Having a good fire rating in your commercial building is important for protecting your business and for insurance reasons. With the right approach to your building, you can end up saving money if a fire occurs. While fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers are great fire safety options, there are also some passive fire safety measures that you can take to help prevent or contain fires. Intumescent paint is a paint that offers fire protection. When used correctly, intumescent paint can help minimize fire damage and help keep it from spreading. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about what intumescent paint is and how it works.

What is intumescent paint?

Intumescent paint was first created in the 1940s, and it is designed to perform all functions of standard paint while also helping with fireproofing a building. When it is exposed to heat, intumescent paint will transform and expand into a thick, insulating coating. It has become a popular choice for fire protection to meet building standards for fire safety. By combining the passive protections intumescent paint offers with active protections, you can help protect your property and prevent injuries related to fires.

How Intumescent Paint Works

Intumescent paint does not activate until it is exposed to fire. Until that point, it is just another paint coating. Once the temperatures reach about 392°F, or 200°C, a chemical reaction will occur in the paint. The intumescent paint will swell in size and char, creating an insulating layer that will help protect the building materials underneath the paint, so your structure is better protected and the fire can be more contained.

Where should I use intumescent paint?

You can use intumescent paint on any interior or exterior surface. There are even some specialty intumescent paints that can help mitigate the damage of wildfires. With as bad as some of the wildfires in California have been in the last few years, this can be highly beneficial to have.

Fireproofing paint is best placed near a building’s frame, beams, and support structure because if any of those get damaged, the entire structure can be compromised. It’s also good to use fireproofing paint on the siding of the building, as well as the roof and foundation. If your business has a bigger risk of fires, like a construction site, using intumescent paint can be especially important.

Should I use intumescent paint on my building exterior?

Intumescent paint is intended for interior and exterior use. Since California has had such devastating wildfires over the last few years, it is a good idea to use intumescent paint on your building’s exterior. While this might not guarantee that your commercial building will stand up to a wildfire, it will have a much better chance if you use intumescent paints.  

What can you apply intumescent paint to?

There is a wide range of brands of intumescent paints, so you can find some that are compatible with different building materials. You can use intumescent paint on anything from steel beams to wood; even plaster and drywall can have an intumescent coating. The Magnum Painting Division uses only the top quality intumescent paints, and we have the right ones to protect any building.

Do you need to reapply fire-resistant paint over time?

The fire-resistant paint will protect your building until there is a fire. However, it is recommended to reapply your intumescent paint every few years to ensure that it will work to the best of its ability when it is needed. Intumescent paint typically has a lifespan of anywhere between five and 50 years, depending on the brand and application. The Magnum team can break down the lifespan of any intumescent paint you are interested in using for your commercial building.

Can intumescent paint be used more than once?

No. Intumescent paint is only going to work once, but the moment that it meets fire, the intumescent paint will be used and cannot be used again. After a fire, applying a new coating of intumescent paint is important so the building will be protected again if another fire occurs.

Can I paint over fire-retardant coatings?

It is not recommended to do so since the intumescent paint needs to swell and char to prevent a fire. Having new paint on top of it may make it difficult for the paint to have the chemical reaction it needs to work in the case of fire. However, there are many different clear intumescent paints available, so you can paint the building however you like then have the intumescent paint applied over the top of it. This will give you the aesthetic you want and the fire protection you need.

Let’s Get Started!

Intumescent paint is an important coating to add to your commercial building to protect it from fire damage. If you are looking for intumescent paint or any other construction projects, contact Magnum Drywall today! Our award-winning painting division will work hard to help fireproof your commercial business.