Some buildings are required, by building code or insurance underwriters, to have fire-retardant paint. Buildings with room occupancy over a certain limit, buildings with flammable materials, and buildings with hazardous material storage will all have requirements for fire retardant paint.
What Is Fire Retardant Paint?
Fire retardant paint is a liquid coating that slows the spread of fire across a surface by limiting the ability of the fire to burn its fuel source. It does this by insulating the surface from heat, preventing open flames from reaching combustible material on the other side, or making it harder for flames to ignite. Fire retardant paints are often used to coat wood or wood products when they’re used in construction or decoration because wood is highly flammable and can be easily ignited by sparks or open flames.
The benefits of using fire retardant paint are clear: it helps slow the spread of fire in the event that any part of the structure catches fire. Fire retardant paint does this by charring when exposed to heat. The charred layer then acts as an insulator between the spreading flames and what’s below.
Fire retardant paint is most effective against wood fires, which is why it’s often used on wooden structures like beams and trusses. It’s also used on walls and materials that are combustible but not flammable, like drywall or fiberglass insulation.
A note of caution: do not confuse fire retardant paint with fireproof paint! Fire retardant paints will not prevent a building from catching fire. They will just help delay the spread of flames until such time as firefighters can get there to put it out.
Fire retardant paints are designed to coat wooden structures and other materials that are vulnerable to catching fire. The purpose of these paints is to protect a building from becoming engulfed in flames and causing extensive damage or danger to people in the area. Fire retardants have been used for decades in spaces where fires might be more common, such as kitchens or areas where there is an abundance of flammable objects.
Many businesses have specific requirements for the use of fire retardant paints due to safety concerns, especially in public buildings or places with large numbers of people. In many cases, applying this special type of paint can be a legal requirement for certain businesses.