Intumescent paint coating frequently-asked questions for everyone in the construction industry

all your questions answered

Below are a number of questions and answers about intumescent coating that are of general interest. Simply click on the question to see the answer.

what intumescent paint coating products should I be using?

Various intumescent coating products are designed to excel in different circumstances, so selecting the right one for your project requirements is essential.

This is a highly specialised field though and an accredited intumescent coating system contractor should be consulted.

can anyone buy intumescent paint coating products?

Intumescent coating systems are engineered fire protection solutions which can only be applied by an approved applicator who has received certified training with the product. If applied without training product warranties may be voided.

how is an intumescent paint coating system applied?

Intumescent systems are applied using airless spray equipment.

Small areas, however, can usually be patched up if an architectural-level finish is not required..

can intumescent paint coatings be applied with a roller or brush?

Generally, no.

Intumescent coatings are very thick (72% volume solids or higher) and are usually applied using airless spray equipment to achieve an acceptable level of finish.

This also allows for accurate measurement of applied film thicknesses. Small areas that are not required to have an architectural-level finish may be touched up by brush.

Can any primer be applied before an intumescent paint coating?

No, only approved primers may be applied prior to an intumescent coating.

Check the manufacturer's approved primers list for compatibility or, alternatively, contact the manufacturer.

can the intumescent paint coatings be applied to galvanised steel?

Depending on the product, an intumescent system an intumescent coating system can be applied to galvanised steel but the steel substrate requires a light whip blast over the galvanisation before the intumescent is applied. It will need to be sand blasted according to SA1 (internal environment) or SA2.5 (external environment) as per AS1627.4 Metal finishing – Preparation and pretreatment of surfaces – Abrasive blast cleaning of steel.

Contact the product manufacturer for specific details.

can any top coat be applied over intumescent paint coatings?

Only approved top coats can be applied over intumescent coatings.

Contact the coating manufacturer - or visit their website - for a list of approved top coats for the coating in use.

what fire resistance level can intumescent paint coating systems achieve?

Most intumescent coating systems can achieve an FRL of up to 120 minutes.

This will depend on the mass of the steel member/s to be coated and the load the members are supporting.

The product manufacturer can help determine what thickness you need to achieve the required FRL.

can we achieve a 120/120/120 FRL for structural steel?

The three numbers represent the FRL for the structural adequacy (load), integrity (flames, gas, smokes) and insulation (temperature).

Generally intumescent paint for structural steel can only achieve the fire protection for the first figure - structural adequacy.

An intumescent-coated structural steel member could not prevent the movement of smoke and heat from one area to another.

Therefore intumescent coatings can only achieve a 120/-/- FRL (or 90/-/- or 60/-/-) for structural steel.

what is the benefit of core-filling with respect to fire protection?

Core-filling reduces the required thickness of intumescent coating by reducing the effective section factor Hp/A which, therefore, reduces the cost of the fire protection coating.

when should we consider core-filling?

Core-filling is commonly used for structural steel columns to increase the mass for hollow sections.

The injected concrete helps with the fire resistance for steel.

It is essential that consideration is given to ensuring that core-filling meets with the required fire resistant level (FRL) when the thickness of the section is too thin.

See more about core filling here.

how much does an intumescent paint coating system cost per square metre?

The thickness of an intumescent coating is calculated based on the FRL, steel geometry and weight as well as what type of load it is supporting.

It is therefore impossible to provide a square metre rate as it is different for every member.

how can i get a price for intumescent fire protection?

There are approved applicators and distributers of intumescent coating systems Australia-wide who would be happy to assist with a quote.

One of the leading companies specialising in this area is Swart & Sons.

visit the swart and sons website

who provides the certification for the fire protection?

The approved applicator/contractor should provide a certificate of compliance for the intumescent coating system and its application. This certification varies from state to state - check with your local regulatory authority for futher details.

is there a warranty for the intumescent paint coating product?

The manufacturer should be able to provide a warranty for their product. A warranty should be requested prior to the start of any project.

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