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A Guide to Fire Retardant & Fire Resistant Paints

July 28, 2017 | Written by: Gary Bizek

Calgary commercial calgary

There is a growing trend in both residential and commercial settings to use fire retardant paints. Such paint can be used in small building projects or even in elaborate projects such as industrial spaces and public buildings. You may want to comply with the building regulations or ensure that your home or workplace becomes safer. Whatever your goal, there are clear advantages of using fire retardant paints.
Types of Paints
When it comes to paints meant to reduce the risks of spreading fire, there are two main types of paints. There is the fire resistant paint and then there is the fire retardant paint. The fire resistant paints are also referred to as intumescent paints. Even fire retardant sprays and varnishes are used in buildings.

Fire Retardant Paints: Fire retardant paints work by stopping fire from spreading over the surface. The paint releases a flame-dampening gas if it gets hot. They can be applied to a wide range of surfaces including walls, ceilings and floors. There are certain regulations for construction projects involving public buildings where the fire retardant paint should adhere to minimal standards.

Fire resistant paints: Fire resistant paints work in a different way. When the paint comes in contact with fire, it will get charred and swell up. This results in creation of an insulating layer that protects the underlying material against the heat. Fire resistant capacity of paint is usually measured in terms of minutes. This type of paint is commonly used on the following building materials:

  • Softwoods – cedar and larch
  • Hardwoods – oak, beech and ash
  • Chipboard
  • MDF
  • Plasterboard or plaster
  • Concrete
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Brick

Both types of paints can be used for interior and exterior applications involving doors, floors, decks, paneling, and cladding. Besides, these paints can be applied on different types of surfaces including unpainted, stained, varnished, already painted, and coated surfaces.

Types of Fire Retardant Paint Finishes
Fire retardant and resistant paints can be applied in a wide range of finishes. The common finishes include the following:

  • Gloss
  • White finish
  • Clear finish
  • Colored finish
  • Metallic
  • Matt
  • Eggshell
  • Silk

Paint Testing Standards
All paints undergo tests and are classified under different categories. The standards can vary from place to another, but the different classes have the following general characteristics:

  • Category 1: It can require that paint coating provides no spread of fire. It usually applies to walls and ceilings.
  • Category 0: Such paint coating should adhere to category 1 and still have very low ability to catch fire and combust. It usually applies to high-fire-risk areas. The goal is to ensure that the coating doesn’t increase the intensity or temperature of the fire, while also preventing the fire from spreading.

So whether you have a residential or commercial construction project, you should choose the right type of paint that provides optimal protection against fire hazard. Your contractor can help you make the right choice based on the potential risks involved.