Business Advice9 min

Sound Control and Urban Infill

Any builder or architect who works on residential projects in major urban areas knows that there is strategy of building in high-density neighborhoods. In many cities, multifamily construction is popping up around every corner, and single-family homes are being built closer and closer together.

Sound control is a key concern for both building industry professionals and residents in these areas of urban infill. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) require certain sound transmission class (STC) ratings on walls and floor/ceiling separations depending on the construction type. STC ratings can range anywhere from 15 to 55+.

An STC rating of 50 is required on wall assemblies specified for separations between living spaces, between living spaces and certain public areas and corridors, and within multifamily structures. An STC rating of 50 is considered “very good” and indicates that loud speech is faintly heard and normal speech is usually inaudible. Although 50 is the minimum, builders and architects are seeking out products that perform above and beyond the IBC/IRC STC requirement. 

LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing is a code-compliant component of the U350-B wall assembly for 2-hour fire-rated partition walls commonly used in multifamily construction and townhomes. Recent product testing conducted by LP Building Products and Intertek, a product testing and certification company, showed that the U350-B assembly well-exceeded the code minimum with a STC rating of 62. Not only does this wall assembly carry an impressive STC rating, it also provides greater design flexibility compared to the traditional partition wall assembly using shaft wall liner. In the U350-B assembly, the two-sided layer of LP FlameBlock sheathing eliminates the heavy, 1-inch-thick gypsum and associated hardware, resulting in labor and material cost savings plus a reduction in dead load.

As structures continue to be built closer together, the demand for better sound transmission control is bound to be a major factor for architects, builders, renters and homeowners. When choosing the best building products, it’s important to look at the performance of the entire assembly—STC rating, code compliancy and building efficiency.

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Industry Trends6 min

Where the Construction Labor Shortage Is Most Severe

According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).

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Industry Trends7 min
A Commitment to Product Availability

It’s frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it’s available when they really need it.

Business Advice10 min
How to Prevent Lap Siding from Buckling by Using a Butt Joint

It’s a silly name, but a “butt joint” is an application technique where two pieces of material are “butted” up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16’ lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.

Industry Trends7 min
Why You Should Rely On Data Rather Than Instinct

For many years, construction pros have relied on experience and gut instinct more than on data, but that’s rapidly changing. Many banks, investment groups and insurance companies now need a construction data analysis to help identify potential risks before okaying a construction deal. And in the field, builders need easy access to actionable information – both at the lot level and company-wide – to help boost quality, control costs and manage trade partners.