Fire retardant paint

fire retardant paint

Increase your fire protection with fire retardant paint

Everyone is concerned about the risk of fire, but thankfully there are fire safety coatings designed to provide extra protection and some peace of mind. Fire retardant paint works by increasing the threshold required to start a fire and preventing ignition and slowing the rate at which flame spreads.

Fire retardant paint emits gases when exposed to extreme heat which dilute the flammable gases feeding the fire, dampening it and reducing its power.

These coatings are usually applied to substrates which are likely to burn in the event of fire, such as wood or foam, and can be applied to walls, floors, and ceilings in any space.

Improve fire safety at home with fire retardant paint

Fire retardant coatings are becoming more and more popular among home owners who are concerned about the fire safety of their houses. There are fire retardant paints for interior walls, ceilings and floors as well as for exterior walls.

Bear in mind that these coatings are not suitable for fire places, BBQ’s etc. They require high temperature coatings which do not react with heat but rather protect the surface from it.

Fire retardant paint for wood

Fire retardant paint for wood

Fire retardant paint for wood

Wooden surfaces can receive protection with fire retardant varnish and paints. These can be applied to treated and untreated wood just like paint, using a brush, roller, or spray, and come in a variety of finishes.

Fire retardant varnish for wood is a transparent or translucent system that preserves the natural appearance of wood while protecting it from flames.

Fire retardant varnish is available for interior and exterior applications. It is suitable for example for garden furniture, interior stairs and decking.

Upgrade to a fire door with fire retardant paint

Doorways and exits become very important in a fire, both for escape and for isolating and controlling the flames. It is possible to upgrade doors to fire doors, by applying an all-in-one fire door paint upgrade kit. These combine the protection of fire retardant paints with fire resistant paints to provide the highest fire safety.

For fire doors in general there are two requirements:

  • The door must be solid, not hollow
  • It needs to be at least 35 mm thick

However, when you wish to coat a door that consists of sunken panels, the panel thickness matters. Veneers can be applied, but the door must be at least 9mm thick at any point to use the kit. Fire door paint is available in different colours, or can be applied in a clear varnish.

Fire retardant paint for steel and concrete structures

Intumescent paints offer better protection for steel, so fire retardant paint is not common on steel surfaces.

Fire retardant paint is never used as the only fire protective layer for steel, but is instead combined with fire resistant (intumescent) paint.

Concrete is a material which does not burn easily, however, fire will eventually weaken it. Fire retardant paint is not often applied to concrete, because there is little need for it. However, when additional fire protection is needed, the most commonly used coatings are intumescent, as the protection provided is more appropriate.

For highest protection system use fire retardant paint

fire retardant paint

The best fire protection system insulates the substrate and damps flames.

When maximum fire protection is required, you can combine the strengths of a fire retardant paint with a fire resistant paint. The two coatings protect from fire in different ways:

  • fire resistant paint responds to extreme heat by expanding to form a heat insulating layer between the fire and substrate
  • fire retardant paint is used as the top coat, damping the flames and preventing the intumescent paint from activating, extending the time of protection and preventing the fire spread

When combined, these two coatings give a substrate its best chance at withstanding a fire.

Fire retardant paint products and prices in the UK

Many different fire prevention coatings are available across the UK. Here is a sample of available products and a rough guide as to prices, including VAT.

BrandProductPrice (RRP)Packaging
BollomIntulac Ultra Topcoat£43.66500ml
Zero FlameFire Retardant Paint£116.285L
Crown TradeTimonox£80.005L
ThermoguardSmoke & Flame Retardant Dualcoat£63.60covers 20m²

Are you looking for an easy solution for making wood or other porous substrates fire safe? Then a fire retardant spray solution is the product for you. Many of the aforementioned products are suitable for spray applications, yet they are still paints and require a special paint gun. The spray solutions however, come in a basic spray bottle!

The easy to apply fire retardant spray products for wood

Fire retardant paints are also available as sprays. You can also use these sprays on natural and synthetic fabrics as well as dried natural materials such as leaves and flowers.

BrandProductPrice (RRP)Packaging
BollomFlamebar;  Fire retardant spray for wood and fabrics£25.001 L
Fire ChiefFlame retardant spray for untreated wood and paper, cardboard etc.£19.00750 ml

The danger when your fire retardant paint job is not certified

One thing to keep in mind regarding fire retardant paint is certification: whether you apply it yourself or let the job done by a professional, you should make sure you have proof of the application and the receipts of the used products.

Certification of your fire retardant paint application will help with insurance policies or if your ever need to claim damages.

Many applicators and coating manufacturers  provide a certificate for fire retardant coating and application. If the applicator does not provide certification, you should at least have the proof of purchase of the product and a fire protection certificate from the coating manufacturer.

British standards & regulations

The fire retardant properties of paint and coatings as well as other materials are measured by grouping them into 30 minute and 60 minute fire prevention products.

So here’s the deal: if you decide to apply 60 minute fire retardant coating, the coat effectively stops fire and prevents it from spreading for 60 minutes giving one hour additional time for evacuation.

Note that the coatings work differently on different substrates. Therefore, with some products 60 minutes can be reached for example on hardwood but on soft wood only 30 minutes can be guaranteed.

Fire retardant product can additionally be given a class according to the British Standard BS 476.  Each fire retardant coating is put in a class depending on the properties and level of protection it provides. The British fire resistance classes 1 and 0 include the following requirements.

1Class 1 fire retardant paints have zero allowance to fire spread. This is a performance standard for fire retardant varnish and paint for ceilings and walls.
0Class 0 includes the requirements for class 1 and in addition to those, it requires limited ability to catch fire and combust. These fire retardant paints are suitable for use in high risk areas such as fire escape routes and corridors. Not only do the coatings need to comply to the class 0 standard, but also the entire area. Therefore, all materials used in the area must comply to class 1 and also have a minimum fire propagation index. These regulations can be found in BSI BS 476 Part 6.


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