Learning Center



FAQS

What is fire resistance?

The fire resistance of a steel component is its ability to withstand fire for a period of time under conditions of heat intensity.

Why does steel require fire protection?

Critical failure of steel occurs when the steel reaches 537°C (1,000°F). At this point, unprotected steel is reduced to 60% of its original strength, is prone to bend and deflect and the structural load stability and physical characteristics of steel is compromised.

What is a Passive Fire Protection Material?

Passive fire protection materials are designed to safeguard the structural integrity of steel under fire conditions and to maintain safe temperatures for a specified period of time.

Who Determines the Fire Resistance Rating?

Model building codes or building regulations determine fire resistance ratings of the structural elements for various building types, based on the building type and occupancy classifications. Fire ratings range from 1 to 4 hours. Thicknesses of the fire resistive materials are dependent on the type of construction, material being used and the hourly rating required.

What is a Spray-Applied Fire Resistive Material (SFRM)?

In the past, industry defined product classifications as “Cementitious Mixtures” or “Sprayed Fiber” materials. These product classifications have been withdrawn and combined to form a new single product classification called Spray-Applied Fire Resistive Material (SFRM).

The term “cementitious” often misleads design professionals to believe that the product contains cement, when in fact, most commercial density fireproofing products called “cementitious” do not. Ironically, most of the materials that were included in the “Sprayed Fiber” category actually do contain cement.

The industry has categorized SFRMs as either “Wet Spray” or “Dry Spray” materials. These terms better describe the manner in which the material is mixed, conveyed and applied.

What is an Intumescent Coating?

Intumescent Fire Resistance Coatings are paint-like coatings that expand and char in a fire to insulate structural steel for up to 4-hours.

Thin Film Intumescent Coatings give Architects the ability to design using structural steel that can be decorative and aesthetically pleasing. Intumescent Coatings can be top coated to match their surroundings and allow steel to be left exposed to view while providing the necessary fire resistance ratings.

Where should I use a low density material?

ISOLATEK® Type 300 and ISOLATEK® Type II are specified within the American Institute of Architects (AIA) MasterSpec – Section 07811 for concealed applications of Sprayed Fire Resistive Materials (i.e. above ceilings, behind walls, elevator shafts, etc.).

Where should I use a medium or high-density material?

ISOLATEK® Type 400, ISOLATEK® Type HP and ISOLATEK® Type M-II, high-density SFRM, are specified within the American Institute of Architects (AIA) MasterSpec – Section 07811 for Exposed Sprayed Fire Resistive Material (i.e. parking garage, canopies, and storage areas).

Where should I use ISOLATEK® Type CB?

ISOLATEK® Type CB is a rigid, mineral wool board that is mechanically fastened to structural steel to provide up to 4-hour fire protection.

Type CB is ideally suited to protect structural steel in areas where there is limited clearance around perimeter walls, retrofit applications, seismic activity zones, moment connection framing and abatement projects where speed and dry application are required.

There is no need for tarping, masking, ventilating or heating of the work area since there is no minimum application temperature.

Do your products contain asbestos?

All products manufactured by Isolatek International contain no detectable asbestos. Ensure that all fire protection material suppliers provide independent test verification per EPA/600/R-93/116.

How long does it take for the material to dry?

Depending upon thicknesses, environment conditions (i.e. temperature, air-flow, moisture, etc.), the period required for ISOLATEK® Spray-Applied Fire Resistive Materials (SFRMs) to fully cure is 14 to 28 days or more.

This assumes that ventilation is properly provided, particularly when spraying in enclosed areas such as basements, stairwells, shafts, and small rooms. A minimum of 4 complete air exchanges per hour is required until the material is dry.

What do I do with painted / primed steel with SFRMs?

Traditionally sprayed fireproofing is applied to bare steel. Gypsum based products tend to be less chemically aggressive than cement –based products. Where using cement based products, care must be taken when applying to specific primer type, such as alkyd primers. The primer coating must be identified and approved by Isolatek prior to fire protection.

Isolatek International has tested a wide array of paints/primers for compatibility with our fireproofing products to be used on wide flange beams and columns. A painted/primed beam or column must achieve a minimum average measurement of 80% and a minimum individual measurement of 50% of the manufacturer’s published bond strength on a clean uncoated 1/8 inch thick plate when tested in accordance with ASTM E736; the beam flange must not exceed 12 inches; the column flange must not exceed 16 inches; and the beams and column web must not exceed 16 inches. If the painted/primed members do not meet all of the above conditions, mechanical reinforcement (metal lath, steel studs) must be fastened to the substrate prior to fire protection.

Contact Isolatek Technical Services Department to determine compatibility of the primer used.

What types of primers can be used with ISOLATEK® Intumescent Coatings?

Isolatek has evaluated the compatibility of primers under laboratory conditions in accordance with ASTM D4541-95 (Standard Test Method for Pull-Off Strength of Coatings Using Portable Adhesion Testers). Results of our investigation indicate that certain primers are compatible with the intumescent basecoat, provided ISOLATEK Types WB 3, WB 4 or WB 5 are applied in accordance with our written application/installation instructions and primer manufacturer guidelines are followed. You can find a copy of our complete primer list by visiting our Product Information Section.

In following industry practice, the direct application of Intumescent Coatings over zinc-rich primers without the use of an approved barrier / tie coat is not recommended. When left exposed for long periods, zinc rich coatings may form a layer of zinc salts on the surface which may inhibit adhesion of the Intumescent Topcoat. Contact Isolatek International Technical Services for further information.

What do I do if the roof deck is painted?

If a steel deck is to be painted/primed, it must be listed in the specified Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Design as a classified painted deck for the particular fire protection product and certified for fire test compatibility by the deck manufacturer for the exact deck designation. ISOLATEK® Type EBS (mixed as an adhesive) is required on the underside of all roof deck.

The deck manufacturer must provide written confirmation that the paint/primer and the deck supplied to the project are those which are classified by UL. In addition, the deck must be listed in the UL roof assembly being utilized and Isolatek must confirm paint/primer adhesion compatibility.

ISOLATEK® Type CB is an ideal solution to painted roof decks and a wider variety of project sequencing issues that typically result in time and material patching. Include Type CB in all your SFRM base specifications.

For situations where the deck utilized on a project is painted, contact the deck manufacturer and/or Isolatek International to determine if the deck and paint is UL Classified.

Which of your fireproofing products can be exposed to the weather?

Our dry mix, portland cement based ISOLATEK® Type II and ISOLATEK® Type HP are the only low density (commercial density) and medium density SFRMs that have been subjected to advanced exterior exposure conditions at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and have shown satisfactory physical and fire resistance performance, resulting in a “Investigated for Exterior Use” classification by UL.
ISOLATEK® Type M-II, high density SFRM, is also classified by UL as “Investigated for Exterior Use”.
Our ISOLATEK® Type WB 4 Intumescent Coating is a water-based, intumescent coating consisting of polyvinyl acetate resins and inorganic fillers for the fire protection of structural steel. ISOLATEK® Type WB 4, in conjunction with ISOLATEK® Type Topseal, is a water-based system investigated by UL for exterior applications. An additional protective topcoat, ISOLATEK Type Topseal, is applied over the ISOLATEK Intumescent coating in conjunction with an exterior finish coat. The topcoat material can be any colour match to provide a durable, decorative, architectural finish.

Can ISOLATEK® fireproofing products be painted?

Yes, they can be painted. When applying paint as a top coat or colour coat over a product, it is required that the paint be non-bridging water-based latex. The paint should be applied over the material with the minimum amount required so as to avoid saturating the material.

When is a sealer required?

In areas where there is expected to be a greater than normal amount of air movement such as elevator shafts or areas adjacent to exhaust fans, it is recommended that our ISOLATEK® Type EBS be applied as a sealer. Otherwise, a sealer or topcoat is considered optional, as we do not require a sealer in maintaining the fire rating or physical properties of the SFRM.

How do I determine thickness?

Thickness of the fire protection material is dependent upon the assembly in which it is being applied. The following is a partial list of the basic information required by the estimator to determine the proper Underwriters Laboratories (UL) assembly or fire test assessment.

• Type of deck and depth of metal deck
• Type of topping on deck (i.e. concrete or insulation type and thickness)
• Beam sizes supporting deck
• Type of column and column sizes
• Hourly rating required

Once an assembly is determined and a UL Design is selected, the design will list the proper thicknesses required.

Is a primer required for ISOLATEK® Intumescent Coating?

Before applying ISOLATEK® Intumescent Coatings to structural steel, the steel must be primed with a suitable primer. This is a requirement by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) in the specific design. The primer must be applied in accordance with the primer manufacturer’s written instructions.

What are Industry Standard temperature requirements?

It is an industry standard for Spray-Applied Fire Resistive Materials (SFRMs) that the temperature at the job site must be greater than 4°C (40°F). A minimum substrate and ambient temperature of 4°C (40°F) shall be maintained prior to, during, and for a minimum of 24 hours after the application.

For ISOLATEK® Intumescent Coatings, the minimum ambient temperature must be between 10°C (50°F) and 38°C (100°F). A minimum substrate and ambient temperature of 10°C (50°F) shall be maintained prior to, during and a minimum of 72 hours after application.
If necessary, tarp enclosures and temporary heat may be utilized to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in the application areas.

These are the standards called out and accepted by the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industries – International (AWCI) as wells as The National Fireproofing Contractors Association (NFCA).

Who can install ISOLATEK® materials?

ISOLATEK® fireproofing materials are purchased and installed only by applicators and companies who are recognized by Isolatek International.

How can I obtain a technical letter or engineering judgement?

You can obtain Technical Letters, Submittal Information and Engineering Judgments by contacting Isolatek Technical Services via our Hotline at 973-347-1200 (Option 1), Fax at 973-347-6730 or email at technical@isolatek.com.

All Isolatek International technical related letters and documentation must be issued through the Isolatek International Corporate Technical Services Department.