May 2016

Eliminating Gray Areas In Head-Of-Wall Details

Pat Grotlisch and Scott Hughes

What is the fire rating for a head-of-wall detail where a wall intersects a floor-ceiling assembly? There is not a UL rating for that. How do you protect joints in or between fire-resistance-rated assemblies, where the floor or roof sheathing, slab or deck above did not have a fire-resistance rating? Sometimes it can be challenging to obtain the fire rating for a head-of-wall detail, and local codes and requirements are not always clear.

National Gypsum Company is a leader in fire testing floor-ceiling and roof-ceiling assemblies, and because of our affiliation with NGC Testing Services, we can provide answers quickly. In addition to fire testing standard 10’x10’ wall or 14’x18’ floor-ceiling assemblies, we also fire test the non-standard details. We can fire test nearly everything, and we address how to protect both dynamic and static head-of-wall joint systems.

Rather than rely solely on engineering or best practices, you can find all the fire-tested answers you need in The PURPLE Book™. It will become your go-to technical guide for fireproofing standard and non-standard details. For your copy of this comprehensive resource, contact your construction design manager and he or she will deliver one to your office. More importantly, he or she will meet with you to explain how you can most effectively use this commercial construction guide. You will not find another book like this in the field or from any other building manufacturer.

Call us today to get your copy, and help alleviate some of the pain associated with those gray areas of fireproofing head-of-wall details. As always, we are here to help you design and build better.

"When I meet with architects throughout the Western U.S., The Purple Book is exceptionally well received as a valuable technical resource. I review the contents of the book at Lunch ’N Learn presentations, and several architects invariably request a personal copy. The Purple Book is also available in a digital format on the National Gypsum website and on our new online Design Center page. The digital versions include hyperlinks to the UL fire designs for walls and head-of-walls. The Purple Book also includes details for steel stud partitions, shaftwall assemblies, rated corridors, floor-ceilings, steel columns and steel beam assemblies as well as penetrations through rated wall and floor assemblies, UL core-type designations and STC numbers for rated
common walls.

Since I live in California, I emphasize that the book, which was developed for OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development), addresses real world issues “that keep architects up at night” and provides a systems approach to fire ratings. For example, in addition to the wall detail, it illustrates how to build stair enclosures, elevator enclosures, corridors, corners, intersections and transitions between walls with different fire ratings.

I think The Purple Book is one of the most valuable resources produced by the gypsum industry in a while. As I review the book with architects, it’s gratifying when they show me details that they have struggled with on their projects. I have received feedback from many architects that The Purple Book remains on their desk for reference purposes."
- Pat Grotlisch

"If a product representative wants to bring value to his or her clients at every meeting, he or she must have the knowledge and resources to help them do their jobs better. I like to ask the folks I meet with what I (and National Gypsum Company) can do to make their jobs easier. Most of the answers I get are actually questions. You need information. Every project has a unique condition, where proper detailing becomes an issue. That’s where National Gypsum Company stands out. Our Technical Department is one of the best in the industry. We pride ourselves in providing the architectural community with the tools they need. Flip through The Purple Book and click other resources available on our website, and you will see what I mean."
- Scott Hughes

Product Overview

Fireproof Your Assemblies

We have all the products you need to help fireproof your assemblies. For interior, fire-rated wall and ceiling applications, use Gold Bond® brand Fire-Shield® Gypsum Board or Gold Bond® brand High Strength Fire-Shield® LITE® Gypsum Board. For added resistance to mold, mildew and moisture, Gold Bond® brand XP® Fire-Shield® Gypsum Board is a good option. To reduce material and installation labor for wall partitions and shaftwall assemblies, specify Gold Bond® brand ¾” Ultra-Shield FS®. There are too many excellent choices to highlight here. Please ask your construction design manager for assistance, and he or she will help you choose the best products for your projects.

Project Profile

Major Grocer Builds Sustainable Customer Support Center


Food Lion Customer Support Center, Salisbury, North Carolina
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
Silver Certification

Founded in 1957, Food Lion is now one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States, with stores throughout 11 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Constructed in an old warehouse, Food Lion’s Customer Support Center includes office space, a cafeteria and an auditorium. This center reduces energy loss by up to 50 percent and saves up to 70 percent of typical water consumption.

Read More About The Project

Continuing Education

Have you completed any continuing education credits for the year? If not, consider taking one of these online courses this month:

Gypsum Board: Beyond Recycled Content
Abuse and Impact Resistant Gypsum: Stronger and Safer Walls


PURPLE® Walls Are Ready For Life

PURPLE® high-performance gypsum products can help reduce noise, handle impact and abuse, and resist mold and moisture.

Watch Video


Amy Hockett
National Marketing Manager, Architectural Services & Sustainability

Pat Grotlisch

Frank Fuller

Alan Zeedyk
Gulf / Southeast

Thad Goodman
Central / Midwest

Scott Hughes
Northeast / Atlantic

Trang Schwartz
Architectural Specialist