What are fire retardants exactly, and why are some façade cladding manufacturers using them? Read the true story about fire retardants and the risk of using building materials that have fire retardants in them.
What are fire retardants?
Fire retardants are chemical additives that are mostly used with combustible materials, to slow down the ignition of these materials. These fire retardants are consumed when exposed to a fire; they slow down the combustibility but do not reduce it. There will always be a point in time where fire retardants are completely consumed. At that moment, they will stop doing their work and all calorific value present in the façade panels used will then be consumed by the fire. This will not only give more fuel to the fire, but also generates more heat and toxic smoke.
As SBI tests – one of the most important parts of the Euroclass classification tests – last for only a limited amount of time, fire retardants are used by some manufacturers of façade cladding types that have a high calorific value by nature. These fire retardants then mask these high calorific values, giving them a relatively high Euroclass B score. Not every B board is the same – find out more here.
Are fire retardants safe?
Non-combustible boards do not need fire retardants, as they are truly firesafe by nature. As fire retardants are frequently used to mask high calorific value in combustible materials, this is a good reason to be suspicious about manufacturers using them. Make sure to ask the right questions and get yourself informed to make the right decisions. When you choose non-combustible (Euroclass A1 or A2) building materials, you’re always on the safe side.
What is the difference between fire retardant and fire resistant?
Fire resistance is always about the complete picture of fire safety in a building. The focus here is that when a fire occurs, the risk/time of it spreading between separate rooms or floors (compartments) of a building should be as limited as possible.
Read more about fire resistance and other fire related terms in our complete fire terminology dictionary.