Why Intumescent Coatings Are Important

Intumescent coatings are a crucial fire protection solution. When high temperatures approach a coated area, the coating experiences a thermo-chemical reaction that forces the coating to expand and lose some of its density. The result is outstanding protection for a variety of building elements from open flames and potentially high temperatures.

Here is an overview of the advantages of intumescent coatings:

  • Durability:
    Intumescent coatings are known for their durability. If hit, they will not be damaged or flake off. They’re designed to protect their surfaces for many years.
  • Aesthetics:
    Intumescent coatings come in a wide range of colors. This means you can use them as an aesthetic element in a building to highlight certain elements and to complement the other colors in your buildings.
  • Simple application and maintenance:
    Intumescent coatings are known for their ease of installation and maintenance. It doesn’t take much work to get the coating applied and to keep it in good condition for years to come.
  • Versatility:
    You can install intumescent coatings on a wide range of surfaces, and do so both on- and off-site.

An overview of intumescent coatings and their applications

There are a couple primary categories of intumescent coatings: thick and thin film.

Thick film intumescent coatings were originally designed to be used in off-shore applications. They’re generally made out of solvent-free epoxy-based products, and can have thicknesses of up to 25 mm.

Thin film intumescent coatings will usually be water- or solvent-based coatings, and have thicknesses of less than 5 mm.

Keep in mind that greater thickness means greater protection. However, not all applications need the same level of protection, so it may very well be overkill for a particular application to have a thick film coating applied.

The settings in which the coatings may be used are numerous. These coatings are designed to resemble normal paint, so they can be used on a wide range of materials and in many different environments. Structural steel, wood, gypsum and concrete are all examples of materials that can be coated with intumescent coatings.

The primary purpose of the coatings is always to maintain structural integrity until the fire can be extinguished. This is why there are often building codes that require commercial and industrial facilities in particular to apply these coatings to certain components.

Any intumescent coating is designed to decrease in density and increase in volume when exposed to extreme heat. This is what turns them into barriers that are greater than the barriers regular paint would provide. The flame resistance of these coatings helps steel structures maintain their strength even when fires occur, which greatly extends the amount of time it takes for the steel to reach temperatures at which it may experience critical failure and gives occupants of the building more time to escape while firefighters work.

To learn more about your various options with regard to intumescent coatings and the advantages of certain types of intumescent coatings you might use at your particular building, reach out to the team at ACMS Group today to arrange a consultation.

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