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Thread: Sparkproofing/ fire retarding a wooden shop?

  1. #1
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    Sparkproofing/ fire retarding a wooden shop?

    My family shop is an old chicken house, it has cement floors and corrugated aluminum ceiling and plywood over fiberglass insulation for the walls. It is pole building construction. I have a metal shop/welding area in 1 section of the wood shop. I want to move the metal/welding stuff over on the other side of the wall so its not in the woodshop. My Dad has a concern that a stray spark could catch the place on fire, this is a valid concern. My thoughts are: right now the we are making sparks where there is wood dust (I try keep the dust cleaned up when I'm making sparks) and we haven't had a problem yet. Moving the metal stuff in its own area would be better since there won't be wood dust all over so it would be an improvement. I was planning on sheeting corrugated aluminum over the plywood to further sparkproof the walls, at least in the areas where grinding/welding is being done. His concern is that a spark could get under the sheeting and cause a fire. How do you guys that have metal working stuff in your buildings take care of this? Pictures would be great.

  2. #2
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    I don't have a welding shop, but what about just putting up drywall? It won't catch fire from the sparks.

    Another thought would be cement board - the stuff they put under tiles in bathrooms. It's fiberglass reinforced cement, so it oughtta work well for your purposes.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    You can try putting fiberglass insulation under the corrugated aluminum to fill any voids.

  4. #4
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    Dbl layer of 5/8 drywall is firecode here. Tape and mud, one coat on first layer and finish out second layer.

    oh yea, stagger the seams also.

  5. #5
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    If the concern is to just protect from sparks, a single layer of drywall would work. The double layers Steve mentioned allow the wall to withstand direct flames for a specific length of time (a 1 hour rating is common, as I recall).
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
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    I have a decent amount of aluminum sheeting laying around, the kind used for exteriors of pole buildings. Do you think that a layer of that over plywood would work fine. I could silicon caulk the crack at the top and bottom of the I always thought that drywall would catch fire but not burn through the wall because of the paper facing on the drywall. Is this right?

  7. #7
    5/8" drywall is used as a fire barrier. If you want a 1 hr rating its one layer and a 2 hr rating is 2 layers with the joints staggered by at least 12".

    Usually when I weld in my shop I give atleast an hour after I finish to close and lock up. No more fumes or smoke present and I do a walk thru just to make sure.

  8. #8
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    I think I will use drywall and put corrugated aluminum over it in places where there will be chances of the wall getting beat up. For fun I took a small piece of drywall and set it right behind the wheel of the 14" metal chop saw and cut through 1.25" round stock. When I was done there was about 3/8" thick mound of red hot, glowing metal grindings stuck on the drywall. The paper on the drywall didn't even catch fire. I suppose thats the point, but I always thought that the paper would burn.

  9. #9
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    Dave, when my dad sold his gas station in 1981, he sold only the property, building with furnace. We moved everything out, frame hoist, drive on hoist, tire changer, work benches, etc. He put a divider wall in the barn at home, pole barn construction building, it had a junk partial concrete floor from an old building we removed and built over the pad. Anyway, we put in insulation, then covered with the same type of metal that was on the outside, then poured the floor. Right up to and against the metal wall. Problem solved of a stray spark getting under/around the corrugation. I am planning on building within two years (get the second wedding completed this fall for this year! ) then I can start saving money and stuff for that project. I plan on doing a lot of welding, cutting, forge work, so this is how I plan on doing my wall also for fire protection. So for an existing situation, run the metal to the floor, then maybe just pour a lip or a curb so it is fireproof. I know drywall is firerated, but man, a lot of drywalled houses burn every day.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  10. #10
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    Just one other point ...aluminum burns. Just ask the British what happened to their ships in the Falklands islands conflict when they got hit by missiles. It was not only the misile damage but the aluminum structure that burns on its own.
    cheers

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