Use of Gypsum as Building Material
The article appearing on page 1059 of this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING deals with the important matter of building material from a Fire Prevention standpoint. There are many such materials now in use, including asbestos, concrete and that which this article treats of, namely gypsum. Naturally, especially at this time when the housing problem throughout the country is so acute, owing to the cessation to a large extent of all building operations during the war, the material used to the greatest extent, especially in the construction of dwellings, is lumber. On the other hand, industrial construction tends very largely toward the use of fire resistant materials, and even where lumber is used the tendency is increasing more and more to adopt some means of insuring this combustible material from rapid destruction. In this connection, gypsum lends itself to many very valuable uses. The reference in the article by Mr. Marani to the “essential ten minutes” emphasizes this fact very strongly. As the writer puts it, since these types of frame construction are probably with us to stay many years, at least until the cost of fire proofing construction is materially reduced, the use of material which will insure to the fire department the “essential ten minutes” by reducing the tendency to rapid combustion will be of inestimable value. Any material which insures this comparatively slow combustion will enable the fire department to be upon the ground in time to prevent the spread of an incipient blaze, and thus insure the control of many fires which otherwise would cause heavy damage. Gypsum is eminently such a material, and its various uses as set forth in the article by Mr. Marani, as, for instance, in the use of gypsum plaster board over lightweight metal lath, or even covering the combustible wood lath; in stopping concealed air spaces; in non-combustible roofing and in the use of gypsum plaster board in place of wood sheathing and behind clapboard or siding. These uses and others illustrate the many advantages of gypsum as a fire retardant and fire resistant material.