Barrier System Tackles Winter

Exterior wall assembly uses DensElement for a frigid installation.

Facing adverse weather conditions under a tight schedule, the Homewood Suites project needed a wall-system solution that could cooperate with the challenges of working in cold weather.

Construction of the Hilton Homewood Suites near Lansing, MI, helped meet a growing demand for more lodging options in the area. At 75,000 sq. ft., the residential-style hotel comprises six stories, housing 139 rooms.

Facing adverse weather conditions under a tight schedule, the project needed a wall-system solution that could save time and money, cooperate with the challenges of working in cold weather, and meet the construction deadline.

Brighton, MI-based general contractor Gordon Construction undertook the Homewood Suites project and oversaw the installation of 58,880 sq. ft. of sheathing during winter months. The anticipation of harsh, frigid, and unforgiving weather represented a challenge for the company, as well as the subcontractor hired to hang and seal the sheathing panels.

A traditional exterior wall assembly that calls for gypsum sheathing with a fluid-applied membrane can be difficult to install in temperature extremes, since the viscosity of the fluid can fluctuate, which affects the minimum mil thickness required as it is being spread over panels of fiberglass mat sheathing. The process often requires several passes around an entire complex. This is a cause and effect that can lead to squandered time and money, and can prove fatal to a project’s punctuality.

FastFlash, a liquid flashing membrane that seals rough openings of structured walls, bonds directly to damp substrates, can be applied in cooler temperatures, and installed in unfavorable conditions.

Chosen for the project was the DensElement barrier system from Georgia Pacific Gypsum, Atlanta (gp.com). The system uses AquaKOR technology, a water-resistive barrier-air barrier (WRB-AB) integrated within a gypsum core into a fiberglass mat. This eliminates the need for applying an added WRB-AB, such as a building wrap, peel-and-stick, or a fluid-applied membrane over the exterior gypsum sheathing board.

DensElement only requires sealing of the joints, fasteners, openings, penetrations, and transitions, which is accomplished using the company’s PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash, a liquid flashing membrane that seals rough openings of structured walls. The barrier system aids subcontractors in combating challenges that would normally cause them to fall behind schedule. Because FastFlash bonds directly to damp substrates and can be applied in cooler temperatures, the system can be installed in unfavorable conditions.

The barrier system met all project goals including equipment and labor savings along with workability in the winter months.

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