Matt Risinger, CEO of Risinger & Co., in Austin, Texas, installs Safe’n’Sound on an addition. Photo: courtesy Roxul
Roxul’s cleverly named insulation is fire resistant, noise-dampening, and offers a level of code compliance, which has further increased its popularity.
The 2012 and 2015 versions of the International Residential Code basically require that the bottom of wood I-joist floor assemblies have some sort of fire protection. There are a number of exceptions to the provision—a crawlspace for one—as well as a variety of ways to comply. For example, remodelers can attach gypsum at certain points of the floor assembly, but this solution finishes the basement or sheaths the I-joists in gypsum, which adds labor cost, says David Smith, a residential segment manager with Roxul.
Another simple and cost-effective option is to use Safe’n’Sound. The lightweight, stone-wool insulation is fire resistant up to 2,150º F, will not create smoke or toxic fumes, and is highly sound absorbent.
“It’s become popular, especially in the Northeast, and is recommended by a lot of lumberyards,” Smith says. “Smaller builders and remodelers are really using it; that’s the niche.” Safe’n’Sound is chemically inert, noncorrosive, and moisture resistant.
UpSide Ceiling System
Minnesota-based architect Tim Whitten loved his lake house. But he didn’t love how every time he approached it from the dock, he was greeted by a view of the exposed timber on the underside of his deck—all 48 feet of it. “I tried to find an underdeck product I liked, but I wasn’t happy with any of them,” Whitten says. “So I came up with my own.”
Whitten’s solution, the UpSide Ceiling System, is a PVC beadboard design that’s simple, versatile, and attractive. The product, slated for launch this month, is manufactured and distributed by Color Guard Railing Systems.
The UpSide Ceiling System has three main components: a starter strip that screws directly onto the deck joist, a dual sliding clip that attaches to the starter strip, and the beadboard itself, which clips onto that.
The starter strips can be placed three different ways in relation to the joists: parallel, perpendicular, or diagonally, making the system very flexible. The strips adapt to tight spaces or even to curves, and the beadboard is easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance. Joist hangers are used to create a slope to channel water away from the house. The UpSide Ceiling System is currently available in off-white and tan.
The beadboard on the UpSide Ceiling System is 3 inches wide with a 1¼-inch profile. The product is manufactured in the U.S. by Color Guard Railing Systems.
TrueDek Structural Curbless Shower System
Made from glass-reinforced plastic, TrueDek Classic Foundations panels are just 7/8-inch thick and can be cut to fit using ordinary tools. They are designed to be directly applied to 16-inch on-center framing, taking the place of plywood underlayment—the only extra support needed is at edges and around the drain and any notches cut into the panel. When installed on properly spaced framing, the panel’s load capacity is 840 pounds on open joists (1,100 pounds if bays are blocked with plywood).
The panels are sloped toward the drain hole but are flat on the bottom, for easy installation over floor joists using polyurethane construction adhesive and perimeter screws (use thinset on concrete). The top surface is also flat at the perimeter to make for easy alignment with the rest of the subfloor.
TrueDek Classic Foundations comes in a variety of square and rectangular shapes from 30 to 59 inches on a side, and are covered under a limited lifetime warranty when part of the TrueDek system, which includes proprietary drains, gaskets, and a waterproofing system. Sold only through distributors, the Classic system lists for between $1,400 and $2,000.
Panels in a second product line, TrueDek Linear Foundations, are pre-pitched to an integral linear drain gully with three locations for the drain connection. Unlike Classic panels, Linear panels can’t be cut and are available in 36-, 39-, and 48-inch squares as well as a 32-by-51-inch rectangle with the drain gully on the short end.
TrueDek Classic Foundations shower panels can be cut to size and used to replace subflooring to create a curbless shower without having to notch the existing joists.