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Old 01-08-2010, 06:06 PM   #121
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How to fireblock framing


That does make sense, and it was what I was hoping the answer was.

Thanks very much!

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Old 01-21-2010, 10:01 AM   #122
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How to fireblock framing


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Ok, stopped and took some pics on my way home today.

This one shows where the electician drilled through the top plate of a wall that will be sheetrocked on both sides. Those holes must be filled with fire foam or intumescent firecaulk.

The second pic shows a wire hole and a pipe in the top plate, both of which must also be sealed. In rated/commercial construction, you'd have to use intumescent firecaulk around the PVC because it will melt in a fire. That isn't necessary in single family residential homes though.
Is it necessary to fireblock above the breaker panel in my basement? I want to enclose the breaker panel since it will be in a finished room. I was going to box around the panel and put an access panel on the front. Is that allowed? Is this considered a concealed space? How to I fireblock above the panel with all those wires coming out? Is it required?
Thanks, Tom

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Old 01-24-2010, 10:57 PM   #123
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How to fireblock framing


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Is it necessary to fireblock above the breaker panel in my basement? I want to enclose the breaker panel since it will be in a finished room. I was going to box around the panel and put an access panel on the front. Is that allowed? Is this considered a concealed space? How to I fireblock above the panel with all those wires coming out? Is it required?
Thanks, Tom
Sorry for the delayed response Tom.

If your panel is located in a wall the wires that come out the top of the panel are likely passing through that wall's top plate. These plate penetrations are concealed and would need to be fireblocked. The top of the panel itself does not require fireblocking in any case that I can think of. Fire/oxygen/smoke can move vertically through the stud space (<10' vertical) without need for fireblocking.

If you're doing something different I'm having a hard time picturing what it might be. Anything other than what I described would be a subjective call that the inspector would have to address on a case by case basis.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:14 AM   #124
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How to fireblock framing


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Sorry for the delayed response Tom.

If your panel is located in a wall the wires that come out the top of the panel are likely passing through that wall's top plate. These plate penetrations are concealed and would need to be fireblocked. The top of the panel itself does not require fireblocking in any case that I can think of. Fire/oxygen/smoke can move vertically through the stud space (<10' vertical) without need for fireblocking.

If you're doing something different I'm having a hard time picturing what it might be. Anything other than what I described would be a subjective call that the inspector would have to address on a case by case basis.
The panel is just how you described. It is mounted to a board on the concrete basement wall. Below is NOT my panel setup, but is similar. I will be installing a top plate above the panel for my new wall. My dilema is how would you fireblock around all that wiring going up to the first floor? All the wiring will pass behind the top plate for my new wall and box I will be placing around the panel. How would you fireblock each wire that passes behind the top plate? Thanks.

*photo not available*
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:57 AM   #125
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How to fireblock framing


You use fire caulk where is passes through a fire rated assembly.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:28 PM   #126
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How to fireblock framing


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You use fire caulk where is passes through a fire rated assembly.
Very true, but not applicable in most single family dwellings. That's firestopping and we're dealing with fireblocking. Duplexes, townhomes and apartments are more likely to contain rated assemblies. If your single family home is only a few feet from your neighbor's house you might have a rated assembly, but that is rare. The garage ceiling and walls of a single family home are fire membranes per-se, and many of us inspectors will require heat-vulnerable penetrations of that membrane to be sealed with intumescent firecaulk, which will help resist passage of fire if and when a PVC pipe, plastic water line or similar penetrating item disappears under the heat of a fire.

Firecaulk would be an awesome way to do it Tom, but it'll break the bank and is overkill. Plus you're likely to have some gaps that firecaulk just won't fill.

So you're framing a wall in line with your existing panel...
I'd suggest that once the wall is built you can do two things:

1) If the gap is not very large (1-3/8" or less) you can use fireblocking foam (not plain old spray foam) made by Great Stuff or other manufacturers. It comes out orange.

2) If the gap is larger or you're like me and you hate foam you can tightly pack the gaps with unfaced fiberglass insulation. Simply insulating the wall isn't enough. Pack the gaps tight. Rock wool would do equally well but is a bit more messy.

Do your best to minimize the size of the gaps by using wood blocking if you can.

Post pics of your wall once you frame it if you can, I'll try to check back.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:07 AM   #127
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How to fireblock framing


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Very true, but not applicable in most single family dwellings. That's firestopping and we're dealing with fireblocking. Duplexes, townhomes and apartments are more likely to contain rated assemblies. If your single family home is only a few feet from your neighbor's house you might have a rated assembly, but that is rare.

Firecaulk would be an awesome way to do it Tom, but it'll break the bank and is overkill. Plus you're likely to have some gaps that firecaulk just won't fill.

So you're framing a wall in line with your existing panel...
I'd suggest that once the wall is built you can do two things:

1) If the gap is not very large (1-3/8" or less) you can use fireblocking foam (not plain old spray foam) made by Great Stuff or other manufacturers. It comes out orange.

2) If the gap is larger or you're like me and you hate foam you can tightly pack the gaps with unfaced fiberglass insulation. Simply insulating the wall isn't enough. Pack the gaps tight. Rock wool would do equally well but is a bit more messy.

Do your best to minimize the size of the gaps by using wood blocking if you can.

Post pics of your wall once you frame it if you can, I'll try to check back.

Thanks! After looking at it again last night, using insulation is exactly what I was going to do. The gap will only be about an inch or so after I put up the top plate. I didn't realize that insulation is an acceptable fire blocking material.
I'll get those picture up for you to look at. Thanks again!!!!
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #128
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How to fireblock framing


Pretty much any inspector will/should accept tightly packed unfaced insulation based on (2003) IRC section R602.8

Materials: Batts or blankets of mineral wool or glass fiber or other approved material installed in such a manner as to be securely retained in place shall be permitted as an acceptable fireblock.
R602.8.1.1 Unfaced fiberglass
....................When piping, conduit or similar obstructions are encountered, the insulaton shall be packed tightly around the obstruction
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:41 AM   #129
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How to fireblock framing


Thank you for creating this thread. I'm about to start framing my basement and I knew that I had to fire block certain things but I didn't truly understand the concept. This has been the best resource I have found on this topic. This thread has explained very well the whys as well as the hows which I find very helpful. Having a firm grip on a concept behind something makes a big difference to me when actually implementing it. Thanks again!
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:30 PM   #130
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How to fireblock framing


No problem Barlav. I see a lot of builders and DIYers that have a real hard time with fireblocking on a daily basis. Glad the thread helped you out. Good luck on that basement!
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:36 AM   #131
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How to fireblock framing


I posted this in building/construction, but maybe this would be better posted here. This is one of the requirements I'm dealing with.

602.8 Fireblocking required: At all interconnections between concealed vertical and horizontal spaces such as occur at soffits, drop ceilings, and cove ceilings.

The inspector said I need to fireblock my soffits. I didn't totally understand where this needed to be done. In the pictures, where and how do I need to fireblock these soffits? He hasn't been out to my house yet to see how its been framed, but when I stopped by the inspection office he said this.
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How to fireblock framing-dscn1110.jpg   How to fireblock framing-dscn1111.jpg   How to fireblock framing-dscn1112.jpg  
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:24 PM   #132
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How to fireblock framing


The inspector is talking about fireblocking the walls from the soffits. THERE IS NOTHING YOU HAVE TO DO WITH A SOFFIT THAT DOES NOT ABUT A VERTICAL WALL OR CHASE. So, the vertical stud spaces (or similar spaces) that would allow passage of oxygen or fire from the wall into the horizontal soffit need to be blocked off at or just below the ceiling line of the soffit. Your options from what I can discern from your pics are dimension lumber or unfaced fiberglass or mineral wool batts.

Remember, concealed spaces only! You do not have to fireblock in rooms that will not be sheetrocked or otherwise covered....Mechanical rooms or storage areas are often left unfinished and do not require fireblocking since the framing is not concealed.

If you review the early posts in this thread you'll see similar situations covered pretty thoroughly. Post #51 illustrates how to fireblock (with 2x dimension lumber) a soffit or furdown.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:13 PM   #133
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How to fireblock framing


Thanks for the reply. It is beginning to make more sense now.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:25 PM   #134
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How to fireblock framing


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If the area is accessible and is not space concealed within the walls (a dead space more or less), fireblocking is not required. If there's a door to the area or if the area connects to another unfinished part of the basement then there's no need to rock.
Why does the door make a difference?
Why are fire-blocking requirements restricted to 'concealed' spaces only? Is it not beneficial to block a fire in an 'unconcealed' space as well?

I am planning on building a basement wall that can't extend to a ceiling because of an HVAC duct prevents me from installing a top plate near the foundation wall. Please refer to attached schematic of proposed bulkhead. (The pink foil backed insulation is not a board, but rather a soft 'blanket' of 'pink stuff' low density mineral wool.) How would I fireblock this? Thank you
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:21 PM   #135
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How to fireblock framing


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Why does the door make a difference?
It doesn't necessarily matter. The door discussion was pertinent to defining accessible space and the difference between concealed space and unconcealed space.

Why are fire-blocking requirements restricted to 'concealed' spaces only?
Fire (and smoke and oxygen to fuel a fire) can move and propagate in concealed spaces without necessarily making themselves known to the building's occupants or firefighters. When the fire isn't contained within dead spaces, walls and floors, blocking open/exposed framing won't be effective.

Is it not beneficial to block a fire in an 'unconcealed' space as well?
You can't in most cases. If you're in your home's unfinished mechanical room and a fire starts, that fire is visible. If you installed conventional blocking at platelines and vertical to horizontal transitions, the lack of sheetrock or other wallcovering will permit a fire to move right past that blocking.

However, you could do things such as install rock wool insulation in unfinished areas' framing members for an effective fireblock in those locations. It isn't required though. Everything hinges on "concealed".

I am planning on building a basement wall that can't extend to a ceiling because of an HVAC duct prevents me from installing a top plate near the foundation wall. Please refer to attached schematic of proposed bulkhead. How would I fireblock this? Thank you
Your fireblocking would need to occur at or below the "top plate" of the short wall that is built underneath the duct. That's where vertical stud spaces meet the horizontal bulkhead and the floor joists via the bulkhead. It will be necessary to pack insulation or fire foam between the insulation board and the top plate to prevent vertical movement.....Right about at the "N" in "concrete".

It can be argued that the foil backed foam insulation board shouldn't exist at the line of the fireblock because of its high flammability. In the event of a fire that stuff goes up like a Roman candle and will negate the benefit of the fireblocking because it acts like a wick that will permit passage of flame and smoke past your best fireblocking efforts. That's a jurisdictional decision, so I'd advise contacting your building inspector before you get carried away. Personally I require blocking solid to the foundation and they can install the foam board above and below the block as they see fit, but that's how I choose to enforce it....As a functional fireblock!

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