What is going on in the Industry?
A Fire Coating is something that has valid test results and can do what it claims in the test. A fire coating has a time-rating that can go anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours. Coatings can be used where E-119 assemblies (Horizontal and Vertical) are required. Those test must be achieved be a ICC certified lab and come with plenty of documentation
A Fire Retardant is something that deals flame spread. It deals with Class “A”, Class “B”, and Class “C”. These cannot be used in anything but fabrics and interior finishes. The most stringent test in the fire retardant market is the Room Corner Test. About 2% of fire retardant companies have the room corner test. 98% of fire retardants have the E-84 test.
Fire Retardant companies make false claims and have limited testing and they try to compete with Fire Coatings. This continues to give a bad reputation for legitimate companies that have spent millions in testing. It causes more work for building officials, Fire officials, and structure engineers. They have to weed out all the companies that say they have testing but never submit the real documentation it to the official.
How thick is your coating?
In order for a coating to work it must be applied to a certain thickness. Does anyone check the thickness of a fire coating?
Answer: The industry claims to but fire labs do not require a sample reading before the fire test is conducted. I have eight years of fire testing experience and I have been to the top six labs in the US and verified that they rely on the product manufacture to tell the thickness.
In Fact UL has pulled listings from Coating Companies because they has mis-marketed their product and failed quarterly inspections because the formula was not the same as was tested.
Intertek Testing has also pulled a product that had passed a 10 minute Class "A" testing and then was selling the product as a Class "A" extended 30 minute test. The test was never conducted.
NFPA has picked up on the dishonesty of the Fire Coating Industry.