Difference Between Fire Breaks and Stops

A firestop is a fire protection system made of various components used to seal openings and joints in fire-resistance rated wall and/or floor assemblies. Firestops are designed to restore the fire-resistance ratings of wall and/or floor assemblies by impeding the spread of fire by filling the openings with fire-resistant materials. Unprotected openings in fire separations cancel out the fire-resistance ratings of the fire separations, allowing the spread of fire, usually past the limits of the fire safety plan of a building. They are also used to separate the intersection of concealed spaces such as between wall, floor, and stair cavities.

Firestops do not achieve the fire resistance rating without following all manufacturer's guidelines. For example, a firestopping sealant may require a mineral wool backer and a steel pipe surround.

Firebreak materials are not suitable for use in firestops and will state this on the product.


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CAN/ULC S115-95 "F" Rating Fire
CAN/ULC S115-95 "FT" Rating Fire & Temperature
CAN/ULC S115-95 "FH" Rating Fire & Hose
CAN/ULC S115-95 "FTH" Rating Fire Temperature & Hose
ASTM E84 (UL 723) - Standard Test Method for Surface Burning
ASTM E 814 (UL 1479) - Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Penetration Firestop Systems
ASTM E119 (UL 263) - Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials
UL 1715 - Fire Test of Interior Finish Material
ICC-ES Evaluation Reports (e.g. ESR-1961 and ESR-3165)


Disclaimer (AHJ)

All content is presented as general information only — actual design and site conditions vary widely and must be considered by a qualified professional. There is no guarantee on the complete accuracy of this information, and the author assumes no risk whatsoever. Technical information is offered only as a guidance and does not supersede legislation, local building codes, or authorities having jurisdiction.