Understand a material’s fire ratings is crucial to ensure that the structure follows building and safety codes during the design and construction phases. Every building material has metrics such as fire ratings to note how construction teams and builders should implement it in the construction process. Before planning or constructing any structure, make sure you understand these three things about construction materials and their fire ratings.
What Are Flame-Spread Ratings?
Flame-spread ratings measure how quickly a flame spreads over a certain building material. These ratings measure the speed and distance at which the flame travels over the material’s surface. The lower end of the flame-spread ratings involves materials with a rating of 25 or less, including inorganic materials such as brick, cement, and plywood. Class B or mid-range flame spread ratings include some natural woods and have a rating from 26 to 75. Finally, the higher end of the flame spread rating ranges from 76 to 200 and includes materials that burn quickly, such as wood panels, boards, and other natural woods.
What Is Flame-Spread Class?
Flame-spread classes categorize the different types of building materials based on how they react to flames and how the flames spread. Class I typically categorizes inorganic materials such as brick, tile, and cement. Class II materials include whole wood, such as lumber and other solid woods. Class III materials categorize reconstituted wood such as particle board, plywood, and fiberboard. Note that these material classes are separate from fire classes, which range from Class A through Class K, depending on the source of the fire.
Examples of Fire-Safe Building Materials
In building design, contracting, and construction, we can use these fire ratings and classes to test and select building materials that promote better fire safety. Manufactured materials such as concrete, brick, and other inorganic materials are naturally fire-resistant, which makes them ideal for construction. We can accommodate the weaknesses of materials like natural and artificial woods with more of a fire risk by implementing additional safety measures. For example, we can use intumescent coating for wood to passively prevent flames from spreading during a fire emergency. These safety measures help widen the range of building materials builders can use in construction.
Once you understand construction materials and material fire ratings, you can use this information to build safer structures and prevent the spread of fire. If you’re interested in learning more about strengthening a building’s fire safety, learn more about fire retardant materials and intumescent paints at FireFree Coatings.