Home>Discussions>HEALTH & SAFETY>Can I remove this? bricks above beam
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Rekonn
Can I remove this? bricks above beam

In my basement ceiling, but only above the support beams, I have what looks like grey bricks mortared in between the joists. Maybe it's plaster? I can break a chunk off and crumble it further in my hands. I see home hair in it too.

What function do they serve? Insulation? Fireblocking?

Can I take it out? I'd like to eventually run new pipes and wiring through there.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

In a balloon-framed house, the brick is the very-necessary fireblock,and it stops rats from entering the wall cavities as well.;)
Casey

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

I have also seen similar use to seal off a coal room.

Jack

Rekonn
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

Alright, I don't know what balloon framing is, but I'll take your word for it. :) The house was built in 1928 if that helps to confirm.

Ok, so the brick/plaster fireblock is necessary. But, I can knock it out, run some pipes/wires, and then put it back, right? I'm thinking just reuse the bricks, and then something else that'll do the job the plaster is doing now. I was initially thinking Great Stuff Fireblock foam, but the reviews on amazon are bad. Reviews say it burns just like regular foam, just colored orange. One review said it didn't pass inspection and he had to rip it out and replace with something called intumescent caulk. What do you guys recommend?

lizardskin
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam
Rekonn wrote:

Alright, I don't know what balloon framing is, but I'll take your word for it. :) The house was built in 1928 if that helps to confirm.

Ok, so the brick/plaster fireblock is necessary. But, I can knock it out, run some pipes/wires, and then put it back, right? I'm thinking just reuse the bricks, and then something else that'll do the job the plaster is doing now. I was initially thinking Great Stuff Fireblock foam, but the reviews on amazon are bad. Reviews say it burns just like regular foam, just colored orange. One review said it didn't pass inspection and he had to rip it out and replace with something called intumescent caulk. What do you guys recommend?

Balloon framing is how walls were built in older homes where the vertical studs are longer and run from the foundation up all the way to the top of the house. This makes a continuous cavity where smoke/fire in the basement can get all the way up to the attic almost instantly if you don't have a fire block at the bottom.

The Great Stuff Fireblock foam is not "fire-rated", it is just rated for a lower "flame spread rating" if I recall correctly. Basically, the surface of the foam is more fire-retardant and harder to ignite, but in an actual fire scenario it will burn through just as quickly as the ordinary foam. Depending on local codes and type of building, etc, the fire-block may be required in your home or not but it's probably a good idea to maintain either way.

I can't tell too much from the picture but assuming it truly is there just as fire-stopping, you should be able to run your pipes and then re-install a fire-stop.

Intumescent caulk is an actual "fire-rated" caulk material. It's not like the foam for filling large gaps though, it's just meant for the smaller (1/2" or so) gaps around pipes/wires etc.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

You can also replace these with 3" of wood (2 layers of 2 by lumber) fitted tightly, as that also rates for fireblocking. Use the intumescent caulking around your new pipe and wire penetrations and you're good to go.

Phil

ericburns4
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

I think you shouldn't because its there for a reason and it will help you support your wall for longer plus and it make difficult for any other reptiles to crawl or make a hole in it .

nobbobby
Re: Can I remove this? bricks above beam

of course not, dont remove i think

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