Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Firewalls are Less Exciting Than They Sound

During the home inspection, my house lost points for having gaps in the firewall between the garage and main house.  The inspector told me to just fill the gaps with fireproof caulk.  It sounded like an easy enough job.  So I warmed up my caulking iron and bought the first tube of caulk I saw with "fireproof" on the label.

The step I skipped: asking what a firewall is.

Apparently there is a general worry about fires starting in the garage, then spreading to the main house.  I'm not sure if this is because the car lives in the garage and fire makes the car go, or because people store chemicals in their garage. Quick Googling reveals that having extra-thick drywall between the garage and house is a fire safety feature.  Drywall burns slowly enough that it slows fire's spread.  Gaps in the firewall allow fire to jump past the slow-burning materials.  So I assume the inspector was referring to the drywall as a firewall.

I didn't see any gaps in the drywall, so I caulked up a loose board below the door to the house.  The bright blue caulk did a fair job adhering the board to the... is it a wall?  Base-board?  I don't know what it was, but I glued the board to it.

On what should be an unrelated note, my friends have been very understanding about not wearing shoes on my carpet.  Even the five-year-old.  So the next day, when I noticed several bright blue footsteps in my carpet, I knew I had only myself to blame.  I had trod the most annoyingly bright caulk ever into the house.

At least it's fireproof.

Still more frustrating, the caulk isn't curing like I assumed.  After nearly a month, it's still slightly tacky.  This means A) I'm going to track caulk into the house again someday soon, and B) paint won't stick to it properly.  I cross the blue line of shame twice daily.

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