Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fire Barriers

I have usually been posted construction updates on the weekends, but was so excited today that I had to share ahead of time, especially since the evidence will be concealed by this weekend.  Loyal readers will recall that Aaronap Cellars will be operating out of a portion of the basement of our residential home.  One of the requirements of the Westford Building Department to approve the building permit was that we had to install a 2 hour fire barrier between the winery and the rest of the house.  Even though the fire danger from vats of wine is pretty darn miniscule (try igniting a pan of wine with an open flame), I wasn't going to try to appeal this requirement since a fire barrier could be constructed fairly easily with minimal cost increase.

After we heard of that requirement, we (meaning my Custom Contracting experts) trooped off to determine what a constitutes a 2 hour fire barrier.  We got a little luck since the portion of the basement where the winery will reside is bordered on 3 walls by concrete foundation and a single layer of Type X drywall over the studs will suffice for those walls.  The 4th wall is the separation between the winery and residential spaces and this is where the fun starts.  To build a 2 hr fire barrier along this wall requires a double layer of Type X drywall on each side of the framed wall studs with a layer of R15 fiberglass insulation.  Not that bad...just doubled the amount of drywall panels needed for that wall, but still not bad.

Discerning minds might spot a gap above--we've covered the walls, but not the ceiling.  Yep, a 2 hour fire barrier had to extend across the ceiling as well.  We can't exactly rip off the top floor of the house to lay down a double layer of drywall on top of the floor studs, so it has to be hung from the ceiling of the basement.  Layers again come to the rescue, but this time a 1-inch metal spacer is installed in between the 2 layers of drywall.

The drywall guys got started early this morning and by this evening have enclosed the winery space.  The pictures below show the dramatic change and also illustrate the ceiling fire barrier as we've got one layer installed along with the metal spacers.  Tomorrow will see the final ceiling layer installed and then they'll start plastering!

It actually looks like a winery room!