Fire caulking is important in preventing the spread of deadly fires in commercial properties and homes that are more vulnerable. If a fire were to spread into electrical systems or in other vulnerable areas, it can cause a lot of damage. Fire caulking works by containing the fire to the room in which it originated. While it may not put out the fire in all instances, it gives the fire department time to arrive and more easily control and put out the fire.
It is important to understand where fire caulking is required to ensure your residential or commercial property is protected as it should be. The following is a guide to what fire caulking is and when it is recommended or required.
What is Firestopping?
Firestopping, or fire caulking, is the effort to prevent the spread of a potential fire by sealing any joints, penetrations and other openings through the use of fire-stop products. Fire caulking is required in fire-resistance-rated buildings, including many commercial properties that carry a higher risk of great damage if a fire were to spread. There are federal- and state-specific requirements, but businesses should first and foremost check their local building codes for fire caulking requirements.
With that said, all buildings should consider the benefits of fire caulking. Properly-installed fire caulking can prevent fire and smoke spreads and ultimately save lives and prevent destruction to your commercial property.
To give an example, most buildings that have complex electrical systems require advanced fire-stop products to ensure the vulnerable areas are not reached during a fire outbreak within the building.
Breaches in a Commercial Building
Fire caulking is required in areas of buildings that carry a high risk of smoke spreading. These areas are known as breaches. In commercial buildings, a breach without proper fire caulking could lead to increased fire and smoke damage and may jeopardize the health of others if a fire were to occur.
Fire caulking blocks the breaches, contains the fire and ensures the smoke does not pass to other areas of the commercial building. There are two main types of breaches, which are:
- Through penetrations; and
- Membrane penetrations.
A through penetration is a breach that extends to both sides of the wall. This means the opening carries from one room to another part of the building. A membrane penetration is only on one side of the wall.
As mentioned, businesses should check their local building codes to learn about fire caulking requirements. In general, fire caulking is necessary in areas that are the most combustible. Every building owner should examine their property for areas that are an increased hazard if a fire were to occur.
When checking for vulnerable areas, look for joints or penetrations where fire may escape a certain. These are the areas that have the highest chance of leading to a fire spread. Fire caulking and other fire-stop methods are fairly inexpensive to implement and can save individuals a lot of money in the event a fire were to happen.
When in doubt, it is encouraged to err on the side of caution. This means businesses are encouraged to purchase fire caulking to seal all open joints and penetrations in a building through which a fire can spread.
Firestop products have what is referred to as letter ratings. Letter ratings show how a firestop product works in the event of a fire. The information allows local governments to dictate which products are acceptable, and it allows companies to make more informed decisions about the fire caulking that works best for them. There are three main letter ratings, which are:
- T-Rating; and
F-Rating and T-Rating are the most important. F-Rating, otherwise referred to as flame rating, refers to the amount of time it takes for a fire to break through the fire-stop product and escape to cause fire to spread. The rating is measured by hours, but ideally, the flame will not pass through during the duration of the test.
A T-rating, otherwise referred to as a temperature rating, refers to the amount of time it takes for the other side of the penetration to reach a certain temperature.
Contact The Commercial Caulking Professionals at Waterproof Caulking
Waterproof Caulking and Restoration offers commercial caulking and firestop products to commercial locations in West Chester, PA and the surrounding area. We understand how complex fire caulking requirements can be, and we can help you determine whether or not you need fire caulking, where inside your commercial property you should implement fire caulking and what products are most appropriate for you.
We have years of experience in the industry, and we offer a range of commercial caulking products. We also assist with waterproofing services, power washing, masonry and more. Feel free to give us a call today to learn more.