Condos & Townhouses Part 2

Last time I left off on strata and what its about. For next topic, I will speak on more towards traits of a strata

Traits of a strata Building

There are lots of different kinds of buildings and complexes out there. Its almost impossible to classify everything. But we can talk about some common materials, traits, and aspects about complexes. Here are some topics we can speak on.

Wood Frame Buildings

Wood frame buildings very common for low rise buildings. Common traits for these include being prone to transmitting sounds. This means that it may be possible to hear foot steps from the people above you, if they don’t have the right flooring.

Further they burn a lot easier, obviously, and absorb seismic activity better.

Concrete Buildings

Concrete frames are more common with high rise buildings, though sometimes there are concrete low rises. They are better at absorbing sound than a wood frame building, but are more prone to seismic damage.

Also, concrete does not burn as easy, therefore better fire barriers. Also when concrete cures, it sometimes doesn’t cure evenly, so you may notice at times a bumpiness to floors if a floorer doesn’t use the right leveling compound.

Sound Transference

Sound transference is something I occasionally get asked. While it is possible to hear someone if they hammer on the walls, there are practices and materials used to help lessen this.

Proper flooring is one of the most common ways to reduce sound transference. Some strata councils will have bylaws on what kind of flooring you are allowed to use. Sound for flooring is rated as Impact Insulation Class (IIC), and typically the higher IIC the better.

Typical IICs ratings are as follows:
Stone & Tile – approx 50 IIC
Wood, Laminate, and Vinyl – approx 60 IIC
Carpet – approx 65 IIC.

A good underlay will also help adjust these.

The drain pipes can also play a role in reducing the transfer of sound. There are usually two main type of materials that drains are made from. Either a type if plastic composite called ABS, or cast iron.

ABS will always echo the water that moves through it, which means you may hear the person upstairs flush the toilet. However cast iron would deaden this sound slightly. However cast iron typically is more expensive to install, hence why you don’t see it everywhere.

Roofing Materials

Tar & Gravel

Tar & Gravel is characterized as it sounds. It is a layer of tar as the base substrate layer, with gravel or small stones on top as UV protection. Its only really seen on a flat style of roof.

They are difficult to ascertain the condition under the layer of gravel, but at times you can see the bubbling of the tar, which indicates the roof is wearing.

They are also prone to moss build up, if not proper maintenance is conducted. This material can typically achieve 25-30 years depending on weather, wearing, and maintenance.

Two Ply Membrane

This roof is a two ply later of modified bitumen that is welded together in sheets on a low slope or flat style of roof.

They are prone to pooling of water, especially if the drains are not kept clean of debris. These drains are usually located in the center areas of the roof, with a grate that prevents debris going down the drain.

This style of roof will typically get 20-25 years.


A metal roof is one of the more expense roofing materials that can be installed. Its usually single sheets of aluminum that are bolted and sealed shut. Most times the roof is pitched to make use of this material.

Since it is metal, corrosion is the typical sign of wear. However, they also have the most life of the roofing materials, most companies guaranteeing it for 40 years.

Multi Surface

Multi surface roof entails that multiple types of materials are used to create the roofing system. These may be a mixture of any of the mentioned materials before, but also may include wood shakes, or asphalt shingles.

The most challenging part of this is that different roofing material may wear at different rates. What this means is a strata may end up having increased costs in replacing roofing material in the long run, due to having to replace the roofing material at different times