Understanding your options when it comes to fire barrier protection.
When it comes to expansion joint fire barrier systems in architectural applications, there are four main categories:
Besides material composition and product design, the main points of differentiation between these categories comes down to:
- Joint size width
- Movement range requirements
- The fire rating – 1, 2, 3, 4 hour
So what drives the cost variation between systems?
When asking this question it’s important to consider the holistic cost of your blanket: more complex install means being on-site longer and paying your team more. Based on the traffic level and load rating of your install environment, the joint system might require a cover plate as well.
By product appearance, you might think that foams are the least expensive solution – and you wouldn’t be alone in that assumption – however, fire rated foams are actually the most expensive category.
Don’t get us wrong, fire-rated foams can be an excellent option in certain applications, especially in vertical joints. However, foams aren’t the best fit for every application. For instance, in horizontal applications there’s risk of puncture + damage, dirt + debris accumulation, water retention, etc.
The point that we’re trying to reinforce is that there are other options out there that might be a better solution for your project and budget needs.
First and foremost, the fire barrier must meet the architectural specification, as well as the required fire rating in hours. Next, it needs to work for your jobsite and your team.
If you’re crunched for time, you need something that’s easy to install. Many hybrid system like our Fireline™ 140 fire barrier uses spring-actioned technology to hold the barrier in place meaning you don’t have to worry about sticky adhesives or mechanical fastening within the substrate. Plus, it has patented male/female splices that eliminate the need for complex seaming or continuous and expensive fire caulking.
If scheduling isn’t lining up quite right, you HAVE to find a way to keep the fire protection dry…unless you have the Water Guard® Fire Barrier which is the only fire blanket with a patented UL 2079 rated water proof design.
If you need fire barrier protection in a wide joint, the Fireline 520® Fire Barrier has you covered for joint widths up to 26” wide.
There is a lot to consider when selecting the right fire barrier for your project, but when it comes to life safety products it’s worth the extra consideration to feel at ease that your building and the people inside are protected by the best solution possible.
To learn more about architectural fire barriers and their importance within your building, download our free white paper – Life Safety: Fire Barriers are a First Line of Defense.