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Advice Centre

Pipe Collar or Pipe Wrap – which do I use?

Intumescent pipe collars and intumescent pipe wraps essentially do the same job – they protect service penetrations, typically plastic pipes, at the point where they go through a fire compartment wall or floor.  They both will achieve up to 4 hours’ fire rating.

So what’s the difference?

A pipe collar can be fitted in nearly all applications, and is extremely universal.  The metal ‘band’ round the outside of the collar means when the intumescent material starts to expand with the heat of the fire, it is unable to expand outwards.  It exerts tremendous pressure on the plastic pipe and literally crushes it inwards, and completely seals the hole.  The fire is unable to pass through the impenetrable barrier of the activated intumescent material.

2 HOUR PIPE COLLAR (MED)##2

A pipe wrap achieves the same end result, but it has no band around it.  Thus it needs to be inserted within a solid construction masonry wall so that the intumescent can only expand inwards and seal the hole.  If you just fit the wrap around the pipe and leave it ‘in the open’ the intumescent will simply expand into thin air and achieve nothing.

2Hr-Pipe-Wrap-2

Plasterboard partitions are a typical example of where you must use a pipe collar – a wrap will not work at all.  Pipe collars must also be used in plaster/timber ceilings and floors.

So why not just use pipe collars for all applications?  Well, you can indeed, but pipe wraps have some trump cards to play!  For a start, they are considerably cheaper to buy.  They are also pretty much invisible when installed carefully.  A pipe collar, by comparison, is extremely visible (although some argue this is a good thing).  And don’t forget that if a pipe is fitted nice and tight to a wall, you often can’t physically get a pipe collar round the pipe, so a wrap can be used instead.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if the fire protection is being retro fitted, that is that the plastic pipes are already in place, it’s often easier to install pipe collars as it’s extremely difficult to open up the hole in the masonry big enough to slide a wrap in.

There’s no hard and fast rules, and the multitude of possible applications makes it quite complicated.  If you’re stuck why not give our technical helpline a call on 029 2086 8333.

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