Commercial Fireproofing: Intumescent Paints vs… | Kaloutas

Kaloutas now offers Fireproof Patching. Call us today to discuss your needs.

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.

Partner with Kaloutas

Whether you're a facility manager, general contractor, or building owner, Kaloutas is ready to tackle any heavy-duty industrial painting, cleaning, coating, fireproofing, containment, or flooring projects you need to stay operational. Talk with us today about your facility goals and project needs to improve compliance, safety, and aesthetics.

Partner With Kaloutas

Your facility's needs wait for no one. Fill out our form below and a sales team member will connect with you within 24 hours.

Get a Free Estimate