By Juan SagarbarriaIn recent years, there has been an increased growth for firestop systems in the construction sector due mainly to increases in fire inspections. If installed properly, these materials can effectively obstruct the passage of fire, smoke, or toxic gasses from one-side of a fire-rated assembly to another by shoring up gaps created by penetrations. That is why firestop systems are crucial elements when it comes to meeting building codes.
HOW CAN FIRESTOP MATERIALS GROW A SPRAY FOAM BUSINESS?
According to the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA), the firestop contracting market is estimated to be growing at 25 and 40 percent per year. Furthermore, the FCIA reveals that 75 percent of the firestop contracting market is still untapped, which leaves ample room for growth and opportunity. These statistics show that spray foam contractors can grow their business by adding firestop material installations to their service offerings.
“In terms of jobsite management, general contractors are more inclined to go with the bid of a spray foam contractor that can also perform firestop installations,” said International Fireproof Technology, Inc’s (IFTI) Gary Wolfe. “I believe spray foam contractors can capitalize on this because they already possess great knowledge about the installation of fire-protective coatings, so if they can take the next step and implement firestop materials to their services, they can increase their profitability.”
Firestop systems come in an array of products for each strategic application. Companies like IFTI offer patented firestop products that have undergone a series of testing to ensure quality, performance, and code compliance. Product testing includes compliance with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) inspections with respective UL 1479 (T-rating and F-rating), as well as ULC S-115 and ASTM E662 testing. Furthermore, IFTI’s Firestop product line provides cutting-edge firestop technology for each type of application.
JOINTS, DOORS, AND WINDOW FRAMES
Openings around the joints of fire-rated structures that are not protected by firestop systems can easily provoke the passage of smoke and fire between assemblies. The same can be said of the voids around doors and window frames.
To maintain the integrity of fire separation in these problem areas, filling these seams, gaps, or voids with a caulking fire barrier sealant such as IFTI’s sealant products Silicone Fire Barrier (INNS2460) and the water-based acrylic Fire Barrier Caulk (INSS1440) can provide effective protection.
“Fire barrier sealants are especially important because they can be used in conjunction with other firestop products,” said IFTI’s Brad Glazier. “These products are ready to use when needed in virtually all types of penetrations.”
DUCTS AND ELECTRICAL CONDUITS
When air ducts and electrical conduits are pushed through a wall or floor assembly, they create a penetration, which can allow flames, noxious gas, or smoke to pass through. In order to plug these gaps, applicators often use Firestop putty, which is flexible material with fast-reacting intumescent properties.
Depending on the size of the gap, the applicator refers to Listed Designs and determines how much putty to use. IFTI’s firestop putty products (FM011 and FM012) effectively expand and plug the gaps found on air ducts and electrical conduits on fire-rated walls and floors.
“An important function that putty serves is that it expands to block out any sort of smoke or heat transfer and contains it,” said Glazier. “It is easy to apply and can be reused, or ‘re-penetrated,’ if needed.”
PLASTIC OR INSULATED METALLIC PIPES
The spreading of fire can also occur through pipe openings. If plastic or metallic pipes are exposed to smoke or flames, there needs to be a firestop system in place that prevents the passage of these combustible agents.
In this particular case, IFTI’s INFS0812 intumescent strips can be used to tightly seal the openings left by burned plastic or insulation around metallic pipes and contains the passage of smoke or fire. IFTI’s fire-resistive elastomeric strips are bonded on one side to aluminum foil and they are used in conjunction with IFTI’s SCCI Cramping Collars, which is then wrapped around the plastic or metallic pipe and results in restoration of fire resistance rating of walls.
“The intended use of the intumescent strip is for it to collapse the plastic pipe,” said Glazier. “If the plastic pipe or the insulation around a metallic pipe burns away, the intumescent strip expands to plug the opening.”
FIRE BARRIER FOAM
Passive fire protection in large openings with multiple penetrations such as cable trays and cable bundles can be achieved with various firestop systems, but with fire barrier foam, large openings can be sealed effectively in half the time.
Much like the composition of polyurethane foam, fire barrier foam is a two-part, medium-density foam supplied as A and B liquid components. IFTI’s fire barrier foam products (US150/US110) are designed to seal large openings and multiple penetrations. IFTI’s Fire Barrier Foam differentiates from PU foam in that the latter is used to seal air leaks and insulate buildings structures, whereas fire barrier foam is formulated with a high fire rating that enable quick expansion to seal the assembly and prevent the passage of smoke and fire.
“Although not used as an insulating foam, our fire barrier foam product shares some of the benefits that polyurethane foam provides,” said Glazier. “Fire Barrier Foam expands to effectively seal any openings on a wall or floor and provide a two-hour fire resistance rating.” •
Contact International Fireproof Technology, Inc.
Direct any questions you have about Firestop products, IFTI’s Certified Applicator Program (CAP), and code compliance for fire protective coatings to IFTI:
Phone: 855-335-7675 / 949-975-8588