Drywall is a common building material used in construction as a fast alternative to plaster and wood. It consists of two pieces of paperboard sandwiching a layer of fireproof gypsum.
Fire code drywall protects a home from fires that begin in garages, combustible materials, and other areas. Different thicknesses and layers of drywall can increase fire resistance ratings.
Holes or Cracks
Drywall isn’t indestructible, and it’s not designed to resist heavy impacts. It is made to be lightweight to lower construction time and transportation costs, but it can still get damaged from everyday use or natural disasters. Leaking pipes, condensation from the air conditioning, sink overflows, or even heavy rains can damage drywall, making it weak. Water damage can cause many problems, including loosened joint tape and cracks, leading to mold growth and structural issues.
Small holes in drywall, such as those made when a doorknob strikes the wall or furniture is moved, may typically be repaired with some spackle and paint. Larger holes, however, are often better left to a professional, mainly when the spot is in a difficult place to reach.
Drywall cracking is another common issue that should be handled immediately. Those caused by the home settling or other structural problems will probably require an inspection from a foundation specialist to determine whether they’re harmless and need repairing and installing drywall. If the cracks result from water damage, they must be fixed immediately. Otherwise, mold will grow in the gaps and eventually destroy the drywall.
The insulation around electrical cords and wires protects us from the live current within them, which could cause severe burns, electric shock, and, in some cases, death through electrocution. However, if that insulation is damaged or the wires themselves are exposed, it heightens the risk of an electrical fire starting. Exposed wiring also poses a hazard for those nearby who could touch the cables and be shocked.
Junction boxes without covers are a common place to find exposed and hazardous wiring. When combustible materials are stored near energized wiring in these areas, sparks or electrical arcing can start fires that engulf the entire house or building.
When working with drywall, it’s crucial to exercise extreme caution to protect any exposed wire from the environment. It is especially true when working on older drywall, which may not be as fire-resistant as a gypsum board that meets the current national and state codes for flammability.
All wiring must carry no more than 50 volts of electricity or be insulated, according to regulations set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Additionally, it’s recommended that a professional be hired to mend and patch drywall where there is visible damage or exposed electrical wiring. Avoid using duct or non-electrical tape to cover or mask damaged drywall.
Many home improvement projects require drywall. The installation of drywall requires precision to ensure there are no noticeable seams or wavy walls. It is why hiring a professional is essential. They can complete the entire drywall process quickly and will save you a lot of headaches. Drywall professionals also have the equipment necessary to install drywall and ensure it is safe and secure properly.
Different drywall types exist for different needs, including fire-resistant and mold-resistant boards. These specialized drywall boards are usually colored purple, blue, or white and can help determine if your home is safe and protected from fires or moisture. Fire-rated drywall is a good option for garages or basements since it retards the fire spread up to two times more than the standard gypsum board.
You can find a variety of fire-rated drywall at local hardware stores or contractor supply houses. Typically, these boards cost more than standard drywall and come in various thicknesses, from 5/8-inch to 8-inch. Fire-rated drywall includes a fiberglass and gypsum core reinforced with glass fibers.
Using self-adhesive drywall fire tape is an easy and fast way to protect your drywall joints. This fire-rated drywall tape is much easier to install than traditional paper drywall tape and can be used in various drywall applications.
Although all drywall is fire-resistant, type X and type C drywall are explicitly designed to be used in fire-rated assemblies. These products contain more water and help to slow flames, smoke, and heat from spreading around rooms, floors, and buildings much better than regular drywall. It helps to protect structural supports long enough for occupants to escape and for structures to be saved.
Although fire-rated walls are not customarily used in single-family homes, they are often required in multi-family residential construction like apartments, condominiums, and townhouses. Additionally, any space requiring an area separation wall must use this product.
This type of drywall can be found in a typical home in the garage, laundry room, basement, and some bedrooms. These walls are different from the rest of the house because they must meet fire safety standards and pass a hose stream test to be certified as a fire-rated wall.
These walls are made with high-grade materials, including cement and reinforced concrete, Hebel blocks or specialized fire-rated plasterboard/gypsum, and various insulated panels such as Speedpanel (aerated concrete core with galvanized steel shell) and Promat fire boards. These products must be properly installed and regularly inspected, as with any other drywall. In addition, holes created for plumbing, electrical wires, or heating and cooling vents must be repaired with a material that preserves the fire-resistance rating of the wall.