Many of us have heard terms like fire-resistant, fireproof, and flame-retardant but may not know what it all means. Some use these terms interchangeably, but flame-retardant is not fire-resistant. Noting the difference gives you a better idea of what treatments to add to your office space or building materials. Keep reading this article to learn more about the difference between fire-resistant and flame-retardant materials.
What Does Fire-Resistant Mean?
If something is fire-resistant, it can withstand incredibly high temperatures before it begins burning. Often, these materials are treated with chemicals to make them stronger. As a result, it takes a very long time for these types of items to burn if a fire breaks out in the area.
For example, firefighters usually wear flame-retardant clothing, which allows them to jump into action and save people from burning buildings. Since the material can slow the flames, the individuals wearing it remain much safer than they would in typical civilian clothing.
Is Fire-Resistant Fireproof?
Although these items can resist fire and its effects, it does not make them fireproof. A fire-resistant material can catch on fire when directly exposed to a flame. Materials like treated wood are flame-retardant because it slows the burn time. But as many of us know, we can still burn treated lumber, but it takes much longer than it would if you were to burn firewood.
Many engineers also use treated glass for windows in buildings because it can hold up against those high temperatures that could cause it to break. Shattered glass creates new dangers for anyone trapped inside the burning building.
What Is Fireproof?
If fire-resistant materials are not fireproof, then what is? Technically, nothing is entirely fireproof since everything has a burning point. Some individuals may describe fire-resistant materials as “fireproof” because they are closest to them. It takes incredibly high temperatures to melt or burn a fire-resistant object, so it almost seems to be fireproof.
Noting this is essential because it helps to keep you and others safe. How? Because some companies may claim their product is fireproof since many use it interchangeably with fire-resistant. This can lead to the assumption that there is no need to worry if a fire starts. However, you should always evacuate a building in the event of a fire, even if it is fire-resistant.
Common Fire-Resistant Items
Various materials can naturally resist the heat and destruction caused by flames. For example, wool only burns at incredibly high temperatures, making it fire-resistant. Remember, nothing is entirely fireproof. A few fire-resistant materials that engineers and architects should know of include:
- Gypsum drywall
Other items like glass or paint can also become fire-resistant if the proper coating and treatments get applied. Making materials fire-resistant helps keep everyone safer since it will take longer for the fire to spread throughout the entire building; this gives people more time to escape.
Buy the Right Product
Firefree sells fire protection coatings that are eco-friendly and easy to apply. Additionally, these have been tested and certified to the standard that measures both flame-retardant and fire-resistant properties that can withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Does Flame-Retardant Mean?
If something is flame-retardant, it will help slow the flame’s spread and reduce smoke. This is especially helpful as it can keep a fire contained for a limited time in a specific area of a home or building and give people more time to escape safely.
Sometimes, clothing is also flame-retardant, which comes in handy for various industries ranging from front liners to oil rig workers. Even chefs may need flame-retardant clothing like aprons because cooks use highly flammable items—cooking oils—around open flames. The proper clothing helps protect individuals if a small fire begins.
What Items Are Flame-Retardant?
Flame-retardant items have a chemical coating that helps extinguish flames if they come into contact with that object. You can apply a flame-retardant material to reduce flame propagation, mainly over wood and fabrics (clothes, carpets, curtains/drapery). Some individuals also apply a flame-retardant spray or coating to items like furniture, especially in public places like theaters or office buildings.
Applying Flame-Retardant Coatings
Before you apply a fire-retardant coating, verify that you plan to use the appropriate type of coating for the item you have. For example, if you need to add it to metal, you cannot use flame-retardant fabric coating as it does not work in the same way.
Which Option is Best?
When it comes to the difference between fire-resistant and flame-retardant materials, you may still wonder which one professionals consider the best. Although flame-retardant materials take a limited time to burn, fire-resistant materials can help protect a coated surface for a longer period of time, two hours or more.
Most experts agree that fire resistance is best because it does not just slow the flames but also deters them. This can help lessen the damage often caused by fires since there will be “more time” to put it out; when items have higher burn points, they are less likely to get heavily damaged.
Although fire-resistant materials often cost more than flame-retardant, they are worth the price because they do a superior job of protecting your property. Fires are incredibly destructive and dangerous, but with fire-resistant materials, you can slow the spread of the flames and keep everyone safer.
Order from Firefree
At Firefree, you can order fire-resistant coatings and flame retardant to improve fire safety in your building. We have tested all our products and keep them at a budget-friendly price because we know safety comes first. Visit our website today to learn more!