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Finding ceiling tile that is fire rated

Q. Our country home has no water, gas, or electricity. It is heated only by a wood stove. We have unsuccessfully tried to find fire-rated ceiling tile, either staple or glue type. We cannot use the type made for a drop ceiling. Any suggestions? Bob and Helma Orr Palisade, N.J.

A. The average building material or supply firm carries only nonrated ceiling tile. School, church, commercial, industrial, and public building codes generally require fire-rated ceiling tile. Thus, you will need to contact a commercial tile distributor or subcontractor for fire-rated material.

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Check the Yellow Pages under "acoustical contractor" and "acoustical materials" for a source of fire-rated commercial ceiling tile.

So-called acoustical tile is available in several sizes, thicknesses, design, and fire ratings. They can be fastened with staples or glue and, subject to the fire resistance of the underlayment, are reasonably fire retardant.

There are fire-retardant paints which may be worth considering as well.

Ask your local Mr. Paint about them and be prepared for a shock when he tells you their costs. Such paints, while useful, may not compare with a one-hour, fire-rated solid material.

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