Fire rated expansion joints are necessary in order to maintain a building’s safety and resiliency. Learn how to incorporate them without jeopardizing the life safety aspects of a building.


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• An expansion joint that runs through a building may interrupt a fire rated assembly. To maintain the integrity of the interrupted fire rated assembly and prevent the spread of fire, a fire barrier or fire stop should be used.

• The main difference between fire barriers and fire stops is the allowance for movement.  A fire stop is used for non-movement/static applications while a fire barrier is used for moving/dynamic applications.


• To ensure proper functionality of the expansion joint cover system, it is critical that fire barrier dimensions be taken into account when determining the final size of the expansion joint opening.

• Fire barrier testing should be certified through a reputable third party certification agency, such as Underwriter Laboratories (UL).

How to Prepare for A Fire Barrier Installation

General Considerations

What fire rating are you trying to achieve?


• Be sure to select the appropriate UL Listed product for the application

• Check that your job site conditions are the same as the UL Listing

Floor Installation Prep

Are your concrete surfaces properly prepared?


• Surface mounted covers require a square, clean joint

• Blockouts must be level for recessed covers

• Set the substrate at the correct elevation prior to fire barrier installation

Wall Installation Prep

Are your substrates finished correctly?


• Drywall must be installed on the inside of the joint

• Joint edges must be parallel to one another

• Be sure the proper blocking connection points are made, if applicable (Typically needed in 2 hr. rating situations)

• Be mindful of floor fire barriers above and below for proper transitioning

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