Understanding Firestop SystemsOne of the most complicated parts of any building project is meeting the evolving requirements specified in a wide range of fire codes. How the building or facility will be used, its size, and the materials used to design it all include their own specific fire regulations that must be met. To accommodate such a wide range of needs, firestop systems are customized to each new project. Designing the best firestop systems requires a deeper knowledge of the many different options about the components.
This article will discuss the most frequently installed components of a firestop system.
- Through Penetrations
- Protective Wrap Systems
- Construction Joint Firestop Solutions
Running pipes and cables through a building is essential, but it also creates gaps that can speed the spread of fire through those areas. Through penetration firestop systems are designed to fill the spaces between the construction materials and the cables, pipes, and other systems that move between different rooms.
The type of through penetration fire protection you need is often specific to the project because all projects are unique. To accommodate the different needs and materials there are a lot of available components to help you customize your firestop, including fire protection mortar, fire protection collars, and fire putty. The following are the most common products to protect through penetrations:
- Fire barrier sealants and foam fill the gaps between the objects going through the wall or ceiling and the actual structure. This helps contain the fire, heat, and toxic gases for a longer period of time.
- Acoustic sealants help improve the quality of sounds in an area by filling gaps caused by running cables, piping, and other objects through the walls, floor, and ceiling. This kind of sealant can act to improve the sound quality of the room and to contain fire and toxic gases.
- Fire barrier watertight sealants and fire tape are a cost-effective measure that protects different types of materials (such as plastic pipes and insulated pipe and cables) in the event of a fire.
- Residential and non-rated fireblocks help to prevent undetected fires and gases from moving to other places. The primary purpose of fireblocks is to slow and contain fires.
- Fire barrier devices and kits include many of the previous fire protection components, as well as fire collars, fire protection mats and sheets.
- Fire barrier specialty products are typically used for unique issues, and include fire barrier composite sheets and fireproof pillows.
Products like foams and sealants have dual use. When you need to add a foam or sealant for energy efficiency or to meet other building requirements, look for a product that will meet fire safety codes.
Essentially, by making sure that you use through penetration fillers that meet fire safety codes, you can take care of two problems at one time.
Protective Wrap SystemsAlso known as flexible wrap, or endothermic wrap systems, this component of the firestop system focuses on protecting ducts throughout the entire building or facility. Fireproof wrap is not fire rated because it is tested along with the ducts, more like a unit. You get the rating for both the wrap and duct system, so you won’t look for a protective wrap as a standalone component. The full system also includes special tape to keep the protective wrap in place.
The wrap and the ducts are treated like a system because it maximizes protection of the ducts. Since ducts run throughout the entire building, once fire gets into the ducts, it can spread to nearly anywhere in the building much faster. Fireproof wrap helps provide consistent protection for all of the ducts. It is flexible and easy to install, particularly around corners and difficult regions.
With floors, walls, and ceilings typically being made of very different materials with different fire protection classifications, one of the most difficult fire codes to meet is the joints. Fire codes aren’t the only requirements that joints need to meet either. Other options like rigid and movement joints are critical aspects to consider.
Construction Joint Firestop Solutions
Keep these solutions in mind for primary joint systems:
- Wall bottom
- Wall top – head of wall
- Vertical control joint – wall to wall
- Slab edge – floor to wall
- Expansion joints – floor to floor
A number of different products provide support to keep joints in place, including firestop joint compounds, drywall joint compounds, and fireproof sealants. All-purpose joint compounds offer a solution to help meet fire code and other requirements.