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Old 05-10-2008, 11:58 AM   #1
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FireStop question


we are building our exterior basement wall out in front of our plumbing, instead of building soffits, as we decided we'd rather give up a few inches of floor space instead of having a soffited ceiling.
Anyway, I know I need firestops along the top of the wall, to seal the cavity off. However, a few of the walls will have unfinished, unheated space behind them (mechanical room for instance). Do the walls that are exposed to the mechanical space need to be completely blocked off as well, or just walls that would otherwise be completely closed off except for the ceiling are?
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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FireStop question


also, how tightly must the firestop fit around irregular surfaces (plumbing lines, etc). Should I stuff any irregularities with insulation/exp foam/caulk etc????

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Old 05-11-2008, 09:44 AM   #3
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FireStop question


When the county inspector looked at the fire blocking in my project, he looked for any egress from basement to first floor. Used fire wool for tops of walls and caulking or foam for the rest. Made us re-do until every opening was blocked to his satisfaction, and I do mean every opening. This guy did not mess around, and I really appreciated it.

My 2 cents which is probably worth much less.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:48 PM   #4
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FireStop question


You have to isolate your CONCEALED vertical spaces from your CONCEALED horizontal space. Concealed is the key word. If your mechanical room only has rock on one side of the wall, no firestopping is necessary at the top of the wall. As long as a space is easily accessible and unfinished on the access side, I would not require firestopping. When you fur out a wall, you must tightly firestop the gap at the top plate to isolate it from the floor joists, or lower to isolate it from horizontal furdowns or furred-down ceilings.

Also, you must section your walls off to maximum 10' lengths and firestop at that interval. This keeps a fire from moving more than 10' horizontally behind the wall.

Firestopping will slow fire down, but serves dual duty in keeping a fire in a concealed space from being able to breathe. For this, firestopping is very effective.

You have a couple options for firestopping. You can use 2x dimension lumber or 3/4" plywood. 1/2" sheetrock is often used as well. 1x material is not permitted. Around here we allow firestopping foam if it is listed for that purpose. Foam is usually for gaps less than 1-3/8", but it depends on the foam's listing. For gaps up to about 3 or 4", unfaced fiberglass insulation works great. It has to be tightly packed to resist the positive pressures of a fire...I'll usually try to poke it loose with my tape measure to make sure it is secure.

Caulk is not for firestopping, unless it is firecaulk. No need to use firecaulk in a single family residence for basement firestopping purposes.

Last edited by Termite; 05-11-2008 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:53 PM   #5
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FireStop question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikedks View Post
This guy did not mess around, and I really appreciated it.
Glad to hear that you appreciated the inspector's work. As an inspector, it is nice to hear that once in a while!
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