Fire-stopping and fireproofing are two critical components of your building’s construction. Knowing the difference between the two can help limit property damage, personal injury, and even death in the event of a fire. As a business or property owner, it is critical that you understand these distinctions and combine them to properly protect your building, equipment, and employees or guests.
When the majority of business and property owners consider fire safety, they envision a fire sprinkler or alarm system designed to extinguish a fire. These are critical components, but they come much later in the process of protecting a building from fire than firestopping and fireproofing. However, due to the widespread confusion surrounding firestopping and fireproofing, let us first define each term broadly. Fire-stopping Fire-stopping is most easily visualized when a building is viewed as a single unit with multiple rooms inside. Because a fire can start in any room, it is critical that the spread of fire from that location is slowed to allow for proper evacuation and to allow emergency response teams the maximum amount of time possible to arrive on scene.
Fire-stopping is the sealant that is applied to any points in the building where a fire could spread from the room where it started. This includes intersections between walls and floor or ceiling joists, as well as wall-to-wall connections. A fire-stopping sealant will assist in preventing the spread of fire and harmful gases through these weak points, thereby limiting property damage and personal injury and providing first responders with additional time to respond and safely enter the building. Fireproofing While firestopping helps prevent the spread of fire and harmful gases throughout your building, fireproofing safeguards the structural components of your structure against collapse and irreversible damage during a fire. During the construction of your building, fireproofing is most frequently applied to steel and concrete. Building materials can reach extremely dangerous temperatures in the event of a fire. If the moisture content trapped inside becomes too hot, overheated steel can become weakened and collapse, and overheated concrete can expand and burst. This expansion can result in exploding concrete walls, which rapidly degrade the structural integrity of your building and pose an immediate danger to anyone nearby.
What Is Included in Fireproofing? During construction, a fireproofing sealant is typically applied to steel and concrete, with a particular emphasis on the more structural areas of your building. Additionally, it can be used on a variety of other materials, including electrical circuits, fire barriers, and even fuel tanks. Justifications for Fireproofing Your Business Fireproofing is necessary for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it helps maintain the structural integrity of your building for a longer period of time during a fire, allowing occupants to evacuate safely and first responders to enter safely to assist in extinguishing the flames. If emergency crews are able to extinguish the fire, fireproofing also helps prevent your building from collapsing, which reduces property damage and may also help prevent personal injury.
While fire-stopping and fireproofing may appear to be synonymous at first, you should now understand the critical nature of fireproofing in your business. If you’re considering new construction or additions to your building, speak with one of our highly trained fireproofing experts to learn how fireproofing can benefit you, your employees, and your property.