In a remote rainforest north of Vancouver, LP product experts and two of the world’s leading kayakers embarked on the ultimate testing mission: to prove the strength and durability of the new LP Legacy® sub-flooring by exposing it to one of Mother Nature’s wildest extremes. Under the lens of adventure photographers and videographers, the team sent an LP Legacy sub-flooring panel over the edge of Britannia Falls, a 70-foot drop at 625 cubic feet per second. The panel then remained in the falls’ swirling wake overnight.
We recently sat down with Brian St. Germain, Director of OSB Quality & Technology, to ask him about his experience at the rainforest test site and discuss what sets LP Legacy apart from competitors.
Q: Why is LP Legacy® sub-flooring a key offering for builders today?
Brian: Builders have shown that they see value in the premium offering. They want to maintain a flat surface throughout the build. They don’t want to have to worry about issues with premium finished floor coverings, such as hardwood and large-format tiles.
Q: To introduce LP Legacy sub-flooring, you literally sent it down a waterfall. Why?
Brian: The product has gone through the rigor of our traditional tests as part of a robust product development process. This includes small-scale lab tests for strength, stiffness, durability, nail holding, water absorption, and 24-hour thickness swell; larger-scale performance tests such as post flexure and CSL to determine panel strength and stiffness; numerous floor decks built at our manufacturing facilities; and beta testing in the field with residential and commercial builders. All of these tests helped validate the performance in application, but we were looking for something a bit more fun to highlight the strength, stiffness, and durability of the Legacy panel.
Q: How does this extreme testing translate into the real world/the jobsite?
Brian: Ultimately what we’re trying to do is grab builders’ attention to get them to take a closer look at the product. Once they try it, we are confident they will have a positive experience and will continue to use the product on all of their jobs.
Q: How does Gorilla Glue® play a role in Legacy’s performance?
Brian: The product is made with 100% polyurethane adhesive. Polyurethane not only creates a physical bond (like traditional wood glues), but also chemically bonds to the wood fiber itself, creating a very durable and waterproof bond.
Gorilla Glue is a leading commercial brand of polyurethane adhesive that builders recognize and trust. We feel it is important for builders to know that this same high-performance resin technology is part of our LP Legacy premium sub-floor offering. Not all of our plants can run with 100% polyurethane technology; special equipment is required. As demand for the product grows, more conversions will take place.
Q: How will LP Legacy sub-flooring make a difference for building pros?
Brian: From a builder level, it’s going to give them a premium subfloor. What that translates into is a subfloor that provides increased strength and stiffness underfoot. It makes the entire floor system feel more solid. It has a higher density, so it holds fasteners better. If your floor doesn’t move, there’s less chance for fasteners to loosen in the first place. It really helps hold hardwood fasteners in place. Tile applications also benefit from a stiff floor system.
Builders don’t have to worry about the construction phase, the installation, then the flooring contractor, then the homeowner. There’s value at each step.
Q: What about consumers? Is this something they should be asking their builders for?
Brian: Consumers want to feel that their house is built from high-quality materials. They’re going to feel it when they walk through their house. When they walk through the house you don’t want vibration shaking the lamp. At end of day, it’s going to reduce the chance of fasteners becoming loose and creating unwanted creaks and squeaks. Stiffer floors also can lessen the likelihood of tile cracking. Added insurance; added peace of mind.
Q: Back to the testing - How did you think up the extreme scenarios?
Brian: If you think about a jobsite in many parts of the country at different times of year, these floors are out in an extreme environment every day. It was the notion of this extreme environment that floors have to withstand. Construction traffic. Exposure to the elements. Despite these extremes, the floors still need to remain flat, so you can put expensive flooring over it without concerns or issues. We’re asking a lot of the subfloor.
It was a fun process. Adventure sports are popular, including amongst our team. It was a fun process to engage some of the top athletes in this area. I look forward to seeing what else we can do.
Q: You’ve been a part of this product from the beginning…how did it feel to send “your baby” over a waterfall? What were you expecting to happen?
Brian: It was a bit of an unknown. I wasn’t worried about the moisture. But it is a large sheet, if it were to lodge the wrong way…it was a bit of an unknown of how it would fall. Some panels hung out down there before they got spit out. We didn’t know if they would survive.
It wasn’t part of original plan to let it soak. Even though the panel was outside of the waterfall, it was pushed in at an angle against the rocks… we couldn’t get to it. It was impossible to pull out; we needed more people and rigging. It was the end of the day, and we were tired and cold and wet.
Q: What was the most fun part of the extreme testing process?
Brian: For me, the athletes that went along with the board. They have such a different lifestyle and outlook on life. Just to have a job like that where you’re doing those types of things, and being able to talk to them and see first-hand what they’re doing and how much skill it takes to pull it off.
Q: What was the least fun part?
Brian: Getting the panels up from the canyon and back to the road was a challenge. They’re heavy. There wasn’t a trail. We did everything we could to do it safely. Plus we had to manage everyone and all the equipment.
Both fun and not fun: Setting up the cable cams, equipment, and amount of time and effort…you don’t appreciate how much goes into producing a video like this. It’s not like a Go Pro.
Q: What are you hearing from builders so far about LP Legacy sub-flooring?
Brian: Feedback has been positive. It’s been out in the market now 6-8 months. We continue to gain more traction as more builders use it. The biggest thing is we can extreme test it, but builders need to experience it themselves. It takes time to get that testimonial.
To learn more about our Tested Extreme campaign and request more information about LP Legacy go to www.testedextreme.com.
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