3 Common Firestop Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them
Firestopping might be a small part of the overall building construction, but it’s one of the most important. If overlooked or installed improperly, the risk of fire and l smoke spread, injury, or even death and property loss increases.
As such, significant efforts go into building fire-resistant walls and floors in construction projects, for both residential and commercial. Because successful firestopping can prevent a wide range of risks, significant effort t should go into making sure penetrations are installed properly the first time around.
Discover 3 common firestop mistakes and how you can avoid them below.
Problem 1: Using Products That Aren’t Third Party Tested
The first mistake most commonly made when it comes to installing firestops is the lack of a third-party review or test of the product before installation.
Most firestop products don’t carry an inherent fire-resistance rating. If you’re installing such a product that means:
- The product could be unreliable and fail to perform as intended
- The product can generate additional liability risks
- The product does not meet the requirements of the US model building codes
When searching for firestopping products, find one that a trusted third party entity (like UL, Omega Point, FM, Intertek) has tested and found to pass the standard fire exposure and hose stream tests.
HoldRite HydroFlame™ Pro Series is a UL recognized water, smoke, and firestop system that provides a water seal for unwanted water intrusion while still protecting against the spread of fire, smoke, and gases. By using this trusted system, you can lower your risk for potential problems on the job site and get the job done faster than makeshift methods.
Problem 2: Annular Space That’s Not Right
Annular space is the gap between your firestopping system device and the nearest inside edge of the opening of the space you’re installing it in. This space will vary based on what shape the opening is and the penetrant type that you’re trying to install through it. For each installation, you’ll typically have a range of maximum and minimum annular space that your installation needs to adhere to.
If there’s too much or too little annular space after installation, the firestopping system will not be able to perform its intended function. As a result, smoke or fire can leak through any gaps or the firestopping component may not be able to remain in place during a fire.
For proper firestopping, you want to make sure you’re putting a product in place that allows for expansion, contraction, and movement. With the HydroFlame Pro Series, both our telescoping and non-telescoping firestop sleeves allow for contraction, expansion, movement, and off-center pipes. These firestop devices are also UL listed, have a UL W-rated seal, and meet or exceed all building code requirements. Most importantly, they can also reduce piping system noise by maintaining optimal annual space and protect against the spread of water, fire, smoke, and gas.
Problem 3: Mineral Wool Is Not Properly Installed
Most fire-resistant joint systems typically use joints stuffed with mineral wool. These joints are then sealed against the passage of smoke and hot gases at one or both ends of the wall or floor with a sealant. With mineral wool, you can run into a number of problems during installation and after. For example, the wrong density wool can be used during installation, which can cause a glaring weakness in the floor or wall that ultimately leads to a system failure during a fire breakout.
Mineral wool can also be improperly compressed during installation due to incorrect calculations or instructions. And mineral wool that isn’t properly compressed will be more susceptible to fire. To avoid these common mineral wool mistakes when it comes to your firestopping system, consider a solution that takes mineral wool out of the equation entirely.
Our Intumescent Fire Wrap is a UL Listed, built-in firestop solution that prevents the spread of fire and smoke. But what differentiates this device is that there is no mineral wool or caulking needed for proper installation or function. Without the need for complex compression calculations or specific density, you can rest assured that this part of your firestop system is running properly and contributing to the system’s overall ability to fight smoke, heat, or fire.
Even though there a number of problems that can go wrong when installing a firestopping system, there are a number of products and strategies you can use to minimize your risk for smoke, fire, or gas during your next installation. With the HydroFlame Pro Series, you complete your installation successfully with the confidence that our products are UL listed and designed specifically to protect against the intrusion of fire, smoke, or gases.
Did you know we offer submittal assistance? With our Firestop Submittal Generator, compiling a submittal pack for HoldRite firestop solutions is fast and easy. Request a submittal package today.