Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I am in the market to purchase a newgate and surveillance system, but I am concerned about rust due to the high humidity here in Hawaii. Is there any special treatment I should consider or anything particular I should ask forwhen considering equipment formy area?
—Mike in Pearl City, Hawaii
A: Humidity can wreak havoc on metal, especially when it isn’t well-protected. Ask the security vendor you are considering if it uses any protective coatings on its products or, better yet, painted aluminum or stainless steel. Some vendors take weather and lightning protection very seriously and offer separate product lines catering to high-risk areas such as yours.
Q: I am running all my own conduit for the low-voltage security system I am installing and would like to knowif there are any laws or codes that require me to use fire caulking on penetrations through walls.Thanks for your help!
—Henry in Salem, Ore.
A: Fire caulking is usually only required when penetrating a firewall. A firewall is defined as any wall rated to prevent a fire from spreading. Most firewalls are rated in hours, meaning how many hours they will stand against a flame before being destroyed. Check with your local building department to find out what laws govern your area. However, it is a good idea to caulk all penetrations, especially exterior penetrations, if for no other reason than to keep out the elements and bugs.
Tony Gardner is a licensed contractor and installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit www.quikstor.com.