How to fireproof with drywall

Written by keith allen
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How to fireproof with drywall
Using the proper drywall material improves fire resistance for home walls. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Drywall, sometimes called gypsum or sheetrock, does naturally provide some fire resistance. The predominant material in the drywall sheet, gypsum, does not burn. However, the paper the sheet is encased in does burn and heat does transfer through the drywall, increasing the possibility of combustion within the wall. Special types of drywall material are commercially available that increase the fire protection offered by the drywall. Installation of the fire resistant drywall utilises the same techniques as standard drywall and falls within the abilities of do-it-yourselfers who have done other drywall projects.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Type X or Type C drywall
  • 2-inch drywall screws
  • Fire-resistant drywall tape
  • Drywall compound

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  1. 1

    Attach Type X or Type C drywall material to the wall studs. Both include fibreglass in the gypsum mix to increase the length of time the drywall can be exposed to fire before the fire burns through to the opposite side of the wall. Type C contains more fibreglass and has a higher fire resistant rating than Type X.

  2. 2

    Use the thickest drywall possible. The thicker the drywall the greater the fire resistance. Attach 5/8 inch drywall to the wall studs using 2-inch drywall screws placed every 6 to 8 inches.

  3. 3

    Use a tape with a rated fireproof capacity. Commercially available tapes use a self-adhesive system to attach the tape to the drywall. Follow manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

  4. 4

    Place drywall compound over the screw heads and tape using a putty knife. Smooth the compound as much as possible and allow to dry. Sand the compound smooth and apply a second layer of compound to fill any gaps or low spots. Sand again before painting or applying wallpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • Check local building and zoning regulations concerning fireproof wall requirements. Some building codes require the use of fire-resistant drywall in the interior walls of the utility or furnace room.
  • A wall built with wood studs covered with 5/8-inch Type X drywall on both sides resists fire for about 1 hour, according to the website Drywall How To.

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