Inspiration2 min

How Fire-Rated OSB Outperforms FRT Plywood

Both fire-rated OSB and Fire Retardant Treated (FRT) plywood are commonly used in fire-rated wall sheathing and roof deck applications. Because these materials are always evolving, it’s good for architects and builders to know how they compare to each other.

An engineered wood product like LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated Sheathing combines a layer of ignition-resistant, cementitious coating with a layer of OSB. It carries an Exposure 1 classification, which means it can withstand normal exposure to moisture during construction. In contrast, some fire-retardant treatments are applied after the plywood is manufactured – and the treatment is sometimes water-soluble, requiring it to be protected from moisture during construction. 

A fire-rated OSB product like LP FlameBlock offers both flame-spread resistance and burn-through resistance in the same panel, as verified in tests like the 30-minute Class A Flame Spread Rating (ASTM E84, UL723) and 15-minute Thermal Barrier Protection test (UBC 26-2).  FRT plywood has a flame spread rating, but no rating for burn-through resistance. 

Fire-rated OSB sheathing has load/span and shear design values that are superior to FRT plywood at the same thickness. In addition, engineered wood sheathing reduces dead load and wall thickness versus FRT plywood. This gives architects more flexibility in designing wall openings, plus more options in framing and bracing to meet structural requirements.

When architects specify fire-rated OSB sheathing, it’s important for builders and subcontractors to “respect the spec” and stick with a material like LP FlameBlock that has so many advantages over FRT plywood.

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Industry Trends6 min

55+ Housing Is Booming Coast to Coast

The mood of builders in the 55+ single-family sector can be described in just two words: very optimistic. Earlier this year, the NAHB 55+ Housing Market Index scored its highest builder confidence rating since the index was introduced in 2008.

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Protecting Your Business From Subcontractor Mistakes

Both general contractors and building product dealers have a lot on the line when they use subs, so it’s important to understand subcontractor liability. It’s common for both dealers and Big Box retailers to hire a subcontractor to install materials like hardwood flooring purchased at their stores. GCs likewise have relationships with many trade subcontractors.

Industry Trends4 min
A Mid-Year Look at 2019 Exterior Trends

While many building professionals actively seek out exterior trends at the start of the new year, it’s important to keep on top of trends as we approach the latter half of 2019. Taking a mid-year look at what industry trends have dominated so far and what’s to come will ensure you are delivering your customers timely recommendations when it comes to their home’s aesthetic.

Industry Trends8 min
Building Smarter Starts With Smashing Silos

One of the most vexing problems in home construction is that productivity isn’t rising fast enough – even though there are fabulous productivity tools everywhere you look. Making a process lean and efficient isn’t always the answer, according to John Murphy from the consulting firm FMI. Sometimes a process can be scrapped entirely, which in turn causes productivity to soar. But it can only happen when all the key stakeholders – developers, designers, manufacturers and builders – tear down their respective silos and start collaborating more effectively.