Knowing Your Options when Fireproofing Your Steel… | Kaloutas

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Knowing Your Options when Fireproofing Your Steel Structures

Steel ceiling before fireproofing Knowing Your Options when Fireproofing Your Steel Structures

Steel has long been a sta­ple of struc­tur­al engi­neer­ing for good rea­son. This iron alloy is strong, durable, high­ly ver­sa­tile, and rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive. It takes a lot of ener­gy to severe­ly dam­age steel struc­tures. That said, steel is not inde­struc­tible — while a typ­i­cal build­ing fire (i.e. 2,000 degrees Fahren­heit) won’t melt struc­tur­al steel (which melts at 2,500 degrees Fahren­heit), this lev­el of heat can cause steel to bend and weak­en, which in turn can cause a facil­i­ty to col­lapse. As such, build­ings that fea­ture struc­tur­al steel must fea­ture the prop­er fire pro­tec­tion in accor­dance with rel­e­vant codes. Prop­er­ly fire­proof­ing your steel com­po­nents will reduce the risk of major fires, min­i­mize the dev­as­ta­tion of fires, and give peo­ple more time to safe­ly exit the build­ing in case of emergency. 

There are mul­ti­ple ways to fire­proof steel struc­tures. Know­ing your options (as well as the build­ing codes rel­e­vant to your loca­tion and indus­try) will help you bet­ter secure your facil­i­ty and keep your peo­ple safe. With that in mind, Kaloutas offers fire­proof­ing ser­vices. Let’s explore your options and what it means for your busi­ness’ bot­tom line. 

Best Ways to Fire­proof Steel

Intu­mes­cent Fire Pro­tec­tive Coatings

One of the most pop­u­lar fire­proof­ing options, intu­mes­cent coat­ings are applied to sur­faces like stan­dard paint — how­ev­er, when exposed to extreme­ly high tem­per­a­tures, a chem­i­cal reac­tion is trig­gered which caus­es these pro­tec­tive coat­ings to expand, increas­ing in vol­ume and decreas­ing in den­si­ty. As a result, a buffer is quick­ly cre­at­ed that keeps flames from direct­ly scorch­ing the steel mate­r­i­al. And dur­ing nor­mal oper­a­tions, these coat­ings aren’t any more notice­able than a reg­u­lar indus­tri­al paint job.

Cementitious/​Conventional Spray-on Fire Pro­tec­tion for Steel

These fire­proof coat­ings also serve to form a bar­ri­er between harsh flames and steel sur­faces. Unlike intu­mes­cent coat­ings, how­ev­er, con­ven­tion­al spray-applied fire-resis­tive mate­r­i­al (SFRM), such as light­weight cement, do not acti­vate in the pres­ence of a fire. Instead, these coat­ings pro­vide inher­ent fire resis­tance and phys­i­cal bar­ri­er between the heat and steel. That said, it usu­al­ly takes sev­er­al suc­ces­sive coats to achieve the prop­er lev­el of pro­tec­tion. Addi­tion­al­ly, these fire­proof coat­ings are often more con­spic­u­ous than their intu­mes­cent coun­ter­parts and may cre­ate space between the coat­ing and the sub­strate, which allows mois­ture build-up.

Rigid Board Fireproofing

Last­ly, fire­proof­ing ser­vices offer rigid board fire­proof­ing as well. As its name sug­gests, this method of pas­sive fire pro­tec­tion involves fas­ten­ing boards of fire-resis­tant mate­r­i­al (i.e. min­er­al wool) to the struc­tures in ques­tion. Installing these fire-resis­tant boards may be rec­om­mend­ed for facil­i­ties with par­tic­u­lar envi­ron­men­tal needs and char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as cold tem­per­a­tures or fre­quent chem­i­cal use. Best of all, rigid board fire­proof­ing can be installed with­out inter­fer­ing with pro­duc­tion process­es or con­struc­tion sched­ules. These boards can offer sev­er­al hours of pro­tec­tion for columns, beams, ceilings/​floors, and roof­ing, and may be used along­side spray-on appli­ca­tions for addi­tion­al protection.

Pro­tect Your Steel and Your Peo­ple with Fireproofing

This overview of the pri­ma­ry fire­proof­ing options for steel struc­tures can help you reassess your own facil­i­ties’ fire pro­tec­tion efforts. Of course, each method fea­tures a num­ber of nuances that require fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion. At Kaloutas, our indus­tri­al fire­proof­ing experts are hap­py to deliv­er more specifics on any and all of these fire pro­tec­tion options that you might con­sid­er. We find intu­mes­cent fire­proof coat­ings to be the most effec­tive. How­ev­er, we work how you work and can adapt and man­age the way you need us to. To learn more about us and all that we do, con­tact us online or give us a call at 9785321414.

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