Some of you might not know that such a thing as fire retardant paint exists. There are different types of paint with different levels and methods of protection. They are not normally used in domestic settings however maybe they should be. If you are panting a public space or a business one you should probably consider using a fire retardant paint – certainly in key escape routes. We’ll be providing a summary below to better explain the fundamental differences and the benefits of these paints.
British Safety Standards
The British BS 476 safety standard is a regulation that sets out the rules to follow as it relates to building structures and the materials used within them. There are different classifications for the regulations which relate to paint.
The Class 1 is a paint coating that ensures zero spread of a fire. With Class 0, the surface areas are expected to have a limited ability to catch fire; used in high-risk places like access corridors and escape routes out of the building. There is another classification which is known as “fire resistance” which ensures that fire won’t spread for 30 minutes in the hope it will be enough time to evacuate everyone from the building.
There are two main paint types that resist fire propagation to a lesser or greater extent. There are fire retardant paints and fire-resistant ones otherwise known as intumescent paint. There are also separate sprays and varnishes that may be applied over paint to provide additional benefits.
Fire Retardant Paints
The fire-retardant paints are the strongest ones. The product is intended to prevent fire from spreading and in many cases, to put the flame out altogether. The fire suppression technology is achieved by a gas release that happens when the paint heats up. These paints must pass BS 476, part 7, one of the British safety standards. Public areas in restrooms, hotels and other common areas often use this type of paint.
Intumescent paint doesn’t function the same way. Instead of releasing a gas, when the heat reaches a set level, the paint will burn and create a bubble over the exposed area to protect it. The idea is that a nearby wall that’s close to the fire but not actually on fire yet reacts to the growing heat level nearby and forms a protective shell over the walls. By doing so, the walls are protected and far less likely to catch fire too.
What Can the Paint Be Applied On?
Fire retardant paint may be applied to wood, MDF, chipboard, soft & hardwood, stone and brickwork, metal, plaster, and concrete. It is used on unpainted surfaces, pre-stained, already painted and varnished surfaces without difficulty.
Other Protections for Wood
For wood, it’s a good idea to apply a reactive paint as an initial layer of protection. After this is complete, a flame retardant paint can be applied with one litre of paint covering 6-10 square metres. The selected paint finish doesn’t affect its protective qualities. When using clear coatings, there are intumescent varnishes that offer fireproof benefits. These are applied liberally with one litre being used on 6 ½ square meters.
It is highly recommended that you personally check the suggested proper treatment with each protective layer solution and flame retardant/resistant paint or clear varnish. Formulations can change with individual product lines, so verifying the current correct application method is sensible in order to apply the coats correctly for maximum protection from fire.