New to magnesium oxide (MgO) panels?

Magnesium oxide (MgO) cement is an incredibly innovative and beneficial material when applied to the construction industry. In panel form, MgO sheathing panels combine the best parts of wood, gypsum, and Portland cement-based panel products while introducing superior structural strength, durability, and fire resistance. For these reasons, MgO sheathing panels are garnering widespread industry adoption.

We’ve engineered Innovation MgO panels to be of the highest performing sheathing panels in the industry.¬†Scroll down for more helpful information on this innovative building product!

What is magnesium oxide (MgO)?

Magnesium oxide (MgO) is derived from magnesium ore, a naturally occurring mineral that is mostly sourced from magnesite, dolomite, and brucite rock formations via mining. Magnesium may also be extracted from seawater. In its natural state, standalone magnesium mineral that has been separated from amalgamated mineral core is highly flammable and commonly known for being used for fire starter flints.

To produce MgO, raw materials undergo crushing and separating processes to create a fine magnesia powder. Production quality control processes define and ensure the purity and consistency of the resulting magnesia powder.

Magnesia is then calcined (burned) to remove impurities and convert elemental forms into MgO. While raw magnesia is highly flammable/combustible, MgO is highly fire resistant/noncombustible.

Magnesia Cement Types

There are three types of magnesia-based cements that are used to form MgO panels:

  1. Magnesium oxychloride (MOC), also known as the original Sorel cement, is the most widely evaluated, tested, and used type of magnesia cement panel product in the U.S. It is known for its mechanical strength for fastening attachment, flexural strength, dimensional stability, overall durability, and high fire resistance. MOC panels combine the best attributes of wood, gypsum, and Portland cement panels while surpassing them in key areas that matter on construction sites, such as dimensional stability and abrasion resistance. MOC panels are easy to work with as they cut like wood using traditional tools and methods. Most MOC cement panels are used in commercial and multifamily construction. Innovation MgO uses this type of magnesia cement.
  2. Magnesium oxysulfate (MOS) offers comparable fire resistance properties to MOC. Similar to MOC, MOS panels will degrade in the extended and continuous presence of moisture or water, which is easily avoided in normal construction conditions when following manufacturer instructions. MOS panels are less strong and less durable than MOC panels when comparing their strength in mechanical attachment and dimensional stability (e.g. how well they maintain their shape and form when in contact with moisture and water), which has been observed to be less than fiber cement, plywood, and OSB panels. Most MOS panels are used in single family residential and SIPs construction.
  3. Magnesium phosphate cement (MPC) is not currently used in panel form as its makeup provides a very rapid set time that is not conducive for panel manufacturing. Further research is needed to determine if MPC panels can offer the best attributes of MOC and MOS panels without the downsides.

What type is Innovation MgO?

Innovation MgO panels are formed from a proprietary formula of high-density magnesium oxychloride (MOC) MgO cement. This formula delivers high levels of fire resistance and structural strength, making it an ideal source material for commercial and multifamily sheathing panels.

Where are MgO panels made?

Most MgO panels available in North America, including Innovation MgO, are manufactured in China where the industry has been operating for many years. US MgO Company imports our MgO panels from only the most reputable Chinese manufacturers that follow the China Magnesite Manufacturing Association (CMMA) standards, which are the most rigorous available internationally.

Unlike other importers of MgO panels, US MgO Company performs third-party testing on all shipments at our state-of-the-art product testing facility in Leland, North Carolina. Doing so ensures that the products our customers receive are the highest quality available in the U.S. market.

US MgO Company plans to bring online a commercial scale production facility for Innovation MgO in Leland, North Carolina in 2025.

How are Innovation MgO panels shipped and stored?

Innovation MgO panels are stacked neatly on pallets with 30 panels per pallet. As cementitious panels, individual boards weigh about 90 pounds. Accordingly, pallets weigh about 3,000 pounds and must be handled carefully.

Pallets are easily moved using a forklift and can be hand lifted into place by two people. Pallets are shipped in a protective plastic wrapping with strapping to distribution facilities using flatbeds, dry vans, and Conestoga style trailers.

Innovation MgO pallets are unloaded at job sites by distribution trucks and must be stored in their original packaging and/or off the ground and covered by plastic or tarping until use.

Learn More About MgO

Want to learn more about MgO sheathing panels? The Magnesium Oxide Building Products Association (MgOBPA) was formed in early 2024 to educate industry professionals and the general public on the many beneficial uses of MgO building products. Check back regularly for updates on the new association. Visit www.MgOBPA.org for more information.