Ever since we rolled out our family of fire rated drywall accessories, we’ve been hearing from finishers, project managers and architects from all over about how they’ve helped save them time and headaches. They’re far easier to install than fire caulks and sprays, last practically forever and help protect walls from damage due to structural movement — what’s not to love? But one question we get from time to time has caused some to scratch their heads: why are our firestopping solutions pink in color?
The light reddish color of our groundbreaking code compliance solutions is unique among our collection of corner beads, almost all of which are tinted white. So why mix things up here? The short answer is that it’s another time-saving tactic — the pink color makes them easier for inspectors to spot, allowing them to do their jobs faster and your crews to move on to the next task that much more quickly.
But let’s dig into the details a little bit more than that to explain why this pink color is so crucial to the success of our fire rated drywall accessories (like Fire Bead, pictured above).
Special Inspections & Destructive Testing
Since 2012, the International Building Code (IBC) standards started specifying that “Special Inspections” would need to take place for firestop penetrations and joints for certain high-risk structures . These buildings included high rises taller than 75 feet above fire department access; buildings that are meant to house large groups, like movie theaters and prisons; and structures built for emergency services, like hospitals and fire stations.
When it comes to traditional fire rated materials, like sealants and sprays, those Special Inspections include what’s known as “destructive testing” for the inspector to verify that the proper dosage of firestopping material has been applied. Destructive testing involves, first off, waiting for the fire caulk or spray to fully dry/cure, then the inspector will go around and remove chunks of the firestop material at multiple locations at the bond lines (known as taking a “coupon”). This way, he or she is able to vouch that the installer applied the correct amount and uniform depth of backing material within the wall joint.
This destructive testing became necessary because fire caulks and sprays are finicky to apply evenly — it can be too easy to get an unbalanced level of materials in a spot as narrow as a head-of-wall joint. The trouble, of course, with destructive testing is that it requires you to go back and fill back in the spots that the inspector removed as coupons. And that’s just if you did everything right — if the inspector finds fault here, you have to go back, do it again, wait for it to dry again and then call the inspector back in. With the wrong amount of firestop material in certain spots, you’re talking about losing entire days due to these Special Inspections.
On the other hand, our fire rated drywall accessories do not require this destructive testing. Unlike field-applied firestop sealant or spray, our family of firestopping solutions are considered “devices,” which, per IBC Special Inspections standards, means the inspector knows that it provides a factory-metered dosage of firestopping material. (In this case, by firestopping materials, we’re talking about the strip of intumescent tape featured on each of our fire rated beads, which expands to 30 times its size when exposed to intense heat.)
The chance for user error — which is high with fire caulks — is reduced to almost zero. Because of this, inspectors can skip the destructive testing, and rely purely on visual testing. Plus, they are ready for inspection immediately after installation, rather than waiting for it to finish curing.
So, when we were developing our fire rated drywall accessories, we thought, how can we help those visual inspections go even faster and smoother? Well, a great way to do that would be to manufacture them with a unique, easy-to-spot hue that would make them stand out to inspectors, but wouldn’t be so difficult to paint over. And voila — making Trim-Tex’s firestopping solutions pink was the perfect fit.
Since October is Fire Prevention Month, now is a great time to consider how you can save time, reduce installation errors and protect wall joints from the spread of fire, smoke and sound by switching to more advanced firestopping solutions. The fact that these fire rated drywall accessories are faster to inspect is just one of their many advantages; learn about all of them by hitting the button below to visit our online firestopping hub, and be sure to grab a copy of our full code compliance catalog while you’re there!