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Plywood Head Walls

by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jun 19, 2020 1:00:21 AM

Q: Are headwalls made out of plywood consider an interior wall finish? Do these headwalls need to be constructed from flame-retardant plywood?

A: I don’t know what you mean when you say ‘headwalls’, but plywood attached to the gypsum covered walls in a healthcare occupancy is considered an interior finish. The LSC allows Class A and Class B interior finish in rooms of healthcare occupancies.

  • Class A interior finish is material having a 0 - 25 flame spread rating.
  • Class B interior finish is material having a 26 – 75 flame spread rating.
  • Class C interior finish is material having a 76 – 200 flame spread rating.

Plywood typically has a flame spread rating around 150 or so… some are less and some are more. So, on the first take, you would think plywood would not be permitted on walls of rooms in healthcare occupancies since it is a Class C interior finish.

But wait - Section 10.2.8.1 of the 2012 LSC says if the room is protected with sprinklers, then Class C materials are permitted where Class B materials are required. So, if the room where the plywood is attached to the gypsum covered wall is sprinklered, then you should be fine. There is no requirement for the plywood to be fire-resistant-rated.

Topics:Interior Finish

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