Commercial Fireproofing: Intumescent Paints vs… | Kaloutas

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Commercial Fireproofing: Intumescent Paints vs Non-Intumescent Coatings

White pole in a facility with a fireproof coating. Commercial Fireproofing: Intumescent Paints vs Non-Intumescent Coatings

A fire can dev­as­tate your build­ing and put your peo­ple at risk in a mat­ter of min­utes. While this force of nature can’t always be avoid­ed, it can be con­trolled with the prop­er pre­cau­tions. Com­pre­hen­sive fire pro­tec­tion requires the inter­play of many sys­tems, tools, and mate­ri­als. Fire­proof­ing plays a major role in slow­ing the spread of flames with­in a facil­i­ty and shield­ing struc­tures from severe dam­age or col­lapse. Of course, not all fire­proof prod­ucts are cre­at­ed equal. These fire­proof­ing mate­ri­als are often cat­e­go­rized into two main camps: intu­mes­cent and non-intu­mes­cent (or cemen­ti­tious). Each type of fire­proof­ing mate­r­i­al has its advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages, and you’ll often find both of them in a sin­gle building.

Here we’ll go over the dif­fer­ences between intu­mes­cent paint and non-intu­mes­cent fire­proof­ing so you can pro­vide your facil­i­ty with the best fire pro­tec­tion possible.

Intu­mes­cent Fire­proof Coat­ings vs. Non-Intu­mes­cent Fireproofing

Intu­mes­cent Fire­proof Coatings

The word tumes­cent” means swollen” and the pre-fix in” usu­al­ly indi­cates an inter­nal process. Putting these pieces togeth­er gives away how an intu­mes­cent coat­ing oper­ates. Put sim­ply, intu­mes­cent paint expands from the inside out when exposed to high tem­per­a­tures, trans­form­ing from a stan­dard-look­ing paint into a puffy, foam-like mate­r­i­al in the event of a fire. By expand­ing via chem­i­cal reac­tion, intu­mes­cent coat­ings pro­duce an addi­tion­al insu­la­tive lay­er that shields the under­ly­ing sur­face from extreme heat. As such, this type of fire­proof paint is often applied on steel beams to pre­vent struc­tur­al collapse.

It’s worth not­ing, how­ev­er, that intu­mes­cent coat­ings come at a cost. For starters, these mate­ri­als require a lot of effort to man­u­fac­ture. They also require a sig­nif­i­cant degree of prepa­ra­tion and main­te­nance to ensure their ongo­ing func­tion­al­i­ty. On top of that, these coat­ings are best applied by expe­ri­enced fire­proof­ing pro­fes­sion­als. The safe­ty of your peo­ple and assets are worth the cost, but it’s cru­cial to bal­ance your bud­get ahead of time.

Non-Intu­mes­cent Fire­proofing

If intu­mes­cent coat­ings expand in the pres­ence of flames, it fol­lows that non-intu­mes­cent coat­ings do not. At first, this lack of reac­tiv­i­ty might make cemen­ti­tious fire­proof­ing seem inher­ent­ly infe­ri­or. How­ev­er, not all fire­proof­ing has to be intu­mes­cent to be effec­tive. In fact, cemen­ti­tious coat­ings offer sig­nif­i­cant lev­els of pro­tec­tion and also pas­si­vate steel, which means they reduce the metal’s chem­i­cal reac­tiv­i­ty, there­by slow­ing down the oxi­da­tion process (rust­ing) while also pro­tect­ing steel from fire. And because cemen­ti­tious coat­ings are slight­ly less com­plex than their intu­mes­cent coun­ter­parts, they’re usu­al­ly less cost­ly and more available.

Cemen­ti­tious fire­proof­ing has its set­backs, too, of course. The lighter cemen­ti­tious coat­ings aren’t the most durable, where­as heav­ier coat­ings can weigh down struc­tures as time goes on. These porous mate­ri­als make way for mois­ture intru­sion, too (con­verse­ly, intu­mes­cent coat­ings are water­tight) – this caveat means that cemen­ti­tious coat­ings are typ­i­cal­ly applied in dri­er environments.

Is One Coat­ing Bet­ter Than the Other?

Fire­proof con­trac­tors reg­u­lar­ly use both intu­mes­cent, and non-intu­mes­cent coat­ings for their clients’ facil­i­ties since both types of coat­ings offer unique advan­tages. Like­wise, any draw­backs of either type of fire­proof­ing can be mit­i­gat­ed by keep­ing con­text in mind, receiv­ing expert instal­la­tion, and keep­ing up with ongo­ing main­te­nance. So, no, one type of fire­proof­ing isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly supe­ri­or – rather, dif­fer­ent solu­tions are required for dif­fer­ent sur­faces and in dif­fer­ent situations.

Work with a fire­proof­ing con­trac­tor who appre­ci­ates all of the impor­tant nuances relat­ed to prop­er fire pro­tec­tion. At Kaloutas, we deploy intu­mes­cent and cemen­ti­tious fire­proof­ing in our clients’ var­i­ous New Eng­land facil­i­ties to cre­ate a safer and more com­pli­ant work envi­ron­ment. We work the way you do in order to min­i­mize down­time and max­i­mize safe­ty from start to fin­ish. To learn more about us and all that we do, con­tact us online or give us a call at 9785321414 today.

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