Fire Rated Drywall

Local Building Codes May Require Fire Rated Drywall in Certain areas of a Home

By Mark J. Donovan

When it comes to installing drywall in your home, not all drywall is equal. Besides standard drywall, there is also moisture resistant drywall and fire rated drywall. Fire rated drywall is frequently required by local building codes for certain areas, or walls, of the home where there is the risk of fire. In particular fire rated drywall is used on garage walls and ceilings that are adjacent to the main living area of the home. Likewise, fire rated drywall is also used in utility rooms where there is a furnace.

The official name for fire rated drywall is Type “X” fire-code drywall. Type “X” fire-code drywall that is 5/8th inch thick has a minimum fire rating of 1 hour, which is a requirement for most building codes.

Type “X” fire-code drywall is also available in ½ inch sheets (45 minute fire rating) and 3/4th inch sheets (120 minute fire rating). Standard drywall on the other hand only has a 30 minute fire rating.

Type “X” fire-code drywall is more fire resistant due to the makeup of it. It has fire resistant paper on it and contains glass fiber material in it to help it hold up longer to fire. Type “X” fire-code drywall is more expensive than standard drywall and thus drywall contractors only use it when and where they have to, unless of course the homeowner wants to pay the extra material costs to have it used throughout the home. Type “X” fire-code drywall is identified by an X mark on it. It is also more difficult to cut.

Sometimes where allowed, drywall contractors will alternatively double up standard ½ inch or 5/8ths inch drywall in lieu of using Type “X” drywall, to meet the 1 hour minimum fire rating.

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