Whenever someone introduces something truly new into the world of drywall finishing, you’re bound to get some questions. This was especially true when we rolled out our groundbreaking family of firestopping and soundproofing solutions, since these are primed to transform the way commercial crews approach their fire- and sound-rated walls. This week, we wanted to take some time and look at some of the questions Trim-Tex’s customer service and sales teams get all the time about one of the most innovative of these beads — the muscle car of firestopping solutions, Hotrod XL. Here are all your questions about Hotrod XL, answered!
Why should I use Hotrod XL instead of the caulks I’ve been using for years?
This is the big one — change is hard! But if you talk to 10 crewmembers tasked with applying messy fire caulk in wall joints (pictured below), you’ll find nine crewmembers who could complain all day about using the stuff — and one guy who’s just trying to be polite.
There are many reasons to consider using a vinyl fire rated drywall accessory like Hotrod XL over traditional fire and sound sealants, but here are two of the biggest ones:
- Ease of installation. Caulk is finicky and hard to apply evenly. Most of the time, you won’t walk away from sealing off a room without having to go back and do it again. With Hotrod XL and our other firestopping accessories, just spray and staple them into place and walk away, secure in the fact that those wall joints have been effectively protected against fire, smoke and sound.
- Longevity. Fire sealants harden and shrink back from the wall over time, making them far less effective. (The key to firestopping and soundproofing? Flexibility.) A device like Hotrod XL is designed to remain flexible and functional for the lifetime of the wall assembly. As a member of a drywalling crew, this kind of thing may not matter a ton to you — but we guarantee it does to your clients!
If you’ve ever used fire caulk before, we’re sure you’ve wondered if there’s a better way — and this is it. Learn about one commercial drywall crew who ditched caulks for one of our code compliance solutions here.
Where do I use Hotrod XL?
Hotrod XL is tailor-made for head-of-wall joints (the small gap between the wall and the ceiling, pictured above) but it’s otherwise quite versatile. Just about any kind of common assembly will work, including concrete ceilings and pan/fluted decks.
Hotrod XL provides a lot of controlled movement — up to ¾” — so you’re especially going to love this solution when you’re working on a project that needs this kind of extra wiggle room to avoid cracks and other damage. Think high rises and other multi-story structures in zones prone to seismic activity. But even if you don't have these movement concerns, the compressible foam on the bead makes it a powerful asset for all kinds of projects.
What’s with the foam attached to the bead?
The compressible foam you’ll find attached to each length of Hotrod XL is the main difference between this solution and other members of our code compliance lineup like Fire Bead. Affixed to a Flat Deflection Bead, this foam is compressed into the head-of-wall joint, forming a perfect seal within that gap. Why foam? Not all wall assemblies are created equally — ceilings can be imperfect and and drywall can be hung unevenly. But it makes no difference to the foam, which can adapt to variations in framing to seal off the joint. If you’re working on a project with a lot of framing problems, Hotrod XL could be your perfect choice.
Also, if you don’t need the perfect finished edge or protective shield of Hotrod XL’s vinyl bead, you could always just go for the firestopping foam on its own: our Hotrod Type-X should do in this case.
How does the bead’s intumescent tape work to prevent the passage of fire?
The most cutting-edge element of all Trim-Tex firestopping solutions doesn’t look like much — just a black piece of tape running along each bead. But, when exposed to intense heat, this unassuming strip of intumescent tape expands to 30 times its size. In Hotrod XL’s case, this means the tape presses up against the bead’s attached compressible foam, turning it into an impassable barrier for smoke and fire.
How does Hotrod XL save me time?
While the fastest firestopping solution we got is definitely Fire Gasket, it’s still going to be tough to beat the blazing-fast speeds of Hotrod XL’s installation, with a bit of pre-planning. One advantage of Hotrod XL is that you can install it to the drywall before the sheets are actually hung. Just attach the bead to the top of the drywall and then hang the sheet, making sure to compress Hotrod XL into the ceiling, leaving a ¾” gap for the head-of-wall joint. That’s firestopping in a single step! Regardless of if you install Hotrod XL pre-drywall hanging, you’re looking at a noticeable increase in speed over fire caulk.
Does Hotrod XL also soundproof my wall joint?
Yes! In fact, in a head-to-head matchup between acoustical caulk and Hotrod XL in the head-of-wall joint, it’s been proven the superior soundproofing solution. Check out the full sound testing story to learn more.
How do I install Hotrod XL?
The installation process for Hotrod XL will look pretty familiar to anyone who’s installed a vinyl corner bead before. First, install your drywall, leaving a ¾” gap between the it and the ceiling.
Coat both the bead and the drywall’s edge with 847 Spray Adhesive. Then angle the foam into the gap and press the bead’s mud leg against the wall. The bead’s white gasket should just kiss the ceiling. (Alternatively, as mentioned in our last answer, you could install the bead before hanging the drywall for increased speed. Apply half-inch staples every six to eight inches along the mud leg, and finish with mud. Remove the bead’s tear-off strip for a clean, finished edge before sanding.
Any questions you have that we didn’t hit in this article? We probably answer it on our online hub for all things code compliance — just hit the button below to give the site a visit, and don’t forget to sign up to receive a free digital code compliance catalog while you’re there!