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High-Performance Fire Resistant and Flame Retardant Paint

Fire Resistant Roofing for Data Centers – Use of FF88 Coating


Data Centers are usually constructed within large existing buildings that were originally constructed for other uses. One of the issues confronting this new construction within an existing structure is having to meet the new fire codes that are required for these occupied spaces. One of the areas that has shown to be problematic for fire resistant roofing is the roof assembly.

Most of these roof assemblies are made of wood components used in what is known as a “Palletized Roof System”. These systems, in most cases these systems were built to minimum code standards and cannot take the additional weight that is imposed on the assembly using a required 2 layers of 5/8” type X gypsum board.

Traditional Fire Resistant Roofing Solution:

Installation of two (2) layers of 5/8” type x gypsum boards would require; (a) extensive structural upgrade to accommodate the weight imposed by the gypsum board (4 lbs. per square foot), b) additional time required to properly install the gypsum board which results in high labor costs and an extended period of time in completing the work to meet the required fire rating. The additional labor required to complete the additional steps is time consuming, creating a substantial increase in cost.

Firefree 88 Solution:

There is a better solution to correct the fire code requirements. Currently the International Building Code (IBC) for fire code requirements provides two alternate method options for fire resistant roofing; (1) 1-Hour Roof assembly systems, (2) Roof Assembly Class 1 requirement per FM 4470 and NFPA 276 fire test standards.

Firefree 88 is currently the only intumescent coating that meets both the FM 4470 / NFPA 276 and the full scale one hour on wood assemblies (ceiling, roof). The advantages of using the Firefree 88 intumescent coating are (1) the ease of application and (2) the minimal weight load to the existing assembly (4 to 5 ounces per square foot).

Firefree 88 has been approved for fire resistant roofing on a number of Data Centers representing a 60% cost saving on these projects.

As a comparison for the one-hour fire rating, using a palletized roof system made up of Glulam beam supports with 4” x 12” over spanned beams at 8’o.c with 2” x 4” rafters at 24” o.c. with ½” plywood roof sheathing. Based on the size of the roof area (180,000 sf) would have required 6 months of structural upgrade work and gypsum installation at a cost of $1,420.000.00. The labor and material cost were at $17.75 sf.

Using the Firefree 88 at a specified dry film coating thickness, applied in four simple coats, the project was completed in 1 month at a labor and materials cost of $ 485,000.00. The material and labor costs were at $6.06 sf cost (material cost was $4.16 sf).

At a specified coating thickness of 55 mils dry applied, the project was completed in 1 month at a labor and materials cost of $485,000.00. The material cost was $4.16 per square foot. Using the FM 4470 test standard, at a 40 mils dry coating application the material cost can be further reduced to an average of $ 2.98 ft. There would be an additional savings on the labor application due to the reduction in material being required.