“Put a cork in it!” We’ve all been on the receiving end of that one before (or maybe it’s just me?), and it’s pretty much universally recognized that that gem has everything to do with shutting the heck up. But I’m quite tickled to announce that it can now also be applied to firestopping, a field that, up until recently, has been depressingly lacking in vintage, funny-sounding commands. Not anymore.
Firestopping, if you’re not familiar with it, is the practice of blocking structural gaps (like the spaces where ductwork, pipe, and conduit pass through walls, floors and ceilings) with different intumescent materials (caulk, putty, spray foam, fire pillows and the like). Once the squishy stuff is worked into place, and sometimes left to cure, it’s able to expand to many times its original size when exposed to fire and dangerously high heat. This expansion fills all the gaps, and prevents flame and smoke from squeezing itself along pipes and ductwork and sneaking into other rooms or floors. In a nutshell, firestopping can be a major life- and building-saver.
But recall how I just referred to intumescent firestop materials as “the squishy stuff.” It’s often messy, and usually needs to be squeezed out of tubes, sprayed out of cans, or even troweled around. But STI Firestop was nice enough to come up with a clean one-piece flame-blocking product that won’t leave you having to hose yourself off post-application. You basically just put a cork in it, and call it a day.
The “cork” is actually STI’s intumescent firestop plug. It’s made out of polyurethane foam, which is neat and clean to the touch, but still able to swell to 10 times its normal size in the presence of fire. To install, you just squeeze it to fit into the end of a conduit run, push it into place, and then walk away. It’s even reusable, if it hasn’t intumesced – if you decide to use it somewhere else, just pull it out, and relocate it to wherever you need it. I don’t know about you, but with these late-breaking developments, I’ll gladly put a cork in it any day.