For fire-rated materials such as walls and ceilings in a building, and for load-bearing structures such as pillars and beams, specially made fire protection paints can be used, which in the case of heat swell up and form a porous, heat-insulating layer which protects the wood or steel and also underlying material. If you use fire protection paint in a building, you can greatly extend the time for evacuation and extinguishing work.
It is common for public buildings, which have high requirements for fire protection, to be painted with fire protection paint. This applies to both industries and premises such as libraries, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. These buildings often have load-bearing steel structures, which can be protected by fire protection.
But it is also not unusual for spaces such as winds and basements in residential buildings to be painted with fire protection paint. Anyone who is going to paint with fire protection paint should, however, be careful with which products are used, how they should be used and which products they should be used with. Fire protection paint is usually sold in systems, where it is important to stick to products within the same system in order to achieve a satisfactory fire protection.
Fire protection for wood and steel
There are fire protection colors for both wood and steel, and it is important to choose the right kind of color. The paint not only protects the material, but also the underlying material. Fire protection paint contains substances that cause it to expand by about 30 mm during heat and develop a heat-insulating layer that resists heat and fire development and prevents the material from emitting flammable gases that accelerate the fire process. This provides plenty of time for evacuation and fire fighting. Should the fire continue for a long time in a wooden house, the wood’s surface layer will carbonize without being ignited, which creates additional protection.
By applying fire protection paint to load-bearing structures of steel in a building, it can be ensured that the building is safe even with a longer fire, because otherwise steel is sensitive to high heat from surrounding materials. Steel can either be painted directly with fire protection paint, or insulated with fire panels painted with fire protection paint. Which system you choose depends on the type of building and the circumstances. An expert on fire protection painting should always be asked about an appropriate system early in the construction process.
Always use color within the same system
If you plan to paint surfaces in your home with fire protection paint, such as the attic floor, you should always first consult an expert on fire protection paint or a professional painter, to get tips on the right products. It is also very important that you use products that are intended to be used together, otherwise the fire protection can be without effect.
Usually, a fire protection paint can be painted over with a regular color, to achieve the desired shade and finish, but then it is important that the color you use is intended to be used in conjunction with the fire protection paint.
Read about fire classes and fire protection
If you wish to know about fire classes and fire protection in private houses and public buildings, we recommend that you read through the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning’s Building Regulations for fire protection. It gives a good overview of what to consider when it comes to fire protection in both private homes and public buildings.
Health aspects of fire protection paint
The products used in fire protection painting and sold in Sweden meet the general requirements for health and the environment. However, one should use face protection and in some cases also protective clothing when working with any type of paint indoors where good ventilation is missing, and this also applies to fire protection paint.