Top Technical Questions From Fellow Architects

Jun 18, 2024 by Scott Hughes

OnBoard Newsletter | June 2024

OnBoard Newsletter Header

Questions Your Fellow Architects Are Asking

Are you curious about the questions your fellow architects are asking and the answers you might be missing out on? Every day, architects across the country reach out to their National Gypsum Company construction design manager to ask about product selections or to discuss design and building challenges.

As your construction design manager, I am committed to providing technical guidance and serving as your resource consultant. Feel free to contact me for assistance with selecting the best performing building products for your upcoming project or to discuss the details of a specific job. I am also available to help with any larger issues that may be puzzling you. If you haven't reached out to me with a question yet, why wait? And if you are new to the industry, please do not hesitate to get in touch so I can provide you with more information on how I can assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Selecting Tile Backer Products

Recently, an architect in Upstate New York requested help selecting appropriate products for the bathrooms in a commercial building during the design development phase. The design includes toilet rooms and a locker room.

We reviewed all available options, including PermaBASE® Cement Board, glass mat gypsum Gold Bond® eXP® Fire-Shield® Tile Backer, and paper-faced, mold- and moisture-resistant Gold Bond® XP® Fire-Shield® Gypsum Board, tailored to specific conditions within each space. For wet areas with tile application, PermaBASE Cement Board is the ideal choice. Alternatively, if the contractor prefers, eXP Tile Backer also meets code requirements for wet areas as defined by IBC in Chapter 25.

For all other non-wet areas, including ceilings, our Gold Bond XP Gypsum Board serves as an excellent tile backer.

Designing For Control Joints

An architect in South Bend, IN, is working on a project where the general contractor and the on-site foreman have raised concerns about the proposed control joint locations. He shared his plans and asked several questions regarding the required locations for a large chapel ceiling.

We provided the GA-234 Control Joints for Fire-Resistance Rated Systems and the GA-216: Application and Finishing of Gypsum Panel Products for review and reference. In addition, we directed him to the NGC Blog post: Control Joints: What You Need to Know, which includes control joint best practices and outlines control joint requirements.

Finding One-Sided, Fire-Rated Partitions

Architects around the country frequently ask our construction design managers how to design a fire-rated wall partition that is accessible from only one side. In these instances, we refer the architect to UL designs V497 for 1-hour, fire-rated assemblies and V449 for 2-hour, fire-rated assemblies. This is such a common question that we wrote a blog to provide information on one-sided, fire-rated wall construction: How To Build Fire-Rated Wall Assemblies From One Side.

Choosing Fire-Rated Horizontal Membranes

Architects also frequently ask us how to select a fire-rated, horizontal membrane assembly for applications, including corridor and stair ceilings, elevator hoistways, stair soffits, protected plenums and duct enclosures. Our go-to resources to assist with this question are The PURPLE Book® (pgs. 96-105), The Wood Book™ (pgs. 60-83), OnBoard™ newsletter and this NGC Blog post: Top Fire-Rated Assembly Questions and Answers. Several UL design options are available for conditions where fire-rated walls do not extend vertically to a fire-rated floor or roof assembly.

Do You Have Questions Now? Please send your question to, and we will get back to you with an answer.

"Problem-solving is one of the more enjoyable aspects of my job. With numerous products and systems available, it can be a challenge to pick the right one for a specific condition on a project. People often ask about abuse-resistant vs. impact-resistant gypsum board, as well as plaster, soffits, and panelization. You can find answers in our Design & Resource Center FAQs and Glossaries section."

Scott Hughes


Scott Hughes

Construction Design ManagerNational Gypsum Company

"We are here to assist you as you as trusted advisor when you have questions about details, building codes, products, systems or assemblies provided by National Gypsum. Click on "Expert Connection" to connect with your local rep. We are here to help keep your project on track and are just an email or a phone call away."

Amy Wilson


Amy Wilson

Construction Design ManagerNational Gypsum Company

Sustainability Update

For the latest information about the environmental impact of various building products, check out our product-specific and industry-wide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).  Access EPDs

Review this recent update: Industry-wide EPD for Joint Compound from the Drywall Finishing Council.

Learning Opportunities

  • Continuing Education: Expand your knowledge and skills with our wide array of LIVE, in-person Lunch N' Learns and online AIA HSW continuing education courses. Explore CEU Courses
  • NGC Blog - Explore a variety of educational articles on numerous topics. Access NGC Blog
  • FAQs & Glossaries - Answers to the most frequently asked questions received by 1-800-NATIONAL® Construction Services. Find Answers

Expert Connection

From expertise on building products in fire- and sound-rated assemblies to specifying the best products for your next project, I am available to assist every step of the way. We’re here to help you design and build better. Connect now!

Want to stay up-to-date? Sign up for our newsletter here.

More from the Newsroom