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Fire Retardant Paint: Everything You Need to Know

Nobody likes considering the unimaginable scenario, but in the case of a fire in your home, one of the most important factors is time. During that critical period, you have to get out of the house and move yourself and your family out of harm’s way and to a place of safety.

One of the main benefits of using fire retardant paints in the home is that, in this worst-case scenario, this feature will afford you valuable additional time.

Where you have more flammable surfaces in the home like wood walls, or in higher fire risk locations like hearth or stove surrounds, fireproof coatings are a great way to keep these surfaces safer.

These days the range of fire-resistant paints available on the market is quite extensive and you can find a great selection of decorative paints that create an inconspicuous additional layer of safety and security in your home. Many of these paints are rigorously tested to ensure they meet British Safety Standard BS467 building regulations.

What is Fire Retardant Paint?

When we talk about fire retardant paint or non-flammable paint it is important to note there are actually two distinct types, fire retardant paint and fire-resistant which is also commonly referred to as intumescent paint.

These two are often confused but the technology is quite different and it is useful to understand their different characteristics, qualities and functions in order to make the right choice in your selection.

Fire Retardant Paint

When exposed to extreme heat temperature, this type of coating works by releasing a gas that dampens or retards flames by starving them of the oxygen they need. The function of fire retardant paint is to reduce the spread of the flames and to slow down the fire. In residential homes, this can be a really efficient safety measure that will go a long way to contain a fire.

By limiting flame reach across any painted surface, it works by impeding rapid fire spread and providing you with invaluable time to escape a burning building. Fire retardant paints are a good choice for timber surfaces and concrete and plaster in areas of high fire risk like kitchens, around fireplaces or solid fuel stoves, they are regularly used in industrial spaces and public buildings.

Intumescent Paint

Also known as fire-resistant, intumescent paint is another type of fireproof coating, that works in a slightly different way to fire-retardant paint.

When a surface coated with intumescent paint is exposed to flames, the coating foams up, by creating gas bubbles on the surface which char and swell, creating an insulating or barrier layer, that protects the material underneath by slowing down the progress of the fire. This delay in the fire’s spread provides additional time for escape and for fire services to get the flames under control.

These coverings are rated by the amount of time, in the case of a building fire, that they can provide resistance to fire. Intumescent paint is a popular choice for applying to timber, steel and plaster building materials

There are also some fireproof paints on the market that combine elements of both intumescent paint and fire retardant paints.

How Does Fire Resistant Paint Work?

Fire-resistant paints can be applied to floors, walls and ceilings, virtually any surface that you want to make flame retardant, with the aim of slowing or stopping the spread of fire in your home or office.

Those familiar with the fire triangle will be aware that a fire needs three elements to spread; heat, oxygen and fuel. Using fire retardant paints in your home or office fights fire in two ways. It protects your surface, reducing the amount of fuel available to the fire, thus removing the third element of the fire triangle and slowing the fire spread considerably.

While the flame dampening gas discharged in intense heat, also limits the amount of oxygen available to the fire to ignite the fuel, i.e. the construction materials of your home.

These fire retardant qualities can delay the spread of the fire in your home by anything from 30 minutes up to 3 hours allowing fire services additional time to get flames under control and reduce the extent of fire damage in your home.

Does Fire Retardant Paint Actually Work?

Fire retardant paints certainly do not guarantee a fire will never occur in your home nor will these paints stop a fire dead in its tracks. What fire retardant coatings offer is better fire protection in your home, office or any building, where they are used to slow down the progress of fires. In an emergency situation, this can provide you with the vital minutes needed to get you and your loved ones to safety.

Fire retardant paints help to safeguard your home or building and meet fire safety standards and regulations while offering a homeowner some peace of mind and security. You will feel a little safer in the knowledge that in the unfortunate event of a fire you will have that vital extra time to get to safety. While your home will likely escape the worst of potential damage and has a better chance of remaining structurally sound with that extra time available to the fire services to douse the flames.

Does Non-flammable Paint Work On Wood?

Whether it’s your garden shed, or your roof beams, we know that wood is one of the most flammable building materials we can use so fire resistance considerations are a priority when using timber in construction.

In a timber structure, which is already by its nature more susceptible to fire, structural integrity can be quickly compromised in the case of rapidly spreading flames. Applying a flame retardant coating to your wood substrate will significantly slow down the progress of a fire and maintain the integral safety of the structure for longer.

Both fire retardant paint and intumescent paints can be applied to wood surfaces, however, intumescent paints are better suited to timber materials as the insulating effect of fire retardant paint is more limited than that of intumescent or fire-resistant paint.

What Paint to Use for Fire-Proofing

When it comes to fireproofing your home, peace of mind is really invaluable. Whatever the surface or building material you want to make fire-resistant there will be a suitable product out there for you. Nowadays there is such a wide range of fire protection paints available in hardware and home decor stores, in a variety of decorative styles that are aesthetically impossible to differentiate from traditional paints and are easy to apply, it makes the process of fireproofing your home that bit easier. Giving you that sought after peace of mind, at least on this concern.