394 West Whitehall Street Allentown, PA 18102   –   EMPLOYMENT

Menu
Menu
Skip to content
Spray Applied Fireproofing
Intumescent Fireproofing

The technical name for Intumescent Fireproofing/Intumescent Coating/Intumescent Paint is Intumescent Fire-Resistive Material (IFRM). It is used as part of a building’s passive fireproofing strategy. They can be applied to structural members as an aesthetically pleasing fireproofing product.

Key Features

The key feature of intumescents is that they expand significantly when exposed to high temperatures, such as those found in a fire. Some intumescent products can expand to more than 100-times the original thickness. As the product expands it becomes much less dense, which makes it act as in insulator that keeps the high temperatures away from structural members.

Code Issues and Proper Listings

In the United States, both the International Building Codes (IBC) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) provide criteria for proper fire protection. It is critical that architects understand the requirements when determining where protection is needed and when selecting the type of protection to be used. In addition, many jurisdictions have special requirements that go beyond the IBC and NFPA. Even some insurance companies have specific requirements. ***Please refer to local codes or seek advice from a code consultant before using any of this information.

All fireproofing must be tested and must have the proper listing. A UL label is usually required for fire protection assemblies in the United States. Fireproofing of structural members is usually accompanied by certificates and reports of the installation for the owner to keep on file. A properly trained and certified installer must be used for these products.

How Intumescent Products Work

Intumescent products are made of a series of chemicals suspended in a binder. When the binder is exposed to heat it begins to soften, which allows the suspended chemicals to the heat. The chemicals begin to react, which releases vapors that create a foam. A carbonization occurs and the foam solidifies into a black insulating material that is often referred to as char.

The video below shows how the intumescent paint expands to provide protection from heat. It is important to note that the product is not burning. Instead, a chemical reaction is taking place that builds up an insulating material that protects the underlying material from the heat.

Key Features

The key feature of intumescents is that they expand significantly when exposed to high temperatures, such as those found in a fire. Some intumescent products can expand to more than 100-times the original thickness. As the product expands it becomes much less dense, which makes it act as in insulator that keeps the high temperatures away from structural members.

Code Issues and Proper Listings

In the United States, both the International Building Codes (IBC) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) provide criteria for proper fire protection. It is critical that architects understand the requirements when determining where protection is needed and when selecting the type of protection to be used. In addition, many jurisdictions have special requirements that go beyond the IBC and NFPA. Even some insurance companies have specific requirements. ***Please refer to local codes or seek advice from a code consultant before using any of this information.

All fireproofing must be tested and must have the proper listing. A UL label is usually required for fire protection assemblies in the United States. Fireproofing of structural members is usually accompanied by certificates and reports of the installation for the owner to keep on file. A properly trained and certified installer must be used for these products.

How Intumescent Products Work

Intumescent products are made of a series of chemicals suspended in a binder. When the binder is exposed to heat it begins to soften, which allows the suspended chemicals to the heat. The chemicals begin to react, which releases vapors that create a foam. A carbonization occurs and the foam solidifies into a black insulating material that is often referred to as char.

The video below shows how the intumescent paint expands to provide protection from heat. It is important to note that the product is not burning. Instead, a chemical reaction is taking place that builds up an insulating material that protects the underlying material from the heat.

Intumescent Paints for Structural Fire Protection

The most common use for intumescent paint in architecture is to provide an aesthetically pleasing finish on exposed structural steel members.

Typical spray applied fireproofing provides a thick surface that requires a finished surround to hide and protect the steel member. Intumescent paint provides the same level of protection in a coating that looks like a thin layer of paint.

The paint product is applied to the steel in layers as needed to generate the thickness that corresponds to the level of protection mandated by the building code. A final layer of paint is applied to provide the desired finish color for the steel.

Intumescent coatings are also being used on structural members made of wood. For wood, the protection is not as much about the heat, but more about stopping the spread of flame and smoke. A coating can be applied to provide a rating on the wood member, but only if a painted look is acceptable. If a natural wood look is preferred, intumescent coatings are not a good choice.

Problems with Intumescent Coatings

Architects need to be aware of two common pitfalls with intumescent paints.

First, the finish is not perfectly smooth – rather, a slight orange-peel effect is achieved. This is very similar to the roller knap finish that you get on wall board. However, some architects are disappointed with the final finish because they expect to see a smooth finish that looks like the perfectly smooth steel. The substrate and required thickness directly affect the ability to produce a smooth finish.

If you are unhappy with the orange peel look, you can require a smoother finish in the specifications for the intumescent coating. The fireproofing contractor is able to sand the finish prior to the decorative coat to achieve a smoother finish, but this is somewhat costly due to the additional labor required. Since the acceptable level of smoothness is subjective, we suggest requiring a mock-up in the specification and asking the contractor to provide an allowance for sanding — this will allow the owner and contractor to be protected by establishing the level of finish up front.

Print
carboline
CAFCO - G

Get in touch

E-MAIL  info@ASIspray.com

PHYSICAL ADDRESS
394 West Whitehall Street Allentown, PA 18102

MAILING ADDRESS
PO BOX 625 Allentown, PA 18102

PHONE / FAX
Toll Free Number: (800) 797-9272
Phone Number: (610) 797-9272
FAX Number: (610) 797-9430

ASI Spray Insulation Professionals

ASI specializes in the application of Spray Foam Insulation, Spray Fireproofing, Acoustical Spray Insulation, and Intumescent Fireproofing for the Commercial, Institutional and Residential markets.

Mon-Fri 8 am to 4:30 pm

Sat/Sun – Closed

 EMPLOYMENT

FooterLogoClip_clipped_rev_1

© 2020-21 ASI Spray Insulation Professionals

CASE STUDIES 

Get in touch

E-MAIL  info@ASIspray.com

ADDRESS
394 West Whitehall Street
Allentown, PA 18102

PHONE / FAX
Toll Free Number: (800) 797-9272
Phone Number: (610) 797-9272
FAX Number: (610) 797-9430

ASI Spray Insulators

ASI is an experienced spray insulation contractor specializing in the application of spray foam, fireproofing and acoustical products for commercial, institutional and residential projects in the tri-state area since 1994

 EMPLOYMENT

FooterLogoClip_clipped_rev_1

© 2020-21 ASI Spray Insulation Professionals