Gypsum emerges in the commercial market

August 01, 2002 |

Gypsum floor underlayments are now emerging on the forefront of the commercial market following an increase in their compressive strength performance, as it has nearly doubled in recent years.

"These high-strength products withstand heavy construction traffic without powdering, dusting, chipping or cracking," writes Brendan Deely, USG's general manager of industrial products, in an "AIA Continuing Education Series" report.

According to Deely, gypsum underlayment is ideal for both new and renovated commercial projects. It is applied on top of structural concrete or precast concrete planks, creating a smooth surface that also blocks out sound and fire. According to Deely, when gypsom flooring is exposed to flame, it releases moisture in the form of steam, thereby slowing the tranmission of heat through the floor.

Gypsum can be used with a variety of floor coverings including vinyl and ceramic tile, wood laminate, hardwood flooring and carpeting.

In addition, a 3/4-in. poured gypsum floor is usually fully dry and ready for finishing applications within five to seven days, says Deely, while concrete usually requires at least 30 days before finishing materials can be applied.

Gypsum's compressive strength is measured in psi and typically ranges anywhere from 1,000 psi for residential applications to 3,500 psi for commercial applications like hotels, retail stores and office buildings. In addition, compressive strengths of 4,500 psi are available for heavy commercial and institutional applications. Deely recommends that architects "overspecify" the underlayment as a rule of thumb.

For more information, visit

Overlay Init