Stacking Gypsum Vertically a Sure Way to Damage Homes
The NAHB Research Center recommends hot spot training for all trades to eliminate the problem of stacking gypsum boards against walls or on the side, a common practice that can damage the home and present a safety hazard to work crews.
“On a typical job site, the supplier of the gypsum stocks the product in locations preferred by the installer,” according to an article in the current issue of Quality Matters, the official e-newsletter of the Research Center’s National Housing Quality (NHQ) Program.
“This often includes loading stacks of gypsum on its side or leaning it against framing members,” the article says. “When the framer arrives, he cringes at the sight of this practice, but typically cannot do anything about it alone because the delivery company does not take orders from the framing contractor. As a result of improper storage, it is the framer who will be asked to explain or repair the sagging floor or adjust the doors that do not close properly."
Literature from the Gypsum Association states unequivocally that board should be stacked flat because stacking it vertically against a wall poses a safety hazard and a stack of only 25 boards weighs more than a ton.
Click here to see how stacking gypsum vertically overloads the wood-framed floors and walls and leads to structural damage.
For example, the doorway of an upstairs bedroom is a convenient central location for installers, but it is not designed for a single concentrated load of more than 2,000 pounds. Damage occurs whenever the floor is so overloaded at a single concentrated point that the wood frame is permanently overstressed and damaged.
“Even the builder is often out of the loop of instructing the gypsum delivery company about how and where to stock the materials in the home,” according to Quality Matters.
Stocking the home the correct way requires the gypsum panels, each weighing more than 80 pounds, to be stacked in the center of the room at the center of the span of the floor joists. Since gypsum is typically delivered by a boom truck when the builder’s field manager is not physically present in the home, the incorrect delivery and stocking is difficult to correct. Even when corrected, it is often after much damage has been done to the wood frame.
“Reinforcing hot spot do’s and don’ts helps to curb job site mistakes and is one step toward avoiding problems later on,” Quality Matters says. “Hot spot training uses a simple graphic to depict the right and the wrong way of performing field construction tasks. Typically presented in both English and Spanish, the visual cues of hot spot training are helpful to overcome language barriers on the job site.”
Click here to see a hot spot training sheet provided by an NHQ Certified framing contractor to the builder. The framer has suggested that the builder, the gypsum installer, the delivery company and the framer all meet at the job and address the problem. A team approach is needed to solve the problem.
“This is a good example of the partnership that develops on a job site where many trades share the common goal of continuous improvement,” says Quality Matters. “NHQ Certified trade contractors and builders all have a regular documented continuous improvement process.”