fire barrier

8 Tips for Successful Expansion Joint Fire Barrier Installation

Posted 22 July 2015 12:00 AM by Evan Bane


The lowly expansion joint cover system.  Who knew that it can play a critical role in life safety when coupled with a rated fire barrier.  To make sure fire barriers are installed properly, here are 8 Key factors that will help ensure a successful installation:


1)      A good substrate – a fire rating is only as good as the rated construction around the barrier.

2)      The fire barrier is a continuation of the rated construction.

3)      Consider the fire barrier as a complete system: Frames, splices, transitions.

4)      Expansion joint covers – or lack thereof – are part of the testing of the fire barrier.  Remember, the entire expansion joint is tested by the third-party certifying (testing) organization.

5)      Ability to meet field conditions – sometimes the construction process throws a curve.  The expansion joint and barrier system should be able to “flex” to meet the demand and not void the fire rating.

6)      Architects should inspect test documents or request test data when writing specs.

7)      Architects should provide separate details for rated conditions instead of putting a note saying “Fire Barrier as or where required”.  The contractor is going to build the project based on the details provided.

8)      Architects are hired to be the watchdog for the owner.  There is a need to tighten specification language, for example,

“…10% of all expansion joint system cover assemblies installed will be randomly pulled up and entire expansion joint system will be inspected.”


To learn more about fire barriers and how to install them with your expansion joints, download our newest Fire Barrier White Paper, Life Safety: Fire Barriers Are a First Line of Defense.



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