Are fire hoods a practical solution?

Fire hoods are used with non-fire rated fittings, to restore the fire rating of a ceiling if a hole has been cut into it, (for example to make space for a recessed downlight).

You can find out more about this in our article do you need a fire-rated fitting?

Fire hoods can be a good retrofit option for non-fire rated fittings. This means you can have maximum choice in the style and range of light fittings you want to use in the project. In some cases, the desired light output might not be available in a fire-rated version, so a fire hood provides an alternative way to use this in a project.

On the downside, fire hoods are notoriously difficult to install. The hole cut out for the recessed downlight is often small, meaning the fire hood will need to be compressed to fit into the hole and then expanded out to provide the necessary coverage. This can be very fiddly and take a long time, especially in older properties where there might be debris in the ceiling void. As well as the small hole, joists, pipes, and cables can cause an issue with expanding the fire hood fully within the ceiling void. Because of this complexity in fitting fire hoods, their use will add additional time to the installation work. This will result in higher installation costs.

Alternatives are fireboxes or fire-rated fittings. Fireboxes are manually built boxes, normally made out of plasterboard. They form an enclosure in the ceiling and restore the fire barrier. This avoids having to squeeze a fire hood through a small hole but is more time-consuming in labour and materials. It also requires more planning before closing up the ceilings, since it is not possible to retrofit them.

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