while maintaining the quality of installation tops the priority list for many commercial drywall contractors. That’s why the new MaX 16® optimized fastener pattern is a must-have innovation.

The combination of MaX 16 with National Gypsum’s patented GridMarX® installation guide marks opens a whole new world to commercial drywall installers working on buildings with metal framing spaced 16” on center: consider the savings on drywall fasteners by using one every 16” (instead of every 8” or 12”) on a 1-hour fire-rated wall with metal framing. Think of the time saved on training new drywall crew members if all they need to know is install a fastener at every 16" on the gypsum board.

What are GridMarX installation guide marks and how do they work with the MaX 16 fastener pattern?

National Gypsum Company created GridMarX after observing drywall installers at work — where typical installation includes marking lines to cut the board when laying out a wall and then hanging the board, followed by measuring and marking for fastener placement.

GridMarX eliminates this time-consuming process with marks printed on every 4-foot-wide gypsum board product manufactured by Gold Bond Building Products. GridMarX are printed parallel to the long edge of gypsum board panels every 4":

  • Along both edges
  • At 16” from each edge
  • Down the center at 24” from each edge

Using GridMarX, National Gypsum created MaX 12®, the industry’s first 12” on center optimized fastener pattern for single layer, 1-hour UL fire-rated assemblies on metal framing spaced 24” on center. MaX 12 was recognized as the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s (AWCI) 2021 Excellence in Construction Innovation Award winner in 2021.

Following on the success of MaX 12, National Gypsum tested and passed four, 1-hour fire-rated UL wall designs that require one fastener every 16” — the MaX 16 optimized fastener pattern — instead of the industry standard pattern of 8” on the perimeter and 12” in the field of the board.

The result: a crew building a 1-hour fire-rated wall will only count every fourth GridMarX to install fasteners. In addition, they can use the same fastener pattern regardless of whether the wall being installed is a vertical or horizontal fire-rated wall or an unrated wall, simplifying the installation process.


Why MaX 16 with GridMarX is right for your next project?

MaX 16 streamlines the drywall installation process from installation to inspection. Contractors looking for construction cost-saving ideas should consider the following MaX 16 benefits.

1. The MaX 16 fastener pattern saves time and labor costs.

Drywall contractors are measured on the speed of their install and how many boards they can hang in a day, so time and efficiency matter. The combination of MaX 16 with GridMarX takes the guesswork out of fastener placement, meaning installers don’t have to worry about missing studs.

RSMeans data from Gordian conducted a time/motion study that compared drywall installation using the industry standard 1-hour UL fire-rated design versus MaX 16, the industry’s only 16” optimized fastener pattern for single layer, 1-hour UL fire-rated assemblies on metal framing spaced 16” on center. Using the MaX 16 pattern saved up to 46% in installation time, the study showed.

2. The MaX 16 fastener pattern saves on fastener costs.

Installers use fewer fasteners with 1-hour UL designs featuring the MaX 16 optimized fastener pattern. Most projects include 25% fire-rated walls, so the fastener savings adds up.


National Gypsum’s new MaX Calculator makes it easy to estimate jobs. Simply enter the square footage of gypsum board on the project, the labor rate/hour and cost per drywall fastener (or select the RS Means regional cost) to generate a savings estimate.

The estimate includes savings for vertical and/or horizontal installations, along with:

Max16 calculator
  • Labor and fastener costs
  • Comparable costs vs. Industry standard
  • Projected labor and material savings

3. The MaX 16 fastener pattern reduces the learning curve for new installers.

With MaX 16, the jobsite leader can simply advise new crew members to install a fastener in either board orientation “at every fourth X,” so training is quick. The simplicity of the installation method can help boost the confidence and efficiency of new crew members.

4. The MaX 16 fastener pattern contributes to smoother inspections.

Building inspectors know exactly where the fasteners should be without having to pull out a tape measure because of the GridMarX installation guide marks. And with an evaluation report documenting the four UL designs that use MaX 16, the inspector can feel confident they have all of the information they need for a thorough and accurate inspection.

Calculate your savings with the MaX Calculator and see the MaX 16 difference today!