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Fire Rated Spray Foam Insulation: Spotlight On SafetyBy admin
Tuesday, 3 September 2019
Having excellent insulation is always a great idea. It can reduce your energy bills, make your home feel warmer and more comfortable-and it can even add value to your home.
But if the insulation you choose does not meet current fire safety regulations, you will need to remove it and start again.
Basics like using a spray foam that is fire resistant is essential, and you will always be pleased that you ensured your insulation was safe.
In the past, the best insulation was considered to be asbestos, simply because it was almost fireproof. This made it an excellent barrier to both moisture and heat and it offered excellent thermal qualities as well.
However, as we all know, asbestos was soon found to be highly dangerous when breathed in and is no longer used. In fact, it is often carefully removed from older buildings in case it poses a risk.
Other insulation such as mineral wool, natural wool, rockwool and rigid boards also offer good fire ratings – but spray foam insulation can be one of the best as long as you choose a contractor who takes this part of their job seriously, and uses the right type of spray foam.
What Is Spray Foam Insulation?
Spray foam is a mix of isocyanate and polyol resin that is forced together under pressure, with the resultant chemical reaction increasing its volume by up to 60 percent.
Despite this expansion, the material is very dense and perfect for filling awkward spaces, or for use in wall cavities. The foam is sprayed by an expert and an entire loft can be completed within just a few short hours.
There are two main types of spray foam – open cell and closed cell. The later is more dense, and is a good sound barrier, while the open celled variety a good insulator, as it allows air to pass through without losing heat.
In the UK, it is recommended that all flammable building materials should be hidden behind fire resistant plasterboards or render. This includes those types of insulation that are more flammable
UK Fire Safety Regulations: The Lowdown
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is expected that fire safety regulations regarding insulation are likely to be redrawn. This is because in that case, it was the use of an external insulation cladding that was thought to be a main contributor to the spread of the fire.
However, for domestic internal insulation this is the current situation.
The Government has produced statutory guidance which they have published as part of the Approved Documents for Building Regulations. As far as building materials go, the main emphasis is on how long the material will take before it catches fire or if it produces a toxic smoke.
These ratings are known as Euroclasses and were introduced in 2000 and they are used to compare building products including insulation.
The classifications range from F (for very flammable) through to A1 – the least flammable. There are a number of classifications within this which measure for smoke development and burning droplets.
The aim is that the residents should be able to leave the building before the materials within the home catch alight to the extent that the structure begins to fail. If a material is given a rating of one hour, it means that it should be able to hold back a fire of less than 140 degrees for that entire hour – allowing escape.
While the standard materials used in spray foams are already fire resistant, manufacturers have come up with ranges of products that are even more so. These are achieving a spread of flame Class 0 in accordance with documents B of the building regulations act 2000
Is Spray Foam Fire Resistant?
We all know that fire needs oxygen to burn, and one of the best things about the density of spray foam is the fact that it contains very little air. This is what makes it so good as an insulator and as a barrier to sound. This is also one of the reasons it is resistant to fire.
In fact it is considered to be fully fire retardant. This means that while it can burn, it does not spread fire, and will usually go out once the source of the fire has gone.
The material does not melt either, making it free from harmful droplets that can spread fire quickly.
Fire Resistant Spray Foams: Specifications For Safety
While the standard materials used in spray foams are already fire resistant, manufacturers have come up with ranges of products that are even more so. These are achieving a spread of flame Class 0 in accordance with documents B of the building regulations act 2000.
All this means that it is significantly more fire resistant than the untreated foams.
The use of these fire resistant additives allows for the insulation to be used in exposed areas and it doesn’t have to be hidden behind fire resistant materials – unlike some other insulation materials.
The British Urethane Foam Contractor Association states that all foam insulation should meet at minimum of Class 0 and the BS 476 Part 6 Fire Propagation Test which looks at how quickly fire spreads. If it passes this criteria, it can be used in most applications, both in domestic dwellings and commercially.
As you can see, spray foam is an excellent all round product. But with homeowners rightfully concerned about the fire safety of the materials used to build their homes, it is worth checking that the contractor you choose uses fire resistant spray foam as standard!
Fire Rated Spray Foam Insulation: Additional Benefits
We can see that spray foam is an excellent way to prevent the spread of fire through your home, and if used inside internal walls, it would work just as well as a fire door. But there are so many other reasons that you might want to use spray foam inside your home, including the following:
● It offers an excellent thermal barrier, decreasing energy use in your home by as much as 40% and decreasing your energy bills by around £300 per year. Your home will be warmer and more comfortable too.
● Your home will also be more dry as spray foam is entirely waterproof. If used on the underside of your roof, you will find that leaks disappear. However it makes good sense to fix a damaged roof before your use foam insulation underneath it.
● Foam spray insulation lasts for as long as 30 years, making it a savvy financial investment.
● While the individual components can be harmful to our health, once combined and set, spray foam is inert and will not release harmful gases.
● 100mm of spray foam insulation offers the same thermal load as 270mm of standard mineral wool insulation. This means that it takes up much less space, and can even be quicker to install.
● Spray foam is perfect for use in lofts that have been converted as it doesn’t interfere with head height and it can easily be hidden behind plasterboard for a smooth finish.
● Spray foam is an excellent acoustic barrier, and will prevent noise from travelling from room to room, or from your neighbour.
● Your can use spray foam to lag your pipes to prevent them from freezing in the winter, and to ensure that your hot water stays hot.
As you can see, spray foam is an excellent all round product. But with homeowners rightfully concerned about the fire safety of the materials used to build their homes, it is worth checking that the contractor you choose uses fire resistant spray foam as standard.
Seeking out a fire retardant solution that puts safety at the top of the agenda? Spray foam meets all the latest specifications-making it a highly preferable option. Discover more of the brilliant benefits of insulating with this multi-purpose product today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!
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