Fire caulking, otherwise referred to as fire-stop products, involves sealing joints, seams and other openings to ensure optimal fire safety for buildings. It is required by many local building codes as well as state and federal laws.
It is important to understand the importance and ensure your property is properly fire caulked to be able to properly control a fire if one were to occur. The following is everything to know about fire caulking, including who needs it and what the benefits are.
Who Needs Fire Caulking?
Many commercial and industrial properties require fire caulking. Each business owner should check and ensure they follow the local fire code laws to avoid any issues. There are also certain areas within a building that require fire caulking, particularly those that are vulnerable to a fire or pose a higher risk of a fire breaking out.
Most notably, it is often required around penetrations. A penetration as it relates to fire caulking is simply an opening around a floor or wall. The two main types of penetrations are through penetrations and membrane penetrations.
A through penetration refers to an opening on both sides, whereas a membrane penetration refers to an opening on only one side. Both require properly-installed fire caulking. Joints and perimeter barriers also require proper fire caulking.
Main Benefits of Commercial Fire Caulking
Fire caulking is different from silicone caulking that is often used for commercial caulking around the exterior and in the interior of a building. Whereas commercial caulking is generally a way to improve the appearance of a building and prevent water damage, fire caulking is not concerned with improving property aesthetics. Instead, its sole purpose is to prevent a fire.
Subsequently, fire caulking material has certain advantages that make it unique, including the ability to expand and prevent a fire from spreading.
Designed to Expand
As mentioned, fire caulking is designed to expand. The way it works is simple. As the sealant material heats up, it expands to fill the penetration or joint. This ensures any fire that occurs does not have the chance to spread to other areas of the commercial or industrial property.
It typically expands when it reaches a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. As it expands, it blocks fire and smoke, which has the ability to prevent damage and potentially save lives.
Protection from Spread of Flames
As fire spreads throughout a building, it can eventually find its way to electrical systems and HVAC components. Once fire spreads to these vulnerable areas, the fire can grow rapidly and quickly destroy the property. If people are trapped inside, then it can become incredibly dangerous.
Fortunately, fire caulking aims to prevent the spread of fire to areas of the building that can cause the issue to become much worse, giving time for the fire department and other professionals to put out the fire with as little damage as necessary.
It not only prevents the spread of fire throughout the building, but it can also stop the spread of smoke. Oftentimes, the smoke is enough to cause serious health issues and even cause death. It can not only save the building, but it can save lives as well.
Fire Test Ratings
Fire stop products receive fire test ratings. The ratings help determine what fire caulking products can be used. There are two main ratings to become familiar with: The “F rating” and the “T rating.”
The F rating is the amount of time a fire stop product holds before the fire comes through the opening to the other side of the penetration. Ideally, the fire does not come through during the duration of the test.
The T rating measures how long it takes for the other side of the fire to reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A hose stream test may also be performed, which creates a similar amount of pressure inside of the room during a fire to see how the fire stop product holds up over a specified duration if a fire were to break out.
An L rating is not always performed, but it can measure the fire caulking’s ability to prevent the spread of smoke.
Work with The Commercial Caulking Experts at Waterproof Caulking
To learn more about fire caulking, get in touch with our commercial caulking professionals here at Waterproof Caulking and Restoration. We are happy to answer your questions and help you determine if your commercial or industrial building requires fire stop products.
We can also help you determine the precise location you will need to have fire caulking installed, and our professional and experienced team can provide the proper resources and carry out the installation process. You can reach us via phone or email, and we respond promptly to all inquiries.