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Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 06:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Anyone wish to share any success/war stories with Mineral Fiber, Gypsum or Portland Cement SFRM's. Talking to the product rep's, they always seem to have war stories of the other guys product. Not sure who I believe anymore.

Specifically, I'm talking about 15 pcf density.

Mineral fiber supposedly flakes off easily when impacted, but I've heard gypsum based products popcorn and blister when wet or humid. Sprayed fiber is supposed to harden when wetted, and actually is instructed to do so at application to harden it's shell. Gypsum supposedly is more impact resistant as it's shell hardens. Mineral fiber can be applied prior to closing in of building. Then there is the issue of wet spray or dry spray.

But, portland cement based SFRM's are more expensive, and no need to go with medium density for concealed applications. Except, impact and moisture problems during construction.

I'm soooo confused!
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 08:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I cannot find SFRM in MasterFormat. Is "SF" for structrual fiber or split face?

In amy case, 15 pcf is awfully light for reinforced masonry.
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 08:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Sprayed Fire-Resistive Materials
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 59
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 09:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


But no longerr called that. See 07 81 00 - Applied Fireproofing.

(Not sure why they changed the name)
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 112
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 10:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Maybe because nobody knew what SFRM meant.

That's easy for me to say now that I'm a MIA oops that's MAI or is that MAI-TAI I forget
Lynn Javoroski
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 213
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 11:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Marc, Parts of you ARE MIA - but I think most of you is here most of the time. (grin)
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 11:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Okay, Anon No. 1 here again. Let me rephrase:

SFRM = Spray-applied Fire Resistive Materials

07 81 16 Cementitious Fireproofing: two types fall into this category, gypsum based and portland cement based.

07 81 29 Mineral-fiber Cementitious Fireproofing: this is the rock wool fireproofing with a portland cement binder (about 20 percent).

15 pcf refers to the density, which is a commercial density, usually used in concealed interior conditions. Comes in a dry mix (mineral fiber) and wet mix (cementitious). Both are sprayed. The wet mix is mixed with water which is then sprayed, the dry mix is mixed with water during application. The dry mix then gets a second coating of water to “seal’ or densify the exterior.

Medium density is usually used in non-concealed interior conditions and indirect weather conditions, like mechanical rooms and parking garages. Medium density is wet mixed.

Can anyone help me understand the performance differences between mineral fiber and cementitious sprayed fireproofing?

I'm not wanting to use any manufacturers names. I am currently in heated conversations with several, thus the anonymity.
Colin Gilboy
Senior Member
Username: colin

Post Number: 173
Registered: 05-2000
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 11:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

SFRM was a term developed by UL so they could group all the products (cementitous and fiber) in one category.
Jo Drummond, FCSI
Senior Member
Username: jo_drummond

Post Number: 13
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 07:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

As a spec consultant, unless I am directed otherwise by the architect, I always specify cementitious sprayed fireproofing. I realize it costs more, but my 8 years in property management showed me what happens to things above the ceiing after the building is finished. Sure the mineral fiber stuff can be perfect on the day of final inspection. Two years later the owner, with maintenance crews of little understanding of the basics, go into the ceiling space to move some ducts around, or add a few new light fixtures. With the cementitious material, they have to scrape vigorously to get it off the beams or columns, so they don't remove more than they absolutely have to. With the fibrous material, a swipe with a trowel will take great quantities off. Needless to say they don't put it back in either case After 20 years doing this all over the building, substantial protection can be lost.
As an aside, there are 2 high rise buildings in Los Angeles, where I live, that are standing today because the fires in them didn't damage the structure significantly because they were protected with cementitious fireproofing.
No, I'm not an employee of WR Grace, but I think in this case, that their material is superior and I specify it every time.
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 108
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 07:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

All SFRM manufacturers offer wet mix (cementitious) 15 pcf installed density SFRM with comparable in-field characteristics. A single manufacturer also offers dry mix (mineral fiber) SFRM with published test characteristics that are comparable to the published characteristics of the available wet mix (cementitious) products.

The specifiers' challenges are a result of the differing in-field work results achieved when using the different products, and from common specification enforcement issues. In our experience in the southeast, applicators sometimes take advantage of the pneumatic delivery method for the mineral fiber product, "fluffing" the product to achieve required thicknesses at lower densities, thereby failing to provide adequate protection while saving on materials. This practice, coupled with the failure to prime the substrates, compact the sprayed fibrous material in place, and overcoat the material, leads to inferior installations that A) fall off with the first re-roofing of the building or B) remain excessively friable and subject to damage by slight contact from workers during construction or occupancy. Installed properly, the fibrous material may be suitable for certain applications. But a rigorous field QC effort is called for, as well as a conscientious subcontractor, and we've had difficulty obtaining both on projects.

The other problem is a contracting environment problem: there is a pattern of applicators bringing strong pressure directly on general contractors and owners to approve substitution of mineral fiber application, often on projects where as design professionals we have strongly advised against its use. This has happened consistently on projects in our region, to the point that the request sometimes arrives a day after the substituted application has proceeded in the field. There are significant application and cleanup labor savings involved in using mineral fiber over cementitious material (in addition to the potential material savings noted above), and the pressure applied to GCs and owners is proportionate. A specifier needs high fluency in these materials and their properties in order to be successful in enforcing the specification. The installing subcontractors are skilled in substitution tactics, and some appear to obtain substantial support in their efforts from the supply network.

A third issue: study the UL designs carefully. There are some SFRM assemblies in the Manual that are tested at reduced structural member loadings; don't assume that your structural engineer is aware of this issue.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Intermediate Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 4
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

From the point of view of a structureal engineer, the architect traditionally specifies the fire protection system. We design the beams with an allowance for the weight of the the fireproofing. At the time we are designing the steel members we are not aware of the specific UL system that will be selected.

My recommendation is to specify only systems that allow the steel members to be designed for the full allowables allowed by code. If this is not possible let your engineer know early in the schematic design process, since the steel tonage will be higher and your construction budget will need to be higher. If the engineer is told late in the process he will have to re-design many members and will not be happy unless you pay for the redesign.
Richard L Matteo, AIA, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: rlmat

Post Number: 98
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - 11:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Most of the 15 pcf fireproofing is gypsum based and should only be used in concealed spaces.
If it will be subject to impact, a top coat should be applied or higher density product used.
I generally prefer the portland cement based products for anything over 15 pcf.
Both W.R. Grace and Carboline make portland cement based products at the higher densities.
Isolatek/Cafco has a Cafco 300 15 pcf product, but as far as I know, their 400 & 800 products are still gypsum based.
As for mineral fiber products such as Cafco Blaze-Shield II - I was told by one of the principals of the firm I worked for in Connecticut that he never wanted to see it on any of our buildings ever again!
I haven't specified it in any firm I've worked for since & will not.

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