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A fire could destroy your home and even take away your life or that of your loved ones. Why take the risk? For me, treating my home with fire retardant paint is an essential part of protecting my family, our possessions and the very roof over our heads.
However, while it’s relatively simple to do so and the results are impressive, not many homeowners are fully aware of the advantages of using fire retardant paint.
I decided to write this article to answer your questions on the topic; specifically, how does fire retardant paint work and how best to use it?
I’ll also go over what qualifies as fire-retardant paint, what you need to look out for when purchasing and what the different British Fire Regulation Standards mean.
What is Fire Retardant Paint?
Fire retardant paint is a special type of coating that will protect your home, garage or workplace in the event of a fire.
It can delay the spread of flames, as well as protecting your building’s structural integrity. Most importantly, this can give you valuable extra time to get out, as well as stopping severe damage from occurring before the arrival of the emergency services.
You may also hear the term ‘intumescent paint’ which can be used interchangeably with fire retardant paint. These paints are available in a range of finishes, for example, you could choose from coloured or transparent products, with either a gloss or matt finish.
You can also find appropriate types of fire retardant paint for most building materials including wood, steel and plaster.
How Does Fire Retardant Paint Work?
When a fire breaks out, the intense heat activates your fire retardant paint, resulting in a catalytic reaction. This causes your fire retardant paint to swell, creating an insulating foam layer.
The foam can be 50 times the paint thickness and will protect your wall, beam or frame from the fire, thus securing your building’s structural integrity.
Fire retardant paint will also delay the spread of the fire, which could make it easier to extinguish and potentially save your home. Afterwards, more of your possessions may survive intact and your home may suffer less damage, saving you stress, time and money.
To give you an idea of how treating your building with fire retardant paint can help to reduce damage and give you extra time to get escape, I recommend you watch the video below demonstrating the difference between treated and non-treated home construction material.
What to Look for When Choosing Your Fire Retardant Paint
When you are purchasing fire retardant paint, there are several things which I recommend you keep an eye out for, especially concerning fire regulation standard compliance and certification.
Material and Finish
First of all, you need to select a fire retardant paint that is suitable for the material that you are looking to protect. It could be a steel frame, a wooden ceiling or painted walls. As looks are important too, see what finishes are available for your selected product.
If you are simply looking for a white finish for your interior walls and ceilings, then I thoroughly recommend Thermoguard Flame Retardant Top Coat.
- Flame and Fire Retardant Topcoat Paint
- Can be used direct to bare or sound previously painted non-combustible substrates
- Please refer to the official manufacturer's website (Thermoguard) for fire certification
- Can be applied by brush, roller or spray
- Topcoat finish to complete Thermoguard Thermocoat W systems
Not only is it simple to apply, but it also complies with British Standard Class 1 and Class 0 and you can get a fire certificate for your insurance company. Read on and I’ll explain more about these features.
British Fire Regulation Standards
The British Standard Institute has defined three distinct classes for fire retardant paints. I’ve set out each one so you can see exactly what they correspond to:
This is the lowest standard; however, Class 1 paint must ensure that there is no spread of fire. Fire retardant paint for walls and ceilings often meets this standard, which is more than adequate for most rooms of your home.
You’ll need to consider using a Class 0 fire retardant paint for any high-risk areas as well as escape routes. Class 0 products must ensure that the fire not only doesn’t spread but also that its temperature levels and intensity do not increase.
Fire resistance is rated anywhere between 30-60 minutes in duration. The time frame stated on your fire retardant paint is the time for which it has been tested to delay a fire before it starts to burn through the protective coating.
Some fire retardant paints offer certification. After purchase and application, you simply contact the manufacturer with proof of purchase in order to receive a Fire Certificate for your insurance company, client records or local fire and building authority.
How to Use Fire Retardant Paint
You should always apply fire retardant paint in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to do so could severely reduce the product’s fire resistance and consequently your future safety.
When you are applying fire retardant paint, in the majority of cases you will first need to apply a special base coat from the same range. Doing so will ensure maximum protection and full compliance with British Fire Regulation Standards.
Apply your base coat at the specific rate of square metres per litre as recommended for the surface, for example at 6.5 square metres per litre per coat.
Next, apply the topcoat, once again respecting the rate at which it must be applied. You can choose a finish that matches your interior such as transparent or colour in either gloss or matte.
Provided you respect the dosage recommendations, you can use your material-specific fire retardant paint to cover doors, painted walls and ceilings, as well as a range of other interior coverings.
Before making your purchase always check the manufacturer’s usage guidance and do not hesitate to contact them if you have any questions over the suitability of their product for your desired usage.
Fire retardant paint could not only save your home, but it could also save your life -- giving you valuable extra escape time and maintaining structural integrity.
Combining a fire retardant base coat with Thermoguard Flame Retardant Top Coat is one of the simplest and most effective ways that I recommend to protect interior walls and ceilings in the event of a fire.
I’m very passionate about taking simple steps to improve safety and survival in the event of a fire and I hope that this article has encouraged you to do so, too. We can all improve our chances of getting out of a fire alive by treating our home with fire retardant paint.
Comment below to let me know your thoughts and as ever, feel free to share this article with your loved ones. After all, your share could help save a life!