Article: Construction Canada, September 2015
Mid-rise construction has taken hold as cities across Canada seek new ways to accommodate growth in urban populations. Due to a change in code, wood-frame construction is now allowed for mid-rise buildings up to six stories high.
A wood-framed mid-rise is only as good as the materials surrounding it, so it is essential for architects to specify smarter skins for the design of their projects. Strong bones means enhanced safety, better indoor environmental quality and long-term durability.
Gypsum board products are the most specified for exterior sheathing and interior finished surfaces in Canada. Gypsum is a popular choice as it protects the wood from moisture and fire while providing a water-resistant barrier against the elements to guard against mold and rot. Gypsum also features an air barrier to help maintain building performance.
Another important consideration when specifying materials is indoor air quality. Since drywall is naturally derived, it is non-polluting to indoor environments. New technologies like those found in CertainTeed’s AirRenew® Indoor Air Quality Gypsum Board have been engineered to actively clean indoor air by absorbing circulating formaldehyde and converting it to an inert compound. Drywall is also naturally fire-resistant, offering passive fire safety to the building. Another benefit of drywall is improved acoustics, which prevents unwanted sound from transferring between walls.
Gypsum boards are a part of smarter exterior skins that need to be considered for wood-based buildings. The versatility of the boards helps architects address critical concerns. A mid-size skeleton can only be built once, so it should be built with the right materials.