Commercial Topping Not Only Protects Floor, but Dampens Sounds On California Fire Station Project|
The architect on the new fire station in Lathrop, Calif., wanted to use a floor underlayment that not only would protect the floor, but which would also lessen the sound transfer between the first floor station and the second-floor living quarters of the firefighters working 24-hour shifts. Dennis Dong, of Calpo Hom & Dong Architects, Sacramento, selected
Topping®, manufactured by Maxxon Corporation in Hamel, Minn., and installed by American Underlayment Systems, a Sacramento-based Maxxon licensed dealer.
“The uniqueness of the Commercial Topping is—it's gypsum material, which helps reduce sound migration also,” Dong says, adding that the topping also adds some mass to the flooring, which helps alleviate some of the airborne sound transfer between the two floors.
The Lathrop-Manteca Fire Station #34 is a 10,000-square-foot station on a 1.3 acres lot in Lathrop’s Massdale Landing. The project, designed to resemble historic fire station buildings, broke ground in May 2005 and was completed in June 2006.
Commercial Topping is a gypsum floor underlayment that can be poured to a thickness of up to 3-inches over concrete, vinyl, ceramic tile, and wood framing and which provides a flat, smooth floor surface. “It can be installed from zero to 3-inches deep, so it can solve a variety of installation concerns,” says Roger Brown, regional rep for Maxxon. The topping has a compressive strength of up to 4,500 PSI.
Brown says the topping uses less water when mixed, so it dries faster than a number of other floor finishes. Moreover, the subfloor may not require shot blasting, “so the surface preparation is much more economical and goes a lot faster,” Brown says.
One concern the design team on the fire station project had was that the floor had to be able to withstand heavy floor traffic during the construction process. Commercial Topping provides a good quality surface hardness, which allows flooring to hold up better under heavy boots and floor traffic, Brown explains.
The fire station is wood frame construction. Although Commercial Topping is generally not marketed for wood frame construction, it actually is very compatible with wood, Dong says. “A concrete slab is not really compatible with wood frame construction from a structural engineering standpoint,” he says. “Commercial Topping works very well with wood framing,” he says.
Overall, “It was an efficient and economical way” to both protect the floor and provide a sound barrier, Dong says.
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