AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is an excerpt from the North Carolina Residential Building Code:
Quote:
SECTION 318 FLAME SPREAD AND SMOKE DENSITY


318.1 Wall and ceiling. Wall and ceiling finishes shall have a flame-spread classification of not greater than 200. Exception: Flame-spread requirements for finishes shall not apply to trim defined as picture molds, chair rails, baseboards and handrails; to doors and windows or their frames; or to materials which are less than 1/28-inch (0.907 mm) in thickness cemented to the surface of walls or ceilings if these materials have a flame-spread characteristic no greater than paper of this thickness cemented to a noncombustible backing.


318.2 Smoke density. The smoke density shall not be greater than 450.


318.3 Testing. Tests shall be made in accordance with ASTM E 84.
Now my questions:


1. Since GOM fabric claims it meets the ASTM E 84 tests, does this mean it has a "flame-spread classification" of less than 200 and has a "smoke density" of less than 450, as required above?


2. Since Insulshield is made of fiberglass, I assume it would meet these requirements. Correct?


3. What about the polyester batting (from Wal-Mart) I hear is in common use in the upper areas of walls?


4. Does your state have a similar requirement in the building code?


Does anyone have any information on these items? Are we building our HTs to code?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,991 Posts
Ditto, for another North Carolinian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
I don't have the testing results for the Polyester or Dacron (used in quilts, the chair you're sitting on, etc). However, the material is also found behind GOM fabric in office cubicles in fire code stressed areas like San Francisco.


I'll attempt to locate those numbers; however, one inspector suggested I read the code more carefully. I did. Over, and over, and over. I called him, said I still don't get it. His sage reply was the code applies to the surface material ... which is a code compliant fabric material. Nor does the flame spread criteria apply to a layered composite material. It applies to the surface material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Sandpiper,


I checked with a friend of mine who is head of the interiors department in an architectural firm. She said:


ASTM E 84 is a standard that sets the minimums for flame-spread and smoke density. In other words if it meets ASTM E 84, the flame-spread is less than 200 and smoke density is less than 450.


Insulshield meets the requirements of ASTM E 84


Polyester batting would never be acceptable.


All states have the same requirements.


Ron
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
Quote:
All states have the same requirements.
This is not the case. Throughout the U.S. you'll find code is generally modelled after either BOCA, ICBO, or SBCCI. However, within each local jurisdiction (county, parish, town, etc.), you will discover different code requirements. For example, class 2 wiring requirements is different in the City of Atlanta then in Fulton County (Atlanta is in Fulton County) in only a few applications. In certain PA townships, the inspectors will allow only Rock Wool to meet fire code and fiberglass cannot be used.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rono,


Thanks for the information. Can you clarify this:
Quote:
Polyester batting would never be acceptable.
Is this what the inspector said, or is this your opinion? Do you have further information on the basis of this statement?


Dennis,


you stated:

Quote:
His sage reply was the code applies to the surface material ... which is a code compliant fabric material. Nor does the flame spread criteria apply to a layered composite material. It applies to the surface material.
I'm not a building code expert, but your statement doesn't make sense to me. The ASTM E84 requirement applies to all ceiling and wall "finishes", except for materials which are very thin and glued to wall or ceiling and have flame spread characteristics no worse than paper.


I would argue that the "finish" includes everything up to and including the drywall surface; Meaning the "finish" includes what is underneath the cloth, not just the cloth.


After all, what is the intention of this part of the code? To prevent rapid spread of fire? If we have a combustible material under a "somewhat combustible" cloth, I doubt if the cloth will stop or slow the combustion.


I not trying to fault you for using the polyester batting. I'm just trying to get to root of the truth. I'm wondering if it is possible that this was overlooked. Apparently, since no one seems sure, and I know that polyester is pretty flammable unless treated in a special manner, I am doubting that the Wal-Mart variety of polyester batting will meet the code.


I'd really like to know with some certainty before I proceed with my (or many other) installations. Otherwise, I think the batting is an economical and elegant design.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
In dealing with inspectors, the interpretation doesn't count. Their specific interpretation counts. In the case I referenced, since ASTM E84 is a "surface flame spread test", that specific locality and specific inspector interpretted the code to apply to the SURFACE material, not the underlaying materials. (Underlaying materials are not surface materials, and therefore, ASTM E84 does not apply until the surface burns away.


My best advice to you is to contact your LOCAL building inspection authority and ask them the question directly.


As I failed to convey effectively, every jurisdiction has different requirements and absolutely the only way to determine if a particular practice is, or will be, acceptable in your area is to ask those responsible for this function in your area.


The statment "never acceptable" in any area is incorrect. There are areas that do not have the same code requirements you have for residential construction. Which gets right back to my primary point ... the only way you're going to get an accurate and definative answer to your question is to ask your building department.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
As Dennis said, you need to contact your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Codes are different for every area, with some being stricter than others. Codes are also interpreted by inspectors, and if you need to get it approved, then your inspector will need to sign it off. If you're concerned about the safety of the material or the construction, then you should consider an alternative even if your inspector says it's o.k. Bottom line though is that you need to contact your AHJ.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
Sec.4304


(a) General. Fire-resistive walls and partitions shall be assumed to have the fire-resistance ratings set forth in table No. 43-B.


(b) Combustible Members. Combustible members framed into a wall shall be protected at their ends by not less than one half the required fire-resistive thickness of such wall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Hello All-

I've been planning my GOM installation over the poly batting but these posts have raised some concerns for me. I found a mention of "Fire-rated polyesters, with flame- spread values of "0" on this
Snap-Tex Company website .


Anyone have more information on this kind of batting using fire-rated polyesters?


Also, what about spraying the poly batting with a fire retardent liquid such as this: Inspecta Shield


-Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good find, BB. I know that polyester fibers can be treated to make them "flame resistant". I'm not sure what they do, but I know that the normal polyester is not "flame resistant". They make pajamas, etc from the "flame resistant" type of polyester.


I originally brought the subject up because I was concerned about creating a fire hazard with all the fabric and batting. I know that the GOM FR fabric is OK and the insulshield is OK, but I was really concerned about the garden variety of polyester batting.


Sounds like no one here knows for sure if the combination of Wal-Mart variety of polyester batting and GOM FR fabric actually will pass the ASTM E84 test. We only have opinions and what inspectors have allowed.


I wish there were test results out there. I could not find anything. In the meantime, until I know for sure, I will not be using the garden variety of polyester batting. Sounds like the fire-rated polyester should be OK.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
Sandpiper...

you really need to speak with your building people. ASTM 84 is a surface spread test. Getting a material to ignite (and flame to spread) on it's surface is an entirely different process than igniting it on its edge. Note the code reference above about composite wall materials and protecting the edges of materials! The batting is not surface or edge exposed when properly installed.
Quote:
(b) Combustible Members. Combustible members framed into a wall shall be protected at their ends by not less than one half the required fire-resistive thickness of such wall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,709 Posts
I think there are several issues and I don't know that alot of further debate is required here. The first issue is whether a "fire resistant" substrate would be safer than a non fire resistant substrate. For this, there should be no debate. The second issue is if code, in your area, dictates that an edge protected substrate is allowed and under what circumstances.


I'm certain you could pay to have an ASTM E84 test run on the material; but, if that material is NOT a surface material, the test's relevance to the application under discussion is moot (unless the batting will be the exposed wall surface...then it is very applicable.) However, you can save the expense of the test, by purchasing a small amount of the material, laying on your driveway and igniting it. Next, run the same test but laying a piece of GOM over the top (meaning you have to burn through the GOM before the batting is exposed to the flame).


My office cubicles are GOM fabric over a polyester, non fire rated substrate and these are Knoll panels originally manufactured for use in a telephone company office facility. The exact same panels were used in our North Carolina facilities in Research Triangle Park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
I have some further details for those of you in California. (Excerpts from the 1998 California Building Code)


Excerpt from Section 803 ================


1. When walls or ceilings are required by any provision in the code to be of fire-resistive or noncombustible construction, the finish material shall be applied directly against such fire-resistive or noncombustible construction or to furring strips not exceeding 1 3/4 inches applied directly to such surfaces. The intervening spaces between such furring strips shall be filled with inorganic or Class I material or shall be fireblocked not ot exceed 8 feet in any direction.


End of excerpt =====================


So the fire rating of the material behind the GOM does matter in California. Class I material has a flame-spread index of between 0 and 25. GOM is rated Class I, but non-flame retardant polyester batting is not.


One option is to use fiberglass batting which is inorganic, but is a pain.


Has anyone installed GOM directly over fiberglass batting?


It gets worse!!


Excerpt from Section 805 - Textile Wall Coverings ===========


When used as interior wall finish, textile wall coverings, including materials such as those having a napped, tufted, looped, non-woven, woven or similar surface shall comply with the following:


1. Textile wall coverings shall have a Class I flame spread and shall be protected by automatic sprinklers complying with UBC standard 9-1 or 9-3, or


2. The textile wall covering shall meet the acceptance criteria of UBC standard 8-2 (Standard Test for Evaluating Room Fire Growth Contribution of Textile Wall Covering) when tested using a product mounting system, including adhesive, representative of actual use.


End of Excerpt =======================


This is a major pain in the a$$. Basically they are saying the you must have the entire assembly (GOM, Insulshield, batting, furring strips, glue, etc.) tested as a unit.


Has anyone had experience with this in California? My inspector did not seem to notice section 805 (yet!) and wanted me to return with a Flame Spread data sheet for the batting. I think I will resubmit the plans with fiberglass batting, and see if it gets approved, in spite of section 805. Now he did ask me how I was mounting the fabric, and when I told him I was stapling it to furring strips, he was okay with that, so that may suffice for section 805, as long as all of the material behind the GOM is Class I.


I'm doing more research on this, since section 806 - Insulation states that Thermal and acoustical insulation installed on walls or ceilings shall comply with Section 707 (which I don't currently have access to).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
Thanks, Dennis. Do you have a source?
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top