Fire protection is a top concern for any commercial or industrial property owner. Thousands of nonresidential fires occur each year resulting in serious injuries, loss of life, and billions in property damage. In this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of intumescent fireproof coatings.
What Are Intumescent FIreproof Coatings?
Intumescent coatings, often referred to as intumescent paints, are used in buildings as a passive fire resistance measure. Intumescent means “swelling.” When an intumescent coating is heated by flame, it swells into an insulating barrier to protect the material it covers from intense heat. Intumescent coatings are typically used as a finish on exposed structural steel or concrete. These coatings look like a thin layer of paint and are usually applied in several layers to create the thickness and level of protection required by local building codes.
Intumescent Fireproof Coatings Advantages
1. Stops or Slows the Spread of a Fire
The flame retardancy properties of intumescent coatings allows steel structures to retain their strength in the event of a fire. When properly applied, these coatings can significantly extend the time it takes for steelwork to reach critical failure temperatures. Fireproof coatings help ensure a building keeps its structural integrity in the event of a fire, allowing occupants time to escape, minimizing property damage, and protecting firefighters from harm.
2. Protects What’s Underneath
A layer of char is formed by an intumescent coating when it comes into contact with excessive heat from a fire. Char acts as insulation protecting the underlying surface from damage. This protection time can last anywhere from 30-120 minutes, depending on the intensity of the fire and the particular product in use. In many cases, the dry char foam can be scraped off and the surface cleaned and repainted, significantly reducing restoration costs after a fire.
3. Can Be Applied on Virtually Any Surface
Intumescent coatings are an ideal choice for commercial settings where combining safety and appearance is important. There are different finishes available and pigments can be added to provide the desired finish color. Because intumescent coatings resemble ordinary paint, they can be used to protect a variety of building materials including steel, concrete, wood, and gypsum. Intumescent coatings allow designers to obtain an aesthetically pleasing finish on exposed structural steel while providing fire protection.
4. Added Protection for Steel Structures
Buildings used for manufacturing, storage, and other industrial operations are exposed to harsh conditions on a daily basis. Steel construction requires protective coatings that are capable of handling and withstanding challenging environments. In addition to passive fire protection, intumescent coatings can help protect steel structures from corrosion, impact damage, and frequent temperature fluctuations.
5. Meets Building Code and Insurance Requirements
In the United States, both the International Building Codes (IBC) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) provide criteria for proper fire protection. Fireproof coatings are often required to meet local building code requirements and to qualify for insurance coverage. Most local building codes require a higher fire rating for commercial buildings than for residential structures. It's important to work with an experienced paint contractor who understands local building codes and regulations when applying fireproof coatings.
What Types of Facilities Need Fireproof Coatings?
Every commercial facility should have a fire protection system in place to help guard against disaster. Along with smoke detectors, alarm systems, sprinklers, and evacuation plans, fireproof coatings are an important component of a comprehensive fire protection system. Intumescent coatings are a great solution for warehouses, office buildings, industrial facilities, and any other building that needs fireproofing protection, especially where there is exposed structural steel.
Selecting a fireproof coating is a complex process. The coating must protect the steel from corrosion in its particular environment, be easy to apply and result in a high aesthetic finish. Most importantly, it must protect the underlying structure from heat and flames in the event of fire. Working with an experienced contractor is the best way to ensure your facility is protected with the right fireproof coating.
When You Need Fireproof Coatings, Hire the Pros
Unlike general paint applications, fireproofing is highly specialized and requires experience and the right products. Adam Roe Painting provides fireproofing services for industrial and commercial properties throughout Treasure Valley and the greater Boise area. Our professional technicians follow strict safety guidelines and will ensure your facility is properly protected.
In business since 1985, Adam Roe Painting provides the highest quality results and best customer service in the industry. We offer custom color matching, a residential exterior warranty of 5 years, and a one-year warranty on commercial and industrial projects. Contact us online or call (208) 306-4240 to discuss your project. We look forward to working with you.