In the event of a fire, every second counts. Flame-retardant intumescent paint provides precious time. Intumescent coatings are often used in buildings as a passive fire resistance measure. When exposed to high temperatures, intumescent coatings expand significantly – some products expand more than 100 times the thickness of the original product. The expanding product serves as an insulator between the high temperatures and the structure of the building as well as any protected openings. It also keeps oxygen – which is necessary for combustion – away from the substrate.

Intumescent products are made of chemicals suspended in a binder. Upon being exposed to heat, the binder softens, exposing the suspended chemicals to the heat. The chemicals react, releasing vapors that create a foam. Carbonization occurs, and the foam turns into a black insulating material, sometimes called “char.”

This fire-retardant class of products is typically used as a finish on exposed structural steel. It looks like a thin layer of paint and is usually applied in layers to create the thickness required by the building code. Finally, pigments can be added to provide the desired finish color. You can also use intumescent coatings on wooden substances. However, when used on wood, the purpose is to stop the spread of flame and smoke, not to prevent heating.

While intumescent paint is definitely advantageous, there are two main downfalls. The first is the fact that the finish is not perfectly smooth. While you can ask the painting contractor to sand the finish before applying the decorative coat, this is rather costly because it requires additional labor. Without sanding, an intumescent paint finish looks somewhat like the peel of an orange. The second downfall is that these coatings can sag when multiple layers are used.

During a fire, every moment counts. It can mean the difference between life and death, a partial or total loss. Intumescent fire-retardant paints are extremely useful in preventing the spread of fire. Let the professionals at Lakeside Painting fireproof your building with intumescent fire-retardant paint.

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