3.1102.1 Wall Penetration Sealing

Multifamily Walls
Desired Outcome: 
Wall penetrations sealed to prevent air leakage, moisture movement, pest migration, sound and/or odor transmission, and spread of fire through the wall
For supporting material, see Referenced Standards.

Conduct pre-inspection in accordance with SWS 2.0100.4 Work Area Inspection and Stabilization

Gaps, cracks, and holes in fire separations located within the work area will be visually identified and incorporated into air sealing work scope, including those that span two conditioned or unconditioned spaces

Where drawings are available that identify specific fire-resistance ratings (i.e., 1 hour, 2 hour), materials and methods will be employed to preserve or restore such rating

Where drawings are unavailable or do not identify specific fire-resistance ratings, the fire-resistance rating of the assembly may be inferred from the current construction (i.e., single 5/8 sheetrock, concrete masonry unit (CMU), and materials and methods employed will be consistent with restoring or preserving such inferred fire resistance rating

Penetration locations will be identified to determine hole size and fire rating

Ensure a durable, continuous air barrier Air barrier The separation between the interior and exterior environments of a building that slows air flow to the point that no smoke movement is visible at 50 pascals of pressure difference across the boundary and a fire-rated assembly, where appropriate

Backing and infill

Where gaps, cracks, or holes are larger than 1/4" across and/or where the air sealing materials will be subject to temperature variations in excess of 50° F, the need for backing or infill will be evaluated

If used, backing or infill will meet specific characteristics of the fire-resistance-rated assembly and be compatible with the characteristics of the gap, crack, or hole, including preservation of any expansion/contraction characteristics for assembly (e.g., expansion joints, steam pipes, or dissimilar material interfaces with differing coefficients of expansion)

Backing or infill will be selected that maintains sealant placement and durability while allowing for the expected movement from expansion, contraction, load deflection, settling at the location, or if existing water control measures are compromised (e.g., rain screen, drip edge, weep holes, gutter and roof drains, scuppers, or other exterior water management elements)

Minimize gap or hole size to ensure successful use of sealant

Ensure closure is durable, pest resistant, weather appropriate, and supports appropriate load (e.g., wind, snow, insulation)

Ensure sealant does not fall out

Ensure integrity of the existing water control system

Sealant selection

Sealants will be compatible with their intended surfaces and applied in accordance with manufacturer specifications

Selection will be durable, pest resistant, and have a weather-appropriate seal

Indoor sealants will be low volatile organic compound ( VOC VOC Volatile organic compound ) products that meet independent testing and verification protocols, such as Green Seal GS-36, "GREENGUARD Children and Schools," or comparable certifications

Fire-resistance-rated assemblies will be provided with sealants permitted by the authority having jurisdiction and adopted building code

Prevent intrusion of moisture and pests into the sealed assembly

Prevent exposing workers or occupants to excessive VOC VOC Volatile organic compound levels

Ensure sealant meets or exceeds the performance characteristics of the assembly and is compliant with local fire code requirements

High-temperature application

Only noncombustible sealant will be used in contact with chimneys, vents and flues, or any heat source (e.g. non- IC IC Insulation contact -rated recessed lights, heat lamps, etc.)

Provide airtight, durable seal that does not move, bend, sag, or combust

Prevent a fire hazard

Penetration seal

Continuous seal will be installed around seams, cracks, joints, edges, and penetrations

When a penetration goes all the way through a wall, both sides will be sealed

In a hollow core CMU wall, the penetration at the inner wall surface and the exterior wall surface will be sealed, but not compromise existing water control measures (e.g., rain screen, drip edge, weep holes, gutter, and roof drains)

Provide airtight, durable seal that does not move, bend, or sag

Maintain integrity of the existing water control system