What is a fire-resistant wall?

This blog post will answer the question, “What is a fire-resistant wall” and cover topics like types of fire-resistant walls and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

What is a fire-resistant wall?

A fire-resistant wall is a combination of goods and materials used to compartmentalize and separate portions of a building, structure, or major facility in order to prevent fire spread.

What is the definition of a fire-resistant wall?

In the event of a fire, a fire-resistant wall is a structure intended to limit the spread of fire, smoke, & flames. In the event of a fire, properly designed firewalls provide inhabitants more time to safely evacuate the building, perhaps reducing overall property loss. 

These barriers provide firefighters additional time to preserve the structure and its contents or make rescues by delaying or halting the spread of fire.

It’s crucial to realize that a flame retardant wall isn’t intended to be entirely fireproof. Instead, each fire wall is assigned a particular grade depending on how long it can keep a fire from spreading. 

An external fire resistant wall with a three-hour rating may stop the spread of fire for up to 3 hours in buildings that are positioned extremely near to one another. 

Depending on the danger of fire, the number of exits, as well as the occupant load of the building, certain interior walls may only have a 20-minute rating.

Types of fire-rated wall assembly type

There are four different kinds of fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies.

  • Fire Partitions
  • Fire Barriers
  • Smoke Barriers
  • Fire Walls

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Fire Partitions

The least restricted of the 4 fire-rated wall assemblies is a fire partition. Fire partitions are often used to create hallway walls and to separate tenants in malls & residential units. 

A fire partition, like a fire barrier, may stretch from the floor to the roof deck above. A fire partition isn’t meant to entirely stop a fire from spreading; rather, it’s meant to slow it down sufficiently to give residents more time to flee.

Fire Barriers

Fire barriers are used to separate various occupancies, enclose entrances, shafts, and incidental usage areas, and separate hazardous material control zones from the rest of the structure. 

A fire barrier is meant to prevent fire from spreading throughout the assembly and may have a one to four-hour fire-resistance rating – that is, the amount of time a fire can be contained, continue to perform a structural role, or both, according to the IBC.

Fire barriers give more protection than fire partitions, but they lack the structural strength of fire walls. Fire barriers are built to span vertically from the ground level to the roof above.

Smoke Barriers

A smoke barrier is comparable to a fire barrier and is often employed in Group I-2 and I-3 occupancies, as well as Areas of Refuge. A smoke barrier is an assembly that has a one-hour flame-resistance rating and is meant to prevent the transport of smoke. 

A smoke barrier differs from a a one-hour fire barrier in that a smoke barrier only needs a 20-minute rated opening prevention assembly, while a 1 hour fire barrier requires a 1 hour rated opening prevention assembly.

Fire Walls

The fire wall is the most durable and confining of the four kinds of walls mentioned. Other forms of fire-rated walls must offer a greater degree of fire protection, continuity, & structural stability than a fire wall. 

Fire barriers have an hourly rating requirement ranging from 2 to 4 hours, with 3 hours being the most typical.

The fire wall must run horizontally between outside walls and vertically from the building’s floor slab to 30 inches above the roof deck, unlike other rated walls. 

They are most often used to partition a structure into different structures in order to meet with IBC standards such as allowed height and area. Under fire circumstances, fire walls enable the structure on either side of the fire wall to fall without the fire wall collapsing.

How to Construct a Firewall?

This step-by-step guide will show you how to create your own firewall.

  • Install a higher track piece and fasten it to the ceiling with your screw gun & self-tapping screws. Place two screws along each border of the track, about 3 inches apart, and 1 screw into each roof truss covered by the track. 
  • Cut the track to fit into the specified coverage area using your tin snips. Overlap your next track part by 1 inch and use a screw to secure them together.
  • Overlap your next track part by 1 inch and use a screw to secure them together.
  • To identify the location of the floor track, lay your plumb bob on either end of the roof track. Hook the steel tab from the plumb bob to one end of the roof track and suspend it a fraction of an inch above the floor. 
  • Allow it to freely swing and twist until it comes to a halt. Make a pencil mark on the floor and repeat the procedure on the other end.
  • Line up your floor track with your plumb lines. Drill a hole thru the track and then into the floor with your heavy-duty drill. In the hole, insert an anchor bolt. This step should be repeated every 18 inches along the floor track.
  • Along your tracks, place metal screws every 16 inches. Slide the bottom of your bolt into the ground track and use your screw gun to attach it with a self tapping screw on either side. 
  • Drive the screw into the stud and through the track. Plumb the stud using your level and fasten it in the same way in your roof track. Make sure all 4 screws in each stud are flat with the surface.
  • Place a four-foot-tall sheet of drywall against the studs. Lift the drywall sheet all the way over the board until it is flush with the ceiling. 
  • The drywall board will start flush with the perpendicular wall in the corner and finish up covering half of a stud. This will allow you to connect the following drywall board flush with the previous. 
  • In this manner, hang drywall boards along the top of your firewall. Use drywall screws to secure the board to the studs, one per foot, for a total of five screws in each board at each stud.
  • Your bottom boards should be hung. Make sure none of the connections between the top and bottom boards line up with the connections in the bottom boards. 
  • Just like you did with the top boards, screw 5 screws into each board at each stud. Make sure all of your planks are flush with one another and with the floor.
  • Tape all of the seams between your drywall boards using fire-resistant tape. One side of fire tape is sticky. Place the adhesive side of the tape on the drywall boards, covering half of each board. 
  • Start with your vertical joints and then go on to your horizontal joints. The edges of your vertical tape will be covered.
  • Apply fire caulk to all borders of the room, including the roof, floor, and walls. Cut the tip of your tube of flame caulk at a 45-degree angle. To pierce the diaphragm within the tube, insert a screw into the hole. 
  • Insert the tube into the caulking gun. Pull the trigger on the gun and drag it down the seam, creating an even bead of caulk.
  • On the opposite side of the wall, hang, fire tape, & fire caulk drywall boards. Apply the same tactics to the second side as you did on the first. 
  • Ensure that all drywall boards, the ceiling, and the floor are flush with one another. Make sure the vertical joints between the upper boards and the vertical seams between the lower boards do not intersect.
  • On both ends of the wall, hang a 2nd layer of drywall boards over the first layer. Maintain a tight fit between your boards, the ceiling, and the floor. Make sure the seams on the second level aren’t touching the seams on the first.
  • On both sides of the 2nd layer of drywall boards, apply a thin layer of drywall plaster over all of the bolt heads. On both sides of the wall, skim a layer of drywall plaster along every seam. 
  • While the seam plaster is still wet, apply drywall tape to it and smooth it out with your 12 inch drywall knife. Make certain to cover any seams.
  • Allow the plaster to cure completely. Reapply plaster to each and every bolt head and seam. Allow the 2nd coat to dry before applying the third. Use your sanding screens to softly sand the surface. 
  • Using clean, dry towels, clean the dust from your wall. Apply two coats of paint on both sides of the firewall. Allow the paint to dry completely.
Materials Needed
Work gloves
Measurement tape
Plumb bob
Fire chaulk and chaulk gun
Anchor bolts
Screw gun
Drywall screws
Fire resistant drywall
Drywall plaster
Drywall plaster pan
Drywall tape
Sanding screen
Sanding pole

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “What is a fire-resistant wall?”

What exactly is a fire-resistant wall?

A fire-resistance-rated wall with protected openings that prevents fire from spreading and expanding continuously from the base to or via the roof, with adequate structural support under fire conditions to allow construction on either side of the wall to crumble without the wall collapsing.

Is brick a fire-resistant material?

Bricks are particularly fire-resistant on an individual basis. When they’re employed in building, though, the mortar that holds them together has an impact on their fire resistance.

Is “fire-resistant” the same as “fireproof”?

Yes, in fact.

The terms “fireproof” and “fire-resistant” may both refer to the same thing. They are technically interchangeable. Materials that are fire retardant or fire resistant are intended to withstand heat and inhibit the spread of fire.

Is it possible to screw into a fire-rated wall?

Yes, screws may be used as a replacement for nails in fire-rated assemblies, but they must be used one for one and have a head diameter and length equal to or larger than the nails. The screws must be spaced no farther apart than the nails.

Which sort of firewall is the most secure?

Firewall proxy 

The most secure kind of firewall is a proxy firewall, which protects network resources by filtering communications at the application layer.

What is a building’s firewall?

Firewalls are fire-resistant constructions consisting of cement, or concrete blocks that are meant to compartmentalize fire and limit its spread. The structural independence of firewalls is one of its most distinguishing characteristics.

Is a fire-resistant wall also smoke-rated?

Fire partitions typically have a fire-resistance rating of 1 to 2 hours. Finally, a smoke barrier is a barrier that is designed and built to prevent smoke from passing through. 

They may be vertical, such as on a wall, or horizontal, such as on a floor or ceiling.

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