Of all possible construction systems, masonry offers the utmost protection against fire. Masonry materials—brick, concrete block, stone, mortar, grout and tile—don’t burn, and therefore don’t contribute fuel to a fire. Masonry maintains its structural integrity at high temperatures, and heat transfers slowly through its mass. Depending on its configuration, a masonry wall can remain intact and contain a fire burning on one side for two, three, four hours or even longer.
These characteristics make masonry the ideal choice for fire-rated walls required by building codes to separate units within buildings. Such walls offer passive fire protection; once constructed, they typically require no ongoing maintenance or testing. Used in combination with active fire protection systems such as smoke detectors, temperature sensors and sprinklers, masonry fire walls provide the highest level of fire safety for buildings and occupants.