Press Room 2014 | Fire Code

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Lancaster, Pa., February 4 – There are a multitude of hazards in a home that can cause injuries, ranging from kitchen knives to carpet lips. But there also are companies and products designed with wellbeing in mind to address home safety issues that meet – or exceed – current standards, appreciated by builders as well as homeowners.

Armstrong Residential Ceilings offers a ceiling solution for protecting Truss Joist I-beam (TJI) wood framed floor/ceiling assemblies, meeting the standards of the International Residential Code (IRC). The drawback with TJI has typically been the burn-through time. A 2x10 or a 2x4 constructed open web typically will last longer in a fire than a TJI. That can be overcome with products designed to slow combustion. According to the current Section R501.3 of the 2012 IRC, in which Armstrong is compliant, either a ½” gypsum board or plywood protective layer or equivalent must be applied over engineered TJI joists.

Armstrong Residential Ceilings now has options to allow for the same protection on ceilings. The assembly consists of a fire rated main beam, standard cross tees and HumiGuard™ Plus or FireGuard™ panel (ceilings and grids specially formulated to provide enhanced resistance against structural failure.)

“It’s important for us to be able to provide not only quality products, but products that we know will perform during crisis situations like a fire,” says Mack Maguire, retail sales manager, Armstrong Residential Ceilings.

While the IRC is a national code adopted by individual states including Pennsylvania and Ohio, Maguire counsels that it’s advisable for contractors to become familiar with the requirements of the code and the impact it could have on the interior ceiling finishes during construction.

In a fire test, the plywood floor/ceiling assembly started to deflect at 12 minutes and 30 seconds into the test and collapsed at 14 minutes and 47 seconds. The protective ceiling membrane is designed to provide additional thermal protection to the construction. For example, at 12 minutes in a catastrophic fire scenario, like the one created in a test chamber, the residents of a home are in complete danger, and they should be out of the building at the first indication of a fire. “What our ceiling provides is an additional seven minutes of protection to the structural integrity of the building. This, in turn, may help the fire fighters save the house from a complete loss, while providing additional safety for the fire fighters,” explains Maguire.

In addition to the added fire protection, there are other benefits. The ceiling solution provides easy access to pipes, ductwork and wiring. The Armstrong assembly also performs better than drywall and plywood as shown in the test. Select Armstrong residential ceilings also are sag, mildew, bacteria and mold resistant.

In addition, all HumiGuard Plus and FireGuard ceilings are classified as CLASS A flame and smoke performance per ASTM E1264/ASTM E84 and the International Residential Code.

Section R501.3 of the 2012 IRC is being adopted throughout the U.S. Armstrong has an engineering report available through its TechLine that provides testing and performance information, which can be submitted to local code officials for approval. For more information or to find out if the code is being implemented in a specific state, visit

About Armstrong World Industries

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors and ceilings. Based in Lancaster, Pa., Armstrong operates 34 plants in eight countries and has approximately 8,700 employees worldwide. For more information, visit


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