The Importance of Fire Blocking Techniques and Products In Construction

The last thing that homeowners want or deserve from their contractor is short cuts taken in their home improvement project.  When doing any renovation around the home from installing a new door between your garage and your home, as in the picture above, or adding a new room onto an existing structure, the homeowner’s safety, now and in the future, is of utmost importance.

The need for for stopping or blocking

One safety issue we have found in many house’s that we have worked on is the lack of fire stopping or fire blocking with in the walls and door jams of homes.  Even though building codes and regulations state that fire blocking materials are included in construction, it is an all too often short cut that less than professional contractors take.  Talk with any firefighter and they will agree that this is a huge mistake.  Proper installation of fire blocks and fire blocking materials within walls and doorways is a property and life saver.

People have been seriously injured or lost their lives because of the lack of simple fire stopping blocks.  Fire stopping blocks are a simple component used in framing homes that when done correctly can help decrease the speed at which fire ravages your home, giving your family more time to escape.  This building technique is not as common in older homes, thus leading to a total loss of many older homes.

Modern day home construction

In modern day construction horizontal double 2×4’s can be seen on top of vertical studs to create a wall blocking system.  This helps to seal in the cavity and separate it from the one next to it which in turn works to prevent the rapid spread of fire throughout your home.

Without properly installed fire stop, the framing in your home can act like many mini chimneys throughout the home.  In older homes it was common to be able to drop an item from the homes attic only to have it shoot out on the basement floor moments later.  With out a barrier between the floors, flames are sucked up through the walls, acting very much like a chimney.

It may be hard to believe but the use of a single solid piece of wood at the top and bottom of the wall in between the studs can significantly reduce how fast fire spreads throughout the home.  If a fire does occur within the wall, the top block will help stop the fire from shooting upwards and into the home’s attic. Fire blocking at the intersections of joists and walls as well as sideways between floor and ceiling joists can literally save your family.

Materials used for fire blocking

Another material that can be used in construction and during renovations is known as Fireblock foam insulation and fire barrier caulk. When a hole is created within the home it is important that it is filled.  Not only will it help to prevent drafts, it also helps to stall fires from sneaking between the walls. Fireblock products should always be used when contractors are installing door jams or have created holes.  Plumbers, electricians, heating contractors, and even general contractors should all be well versed in the use of Fireblock products.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

How to find financial assistance for aging in place

An AARP survey found 71 percent of Americans in their 50s and early 60s want to stay where they are as they age, and the preference for “aging in place” jumps to 87 percent among people 65 and older.

Successful aging in place combines the comfort and stability of living at home with the kinds of safety and accessibility features found in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Some necessary modifications to the home can be easy — while others are much more involved and expensive.

Fortunately, financial help is available.

Prepping a home for aging in place

Popular accessibility modifications include adding grab bars and a shower seat in the master bathroom — which are relatively cheap and easy changes.

But more complicated work may be required when an older person needs a wheelchair or walker to get around. Doorways are often too narrow and kitchen countertops can be too high for a homeowner with serious mobility issues.

Widening doorways and lowering the height of kitchen counters (or raising the floor) can get quite costly. For example, in the kitchen it might be necessary to buy brand-new cabinets — possibly at a price of up to $20,000.

Installing a roll-in shower in a bathroom can cost as much as $10,000, says Homeability.com. Putting in a walk-in bathtub costs an average of $6,000, says Fixr.com

Programs that cover all or some of the costs

An older homeowner might decide the modifications aren’t worth the expense and hassle. For someone straining to get by on a fixed income and meager savings, the costs might seem out of the question.

But several government and private programs can help offset the cost of aging in place:

  • Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance generally won’t cover modifications to a home, though Medicare might pay for a walk-in tub or wheelchair ramp if either feature is deemed medically necessary.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program (at USDA.gov) offers grants so Americans 62 or older can make home repairs and improvements for the sake of health and safety.
  • At NCSHA.org, the National Council of State Housing Agencies has a list of state offices and organizations offering various types of support and assistance.
  • The U.S. Administration on Aging’s “Eldercare Locator” tool can help you find home repair and modification resources near you. All you have to do is plug in your ZIP code.
  • A nonprofit called ModestNeeds.org provides “self-sufficiency grants” to help Americans just above the poverty line cover unexpected expenses, such as a necessary home project.
  • Reverse mortgages, available from lenders, allow seniors to tap the equity in their homes to fund improvements.

Never assume that you can’t afford whatever alterations are needed to age in place, with all the dignity and comfort of remaining at home. Assistance is out there!

Original Source: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/caregiver/housing-choices/remaining-at-home/sd-he-sae-financial-assistance-20181022-story.html

Original Author: Doug Whiteman

Original Date: Oct 22 2018