Historic Private University: Fire Gasket Makes ‘Everything Faster’

Firestopping wall joints is just one part of the framing and drywall process in commercial construction. But the timing of everything else hinges on when it gets done — and done with enough care to pass inspection. So, when framing/drywall contractor Gibson-Lewis needed to build hundreds of new dormitories as quickly as possible, the old, slow, unreliable firestopping materials — fire caulks — would make everything else slower as a result. When they found a faster, more reliable form of pre-formed firestop from Trim-Tex, they saw how this one change would make their entire project go faster.

Last time we took a look at this huge dorm-building project at a historic private university in Indiana, we spoke to the drywall crew used Trim-Tex’s Fire Bead to finish fire rated walls faster. Now, you’ll hear from the framers, who installed our Fire Gasket pre-drywall to supercharge the firestopping process.

Trim-Tex Fire Gasket: "Es todo más rápido" | Testimonial | Commercial Construction
Trim-Tex Fire Gasket: "Es todo más rápido" | Testimonial | Commercial Construction

Fire Gasket: ‘The speed at which it’s applied is 100 times faster’

Unlike many of Trim-Tex’s other fire rated drywall accessories, which are mounted to the drywall and finished like a Tear Away L Bead, Fire Gasket is unique among our catalog. It is affixed to the framing track, and drywall is installed on top of it.

By ensuring its flexible bubble gasket is compressed against the abutting substrate (either ceiling or, in this case, floor), you’re allowing for a certain degree of controlled movement: from ½” to 1 ½” depending on which size Fire Gasket you choose. When exposed to intense heat, the innovative intumescent tape attached to the bead expands and the gasket fully seals off the wall joint, securing it against the spread of smoke and fire.

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In most cases, installation is as easy as sticking it to the track and walking away. Compare that to fire or sound caulk, with which mistakes are easier to make, installation takes longer and considerable cleanup is required afterward.

“The speed at which [Fire Gasket] is applied is 100 times faster than us getting down on our knees and cleaning — it's saving a lot of money for the company,” Carpenter Foreman Eric Esparza told us (translated from Spanish). “Since they are giving us schedules that are very compressed, the Fire Gasket makes us fly more and it goes very quickly.

“It takes us two minutes to put it on. It's really very easy. If I send a guy to put the sound caulk on the track, it's going to take him two hours. And then you're going to have to clean up everything they throw on the floor and go back to clean again. And it's going to take them many days to do it … Just with the sheer time that is being saved, you can do other kinds of things that they are encouraging us to do by using the Fire Gasket. Everything is faster.”

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'Nobody else has to touch it'

Beyond the time it takes for installers to apply these products, the other consideration here is, what kind of labor are you using to do it? Caulk requires a certain amount of skill, and skill costs more money. Solutions like Fire Gasket, Esparza tells us, allow you to “hire an apprentice who doesn't cost you much.” And, where you may need one laborer or set of laborers to apply the caulk and another to hang the drywall, Fire Gasket allows as few as one crewperson to execute the whole process.

“When the carpenters put the bottom gasket on, they don't have to come back to caulk it again — it's done,” says Gibson-Lewis Drywall Foreman Jesus Gutiérrez. “They're putting the gasket on, slamming the sheetrock up at the same time. Nobody else has to touch it … Everybody's on deadlines. Everybody's waiting for the guy in front of them to get done so they can get in there. It's real important that we can keep it all moving.”

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Thank you once again to the Gibson-Lewis crew for inviting us to check out their awesome work at this exciting student housing project. Fire Gasket is just one of the trailblazing code compliance drywall accessories Trim-Tex offers. To check out the whole family of solutions, hit the button below.

Code Compliance, Without All the Extra Steps

Code Compliance, Without All the Extra Steps

Learn more about the trailblazing fire and sound rated drywall accessories changing the game for code compliance