Fireproof Paint for Steel: Fire Retardant vs. Intumescent Paint

Fireproof Paint for Steel: Fire Retardant vs. Intumescent Paint

When looking for a fireproof paint for steel, you'll come across terms like "fire retardant," "flame resistant," "intumescent," and more. What does it all mean? How can you find the right product for your application needs?

Don't worry! RDR Technologies is the industry leader in these products. Our experts are here to explain it all to you, and guide you in the right direction to find the perfect solution for you.

What is Intumescent Paint?

When exposed to flame or heat above around 325°F, an intumescent paint swells up and forms a thick layer of char. The heat causes a chemical reaction that generates gas that fills tiny little pockets in the coating. This new foam insulates and protects the substrate from the effects of the extreme heat. Your substrate could be steel, and is often the case, but doesn't have to be. It can also protect wood, drywall, and more.

A very thin coating that goes on at 40 millimeters thickness can expand to an inch thick or more, depending on the heat source. After the fire, that expanded foam can be scraped off, the substrate cleaned up, and the coating re-applied. If it sounds simple, it is!

Intumescent Products:

What is the Other Option?

There are basically two types of fire retardants: intumescents and non-intumescents. There's a very simple explanation to help you understand the two. Intumescents swell up when exposed to heat. Non-intumescents don't.

Non-intumescents don't swell up, but work in a different way. They are a paint. Normally, these paints act like a protective barrier. When exposed to high heat, it undergoes a chemical transformation and creates something like a hard candy shell. It makes it more difficult for the flame to break through the paint layer and get to the substrate. It also dissipates the heat throughout the layer of paint. This keeps the object from supporting flame, so the fire does not melt it. These are often sold as paint additives.


Finding the Right Fireproof Paint for Steel

Fireproof paint for steel looks like traditional paint, but it provides extra safety by:

  1. Reducing flammability
  2. Decreasing the fire's intensity
  3. Slowing the spread of flames
  4. Complying with fire building codes

Fire retardant paint slows flames from spreading and are meant for fires to self-extinguish. In contrast to this, intumescent paint reacts to high temperatures by swelling and creating thick char barrier layers of foam to insulate the structure behind the paint from fire and smoke. Which is the perfect solution for your needs? That is a question we can figure out together.

Remember- if you need additional support finding the right fireproof paint for steel, we're always here for you!

Mar 31st 2022 RDR Technologies

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