Fire Stopping Best Practice: Why Use Putty Pads?
Fire retardant paints, sprays, and boards are all commonly used by builders and DIYers. They are important. Fire damage can be greatly reduced if flames are slowed down or prevented altogether from moving from room to room. These items also increase the safety of occupants who will likely have more time to reach the fire exit.
Interior walls built with treated boards can still be breached by fire, however. One such area these breaches occur are through electrical plug sockets, light switches, and tap water wall boxes. This is where putty pads come in.
What are putty pads?
Putty pads are fire-retardant, single-use, mouldable pads. They can be fitted inside or on the outside of sockets, switches, or wall boxes. In the event of a fire they form a robust resistant char that prevents burn through at the location of electrical or pipe penetrations.
Putty pads do not set (like conventional wall putty) and do not slump over time. They first came to prominence as a means for sound insulation, but with the addition of fire-stopping additives, are now being increasingly used to help make our buildings safer.
How are putty pads installed?
Putty pads are ready-to-use straight out of the packet and can be easily applied – adhering to most common building materials without the aid of specialist tools. They are available in a range of sizes and can be trimmed down if necessary.
Are putty pads worth the extra cost?
In terms of cost, single putty pads are not expensive in comparison to other essential fire stopping products – as low as £1.20 per pad at International Passive Fire. If you are budgeting to spray boards – or to use fire retardant interior walls – in your building project, it makes sense to budget a little extra for putty pads to ensure any switches or sockets you are installing are prepared for fire stopping too.
Fire stopping best practice
While trying to ensure that the interior of your building is as fire-safe as possible, it seems illogical to invest in fire retardant sprays, paints, or boards with the knowledge that a fire could breach through any sockets located within your carefully treated fireproof walls.
Putty pads are relatively cheap and very straightforward to install. They can’t make any wall 100% fireproof, but they are another effective tool to further minimise damage and to improve safety in the event of a fire. When it comes to fire stopping best practice, there seems little reason that they should be overlooked.