With a broad portfolio of building solutions, CertainTeed empowers builders to create comfortable and long-lasting commercial and residential structures that benefit both people and the planet. Because products across the CertainTeed portfolio are designed to work seamlessly together in complete systems, contractors can easily find everything they need for projects from a single source. Moreover, the systems that CertainTeed products create make it faster and easier to deliver on what matters to both contractors and their customers: fast installation, high performance, energy-efficiency, and longevity.
One New England development and contracting company is seeing the benefits of CertainTeed solutions in a massive multi-year renovation project. Premier Land Development, a Rhode Island-based developer that specializes in revitalizing historic industrial mills, has undertaken a multi-property project to renovate three vacant mills in the Providence metro area with the goal of modernizing the once-thriving behemoths into chic and comfortable multi-family apartment properties. Premier’s contracting team is relying on the CertainTeed QuickSpan™ Locking Drywall Grid System to help complete the complex work.
Like all CertainTeed building solutions, QuickSpan is designed with the pros who work with it and the building occupants who live with it in mind. QuickSpan offers the longest unsupported spans and widest hanger spacing for drywall ceilings in corridor applications, which means faster installation and lower labor costs. With these installer friendly features and its long-term performance, QuickSpan was a natural fit for centuries-old mills being transformed into modern living spaces that will perform for many years to come.
The first of the three mills, located at 725 Branch Ave., was built in 1862 for The Wanskuck Company, which produced wool uniforms and blankets for the Union Army during the Civil War. The renovation, which was completed in mid-2022, turned the empty space into 240 apartments and three commercial units.
The second mill, located ten miles uptown in Central Falls, will house 113 units when completed in 2023. The third—and the largest—is a little further north Cumberland. Its 243 units are slated for completion in 2025.
All three mills are blank canvases: vast empty spaces to be subdivided into upscale apartments requiring thousands of square feet of drywall installation. And supporting all that drywall is the QuickSpan Locking Drywall Grid System.
TURNING BACK TIME
QuickSpan is the industry gold standard for quick, sturdy drywall ceiling installations in corridors and small rooms within condominiums, apartments, hotels, and corporate headquarters—precisely the kind of installation required for Premier’s mills.
As both a developer and a general contractor, Premier is unique in that, in addition to property acquisition, it also executes all aspects of construction and ongoing property management in-house. At the heart of those operations is superintendent Kevin Moran, who has been with Premier since its inception. He oversees all construction, renovation, and property management.
“We first came across QuickSpan at our distributor, Acoustical Supply,” says Moran. “They mentioned it could save us time, so we gave it a shot. It has worked out well for us—and we installed a lot of it. Thousands of pieces.”
As an individual building product, QuickSpan is just one example of how CertainTeed solutions make contractors’ jobs easier. The system boasts several innovations that allow drywall crews to cover more square footage with fewer installers in less time.
Chief among these is a click-in locking channel that allows installers to quickly twist tees into place while locking tabs prevent lateral and upward movement. There’s no need for screws, pop rivets, or crimpers.
“That’s the key—the ability to lock it in without having to put the screws in,” says Moran. “Plus, all the parts are pre-measured. You save a lot of time. One installer can run down the middle of the space on a lift and just snap the grid into place.”
One optional add-on the QuickSpan system offers is the Quickspan Support Clip, an accessory that slides and snaps into place on carrying tees. It reduces the number of hanger wires needed to achieve longer unsupported spans in larger spaces. The support clip can support spans of up to 16 feet—the longest unsupported span available in the industry.
All QuickSpan tees also feature a heavy duty G40 galvanized construction for maximum rigidity, plus a double-stitched web for added strength. These make it ideal for swift, sturdy installation.
“We’re subdividing the mills into bays, and each is about 30 feet long,” says Moran, “If we’re putting up 15 pieces of QuickSpan, it may be a half an hour of time saved over a true stud job in a single bay. Multiply that across a thousand bays, and it’s a fairly large time savings at the end of the job. QuickSpan really does what it’s supposed to do.”
MAKING THE SOUND BARRIER
Another benefit of CertainTeed solutions is that the performance of many products solves multiple building challenges all at once. While QuickSpan is known for the speed and reliability it offers to installers, Moran and his crew are relying on its versatility for an additional benefit: acoustical control.
In mill construction, some of the most charming architectural details are the wood floors and ceilings juxtaposed against natural brick walls. While aesthetically appealing, there’s very little to dampen unwanted sounds, which can create significant issues in a multi-unit residential structure.
“We found it’s very noisy and you can hear footsteps and people talking between floors,” explains Moran. “We also found a lot of dust that we couldn’t get out during construction would fall from between the boards over time, which creates a messy environment.”
The team created an installation solution by assembling QuickSpan about 7 inches below the wood ceilings to conceal recessed lights, sprinklers, and duct work with drywall, giving the space a more modern feel while allowing historic attributes to show through in other details.
A void of air, QuickSpan, a layer of mineral wool insulation, and 5/8” drywall comprise the system—an effective sound barrier between neighbors on various floors.
“We anchored the assembly to the beams that support the whole building, rather than the underside of the floor above,” explains Moran, “so there’s also no vibration coming through the ceiling assembly from the floor above.”
PAST TO FUTURE
The mills’ revitalization to meet today’s demands for upscale living is a clear testament to the ingenuity of their timeless design and robust construction. For its role in the project, QuickSpan, like all building products in the CertainTeed portfolio, is doing what it is designed to do: deliver solutions that make builders’ jobs faster and easier.
With the first of the three Premier mills completed, excitement for the new living spaces is high. And with the help of an innovative building product like QuickSpan, Premier is these charming historical buildings to live on well into the future.
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