Fire Retardant/Intumescent Paint Coatings: How to Pick the Correct Product.

Intumescent coatings or fire retardant paints are often used in large-scale projects, in industrial settings, public spaces, brand-new large facilities, new build houses or in enclosed spaces with an increased risk of fire. They are also often a requirement in places which are often exposed to extreme heat, or in places where there are regular open flames. These spaces might include industrial kitchens, hotels and welding workshops, for example. Intumescent paint for steel is often a requirement if metal which is near engines, exhaust pipes, kitchen equipment, boilers or barbecues needs to be painted.

How To Apply Fire Retardant Paint Paint

Applying fire retardant paint uses exactly the same process as applying any other paint. No specialist skills are required to use it, and a safety certificate can be issued without the worker needing to undergo any specific training or taking any courses. The paint is easy to use and apply. No specialist equipment is required; the paint can be applied using brushes, rollers or spray equipment, according to the needs and preferences of the person doing the painting. Occasionally, the paint may need to be mixed using mechanical equipment, as it can sometimes set too hard to be stirred by hand, but this is often not the case.

Regulations for Intumescent Paint

If you are looking for fire retardant paint in order to make sure that your project or build complies with fire safety standards and regulations, the best thing to do is to double-check the regulations and standards to see how specific the requirements are. Depending on the project, the choice of paint may be very restricted, and it is, therefore, best to read the details carefully before trying to select a paint.

If you are in doubt about which fire retardant paint you should be using, you can contact your insurance company to double-check the standards they require to cover you for damages in the case of a fire. You can also check with your legal representative to ensure that the paint you have chosen complies with any legal standards you must adhere to.

Reputable suppliers of fire retardant paint for steel will be able to provide a certificate for the product, and the paint will also carry the BSI mark somewhere on the packaging. If the BSI mark is not present, the paint has not been proven to be fire retardant to the extent it promises.


Certificates can be issued in order to prove compliance with fire regulation standards. These certificates are often required by insurance companies and building control to ensure that the necessary steps have been taken to prevent fire in public buildings. If you require a certificate, ensure that the paint meets the health and safety requirements for your building and that a certificate can be supplied before purchasing the paint product.

When it comes to selecting the paint you require, pay close attention to the name of the product. The word 'intumescent' is often used interchangeably with the term 'fire retardant'. Intumescent paint performs the same job as fire-retardant paint, so don't be put off if you see this word in the name. The number listed after the name of the paint refers to the number of minutes for which the paint will provide protection in the event of a fire. These numbers work in much the same way as fire doors. Fire retardant paint usually comes with protection for 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes and will, therefore, carry one of these numbers in the product name.

By speaking to your insurance provider, consulting with the legal advisor for your project or by looking up the health and safety regulations, you should be able to find out quite easily the number of minutes' protection which you require from your fire retardant paint.

Direct application of Fire Retardant Paint

If you require fire retardant paint to be applied directly to steel, check that it can be used on metal before you purchase the product. There are lots of different types of fire retardant paint, and only specific varieties are suitable for use on steel and other types of metal. Double-check that the paint you have chosen can be applied directly to the metal before you purchase it to make sure that it is suitable.

If you are painting a surface which has already been coated, check the technical data sheet of the paint before applying. Most fire retardant paints for use on steel will require you to strip the paint back to expose the plain metal. Any coats of other paint underneath can decrease the effectiveness of the fire retardant paint, and in some circumstances render it useless. Whichever fire retardant paint you choose, make sure to follow the instructions carefully so that you can be sure that the paint will perform correctly in the case of fire.

What is Intumescent Paint? (Video)

Steelmaster 600WF

So whether you are looking to adhere to health and safety standards for a new project, renovate an existing place to comply with insurance requirements or are just being extra-cautious with your environment, choosing the right paint should be a straightforward process.

Need More Help with Intumescent Coatings?

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