Fire Wall Construction – How Are Fire Walls Designed?


Jul 28, 2023

Regardless of industry, fire safety is of critical importance. Not only can proper fire safety equipment and precautions protect the structural integrity of your building and prevent unnecessary damage to inventory and equipment, but these efforts can also save lives.

One of the critical components of fire safety is the installation of fire walls. These fireproof structures help prevent fires from spreading, giving first responders the time they need to arrive on the scene.

Today, we will explore what fire walls are, how they are constructed, and the important purposes they serve when it comes to fire safety. If you have ever wondered about fire partition wall construction, you have come to the right place!

What Is a Fire Wall?

In simple terms, a fire wall is a fireproof and smokeproof fire barrier built for the express purpose of slowing down the spread of fire from one area of a building to another.

Unlike fire suppression systems, like fire sprinkler systems, which are designed to extinguish flames, fire walls are simply meant to contain flames and slow how quickly they are able to spread.

How Are They Built? – Fire Wall Construction

Fire extinguisher hanging on wall in stairwell

When constructing a reliable fire wall, three basic steps need to be considered:

Step 1. Selecting the Right Materials

Since a fire wall must be made of fire-rated material that can withstand high temperatures without combusting, material selection is incredibly important. These fire-resistant materials should also block smoke, as this could be the difference between life and death in an emergency evacuation situation.

Fire-proof materials commonly used in fire wall construction can include Rockwool, high-quality concrete, rock, brick, and steel alloys with a high melting point for structural stability.

Every component of a fire wall system should be capable of withstanding high temperatures for extended periods, so even doorways and trimmings should be made from these materials.

Step 2. Reinforcing the Fire Wall

After selecting fireproof materials, the next step is ensuring that the finished fire wall will have the structural integrity required for such a separation wall.

In large-scale fire conditions, collapsing ceilings and various falling objects could make contact with the fire resistive wall. It needs to be able to stand up to these impact forces and remain intact.

Specialized steel beams that can withstand high temperatures without melting are often used to reinforce fire walls. A steel mesh will sometimes be used, as the high strength-to-weight ratio can be preferable to larger steel beams.

Step 3. Sealing the Fire Wall & Adding Fire Safety Equipment

Once a fire wall is standing and reinforced, the next step is sealing it off so that smoke and flames cannot pass through small openings. Even small gaps can allow sparks, flames, and smoke to pass through, which can defeat the entire purpose of the fire wall if it allows the fire to spread.

Caulking specifically designed to withstand high temperatures can seal small gaps and stop the spread of smoke and flames through the finished fire wall.

Many fire walls will also be equipped with various forms of fire safety equipment and signage. Signs that detail evacuation routes in highly visible ways are common, as are fire extinguisher mounts and fire blanket cabinets.

What Are the Primary Purposes of a Fire Wall?

Providing Safe Escape Routes

In many cases, fire walls are used as passive fire protection to protect primary escape routes. By lining certain hallways and staircases with fireproof walls and ceilings, employees, customers, and other personnel can safely escape. These fireproof arteries can also provide safe routes for emergency responders to enter the building.

Protecting Valuable Assets

In some cases, a fire wall system is used to protect certain company assets. By preventing the fire from spreading to some regions of the building, a business can remain confident that valuable property, such as expensive pieces of equipment, will be protected.

If the assets in question are integral to the business’s daily operations but are incredibly difficult to replace, protecting them with fire walls could prevent lengthy business disruptions and financial losses after the fire has been dealt with.

Delaying the Spread of the Fire

Not only can fire barrier walls protect people and property, but they can also drastically delay the spread of a fire. Simply delaying the spread of the fire can give emergency responders and fire crews the time they need to arrive and extinguish the fire.

The longer a fire can be delayed and compartmentalized, the higher the chances are that the fire will be put out without major losses.

Rockwall Fire Rated Wall Panels

One easy-to-install fire wall solution is Rockwall Wall Panels. They are made from fire resistant materials and feature a unique, lightweight design.

Not only do they have a Class-A 3-Hour Fire Rating, but they can also be installed much faster than a traditional fire wall can be constructed, and they still offer an outstanding fire resistance rating.

isowall insulated wall panel diagram

In addition to offering multi-hour fire protection, they offer a variety of benefits that could make them a fire-resistant wall panel solution for a wide range of applications.

Beyond their fire-resistant properties, these innovative wall panels are mold and mildew-resistant, easy-to-clean, and completely customizable, and they are available in many finishes and colors.

Learn more about how Rockwall Panels offer impressive fire resistance by reading Fire Rated Wall Panels – What Constitutes a One Hour Fire Rated Wall?

You can also request a Rockwall sample and download an informative leaflet by clicking below:

Learn More About Rockwall

Final Words

Fire barrier walls serve an incredible role in fire safety. They can protect your property and the lives of your employees, customers, and any other individual visiting your business.

While they are incredibly important, they are only as useful as the quality of the materials they are made from. When a fire wall is constructed properly, it can be the difference between life and death.

With this in mind, remember always to choose high-quality materials when constructing your own fire walls!