A fire retardant is a chemical that can be sprayed on porous surfaces to decrease the likelihood that they will ignite if exposed to flames. This can provide significant protection to people in situations where fires often occur. If you are wondering about the need for this type of treatment, here are some common times these chemicals are used.
A roof can be treated with a fire retardant to protect the building. This is particularly important in areas prone to wildfires as well as buildings in close proximity to one another. A dry, untreated roof can cause a building to go up in smoke in just a few minutes with nothing but a single spark from a wildfire or an adjacent building that is burning. Treating a roof can be the first line of defense against fires for your home or commercial building. Some roofing materials automatically come with these chemicals applied.
Curtains can be a common source of fires, whether on stages or in homes. A small spark can quickly ignite the entire piece of fabric, leaving the whole building vulnerable. This is particularly dangerous on stages where lighted stage props and hot stage lights increase the risk of sparks. By treating these fabrics prior to use, you can decrease the chances of huge fires, even if a spark and some smoldering does occur. This protects everyone in the building and on the stage as the case may be.
Many types of furniture can be treated with a fire retardant. Doing so will help prevent the spread of fires if the furniture catches a spark. Often mattresses are treated in this way to prevent fires caused by malfunctioning heating blankets and other bedroom appliances or electronics. There has been some concern about off gassing, particularly when these chemicals are used to treat mattresses, so you may want to research that before purchasing one that has been treated.
Can It Be Treated?
The key to using a fire retardant is finding a surface that can be treated. In order to work, the chemical has to soak into the product. This means it has to be slightly porous, but figuring that out simply by looking at the item or feeling it is not always easy to do. To test the surface you are considering treating, drop some water on it. If it beads up and runs off, you cannot treat the surface with a fire retardant. If it soaks in, then you can treat it.
New Home Construction
Building codes of for commercial projects are beginning to require fire retardant lumber to be used in structures and parts of structures where it is applicable. If you are building a business or a home, and your codes do not specify, you can still inquire about the product and make the decision to include it in your project. Do a little research on the history of the product so that you have some knowledge with which to bargain.
Make sure to inquire about where in your building project this product can be used. It loses its effect if it is exposed to the elements, and therefore is usually tapped as a resource for plywood, studs, and other interior uses. However, as the product becomes more popular, products are cropping up for exterior use in the form of coatings that can be added to the exterior of structures. An exterior fire retardant spray such as Flamex PF-2 should be used instead of an interior fire retardant on wood framing because of humidity. An interior fire retardant spray used in a non-controlled environment will eventually degrade over time because of their water soluble properties.
The added safety alone for choosing to build with retardant wood is worth the peace of mind, but it can also land you an insurance discount in several different ways. If you have used this product for your build, call your provider of your insurance policy to inquire about discounts that may apply to you. Your overall policy premium may go down just for using the material, and if you have fire hazard insurance, storm insurance, or other special policies according to your location, there may be more discounts that you can obtain.
Fire retardant lumber is slow burning. Unlike other lumber and wood that homes are usually built with, this type of wood emits a harmless carbon dioxide and water that makes it slower burning when it is exposed to flames. This quality not only gives occupants a longer escape time from flames, but its low smoke emissions create a safer escape as smoke inhalation is the main cause of death during a fire.
The slow burning property of the material also allows more time for the fire to be retained and put out. It helps to keep the fire burning in the structure of the home longer before it breaks outside of the structure and in to the home’s interior. You may be able to justify carrying less personal property replacement cost insurance because of the lessened risk of quick burning fire. Because of the material’s ability to self –contain, your surrounding property is also in less danger, and even if there is not a direct homeowner’s insurance benefit and there is the assurance that you and your family are safer. That is worth the investment no matter what the monetary cost.
National Fireproofing Supply (natfire.com) is the best choice for fire retardant spray and fireproofing materials. All fire retardant products we offer are non-toxic and non-hazardous. We offer a fire retardant spray for multiple porous materials. Laboratory tested on interior wood, exterior wood, and fabric. Our fire retardant spray is tested according to NFPA, ASTM, and UL testing standards.