Your go-to guide on fire protection coatings for concrete, specifically used to shield commercial buildings and structures from fire

Fire safety preparation is paramount to any construction project. In fact, there are fire safety guidelines that have to be abided by when working on any new building or rehabilitation project, regardless of whether fire risks present themselves at face value! Not only do these guidelines protect buildings and their contents in the unlikely event of a fire, but most critically, they stop individuals frequenting the site from getting injured or worse. In this guide, we explore fire protection coatings for concrete – an easy, affordable, and sustainable way of preventing serious fire-related damage to your building or structure.

What are fire protection coatings?

Fire protection coatings are types of coatings, intumescent paint, and firestop systems that are applied to the interiors of buildings and structures. The main goal of fire protection coatings is to protect foundations and foundational assets from extreme heat and the impact of fire-fihgting procedures like sprinkler systems, hoses, and extinguishers. Floors, ceilings, and walls can benefit from the application of a good fire protection coating – along with beams, columns, slabs, and other foundational assets providing strength and reinforcement.

What are the benefits of using concrete fire protection coatings?

Though organic concrete is resistant to heat and fire, it can only withstand extreme heat for around 4 hours before it begins to warp and its integrity is compromised. This is where an extra layer of `fire-stopping` material will prove useful – an extra layer for the fire to burn through before exposing the concrete and more time to quell the inferno before it causes major damage.

Advantages & benefits of using fire protection coatings

Here is a non-exhaustive list:

Application:

  • Aesthetically pleasing and looks no different from other coatings;
  • Versatile and allows for continued creative freedom with the design;
  • Smooth application, blends well;
  • Minimal maintenance once the application has been completed (unless a fire occurs and the protective coating needs to be restored/reapplied);
  • Fast drying times.

Fire protection:

  • Protects the load-bearing capacity of foundational assets made from concrete and those underneath (steel beams, etc.) by taking the initial brunt of temperatures exceeding 500 °C.
  • Prevents weakening and warping during the event of a fire
  • Prolongs the survival of buildings and structures during a fire and reduces the likelihood of serious damage
  • Conceals flammable materials such as wood and plastic, preventing combustion during a fire

Additional benefits:

  • Many brands of intumescent paint and coatings are sustainable and environmentally friendly;
  • Improves light output and reduces electricity bills in dark buildings (like underground car parks and garages)[1];
  • Takes up no extra room, unlike other fire protection methods (most of which are also required!);
  • Resistant to corrosion.

What are the specifications of concrete fire protection coatings?

Fire protection coatings have a crucial role to play – saving the structural integrity of buildings and prolonging the risk of serious damage. It makes sense that intumescent paint and other coatings have their own list of ideal specifications.

Here are some specifications that we look out for when selecting fire protection coatings, paints, and firestop solutions:

  • Is `European approved` and tested
  • Sustainable and kind to the environment
  • The thickness ranges between 0.4mm – 3.5mm
  • Water or solvent-based

There are four classes of fire protection coating we opt to use – all of which are in accordance with the DIN European Standards: DIN EN 13501-2 and DIN 4102-2:

  • Flame-retardant
  • Highly flame-retardant
  • Fire-resistant
  • Fire-resistant for 120mins+

Upon your free feasibility study and cost analysis, our specialist team will detail which fire protection coating is best suited to your project.

Product limelight: Fire protection coatings, paints, and firestop systems

At CCUK, our concrete specialists generally opt for coatings and paints made and supplied by [Promain] and [Carboline]. For more information on the specific products we use, please call our team on 01482 425250 and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you!

Other types of fire protection for concrete buildings & structures

There is an abundance of alternative fire protection tools suitable for concrete buildings – all of which can be used in combination with coatings, paints, and firestop systems.

Here is a non-exhaustive list: [2]

  • Breathable `fire retardant` membranes
  • Door sealing systems
  • External wall panels
  • Fancoil units
  • Firewall systems
  • Fire curtains
  • Fire doors
  • Fire & smoke dampeners
  • Roller shutters

Along with traditional, mandatory forms of fire-stopping equipment including sprinkler systems, extinguishers, and alarms.

Book your FREE feasibility study and cost analysis today

If you are looking to upgrade your fire protection systems or adopt them anew, your first step is to book a FREE feasibility study and cost analysis with our expert team. We’ll visit your site and determine the feasibility of implementing our fire protection coatings, and you’ll also get an approximate quote. There’s no obligation to proceed.

BOOK A FREE FEASIBILITY STUDY

Suggested reading for you based on `Your Guide to Fire Protection Coatings for Concrete’

GRENFELL: STRUCTURAL FIRE PROTECTION MEASURES

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DOWNLOAD OUR BROCHURE

References:

[1] Fire protection coatings for concrete – FeuerFest (feuer-fest.com)

[2] Fire Protection Products | Specification Building Product Directory | Specification Online