Improving Acoustics in Steel Frame Structures
The Candlewood Suites Hotel, designed for Fort Carson, has the typical 5-story layout. However, The Candlewood Suites Hotel was constructed with a metal rather than a wood frame. Light gauge steel (LGS) construction is very similar to wood-framed construction in principle, but it requires different building materials and design specifications. For instance, LGS structures are non-combustible, in line with building code requirements. Yet, it must be noted that steel loses its strength in fire quite easily, so fire-rated sheeting is necessary to properly protect residents of light gauge steel construction and achieve proper building code requirements.
LGS structures readily allow for the passage of sound when compared to solid masonry construction. Controlling sound in LGS structures is an imperative for design requirements. In order to control the sound in the corrugated deck flooring in the Candlewood Suites Hotel, developer Lendlease contracted El Paso Gypcrete to install sound Firm-Fill Sound Control Mats (SCM), and a special gypsum concrete underlayment for corrugated metal decking, Firm-Fill Corrugated Metal Decking (CMD). Whereas Firm-Fill SCM absorbs impact sound energy to achieve appropriate IIC ratings, Firm-Fill CMD is used to add mass to the floor assembly by absorbing airborne sound energy and maintaining the right STC ratings. The floor-ceiling assembly in Candlewood Suites Hotel will be able to achieve the proper sound ratings with these two components.
El Paso Gypcrete poured over 55,000 square feet of Firm-Fill CMD for Candlewood Suites Hotel. Firm-Fill CDM is a gypsum concrete specially formulated to work with steel structures with a minimum compressive strength of 3,500psi. The first step to installing underlayments to a corrugated metal deck was to fill the deck flutes with the Firm-Fill gypsum concrete and allow it to dry. Firm-Fill CDM only needed 3 hours to properly dry and flatten in this project. Upon the flattened floor, El Paso Gypcrete installed Firm-Fill SCM-250 sound control mats. SCM-250 is a 1/4” (6mm), random filament sound mat designed to limit impact noise between floors. With the SCM loose-layered over the subfloor, the El Paso Gypcrete team topped it with another inch of Firm-Fill CMD to complete the underlayment sound control system.
Ignacio “Nacho” Alvarado, owner of El Paso Gypcrete, has many years of experience working construction projects on military bases. El Paso Gypcrete is based in El Paso, Texas. On military projects, there is a higher emphasis on job-site safety, communication, and coordination. Nacho prefers this method as it makes sure all trades, and the GC, are on the same page.
The Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) is a U.S. Army-led program established as a means to revitalize post-lodging facilities for soldiers, their families, and all government travelers. Lendlease is the developer for the PAL program, and IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is a PAL hotel operator.