Fire Rated Spray Foam Insulation

Fire Rated Spray Foam Insulation

Posted by Ecostar Insulation on May 10, 2021

Fire Rated Spray foam insulation is one of the best insulation methods to improve your home’s energy efficiency while preserving a safe and healthy life. In fact, spray foam can reduce your monthly energy bills by up to 40%. Well, what about its fire proof properties? Is fire rated spray foam insulation flammable? Does it provide any durability against unexpected fires? These are only some of the questions that should be at the top of the list when it comes to safe insulation practices.  

 

EcoStar insulation products and services use fireproofing materials and chemicals that comply with the requirements set by the Ontario Building Code. With that said, below you will see a more detailed explanation of how fire rated spray foam insulation manages to prevent your building from igniting like matchsticks.  Read on…

Is Spray foam insulation fire resistant?

Unfortunately, all types of insulation are flammable. While spray foam insulation is not fire resistant, the material is treated with flame retardants to lower the possibility of igniting and burning when exposed to sufficient heat sources. When spray foam insulation material is mixed with fire retardant chemicals, it makes the foam more difficult to burn, eventually giving the residents valuable minutes to escape and the firefighters to come and respond. Another alternative to consider is cementitious fireproofing. It protects the building structure by failure in fire events. By applying cementitious fireproofing to your building perimeter you can establish a non-combustible and corrosion-resistant structure. Furthermore, you can apply a thermal barrier and/or ignition barrier to eventually lower the risk of unexpected fires. 

 

Thermal Barrier

In addition to fire rated spray foam insulation, there are other methods used to help prevent damages from fire. A thermal barrier, for example, is a layer of non-combustible material (drywall, plywood or gypsum board) that is positioned between spray foam insulation and the interior living space. DC-315 paint can also serve as a thermal barrier. It is sprayed directly onto the foam material at a specific pressure. If you are going to apply spray foam on your building, you should also consider taking advantage of the benefits of a thermal barrier. If there is an unexpected fire on the building, thermal barriers can separate the combustible spray foam insulation material to help prevent fire. According to the International Building Code (IBC), and the International Residential Code (IRC), using thermal as well as ignition barriers is of utmost importance and can decrease chances of fires by 50%. 

Is an ignition barrier needed?

Fire rated spray foam insulation is indeed treated with flame retardants so rest assured as it is safe enough and compliant with Ontario Building Code Regulations. However, to further increase the efforts of creating a fire resistant living, working and storage space, an ignition barrier is worth considering. Actually, it is also set as a requirement by the International Residential Code (IRC), to help prevent damages from fire. Unlike thermal barriers, ignition barriers are required to be applied in crawl spaces, attics, or other areas used only for utilities or servicing. Designed for egress, ignition barriers can provide a valuable 5+ minute time window. If the storage space is not connected with other spaces, or if the space can not be accessed without cutting into it, you may not need an ignition barrier. 

Is closed cell spray foam fire resistant? 

Insulation materials like fiberglass, cellulose, and closed cell spray foam, are all treated with flame retardants to eventually increase the efforts in making the material as fire-resistant as possible. The majority of them are safe and not harmful to your health for as long as they are kept away from you. In terms of fire resistance, closed cell spray foam is class 1 fire rated. Meaning it won't serve as a catalyst in cases of fire and it can also self-extinguish after the flame is removed. Fire rated closed cell spray foam is used as an excellent solution towards lowering the smoke and gas as it provides up to 4 hours of fire rating resistance.

 

Open Cell vs Closed Cell Foam, which to choose?

Spray foam insulation works very well in a variety of situations. It is used to boost energy efficiency by being applied on the roof, ceiling, and the walls of a building. There are two types of spray foam insulation that are widely used and each has its unique qualities and benefits. Depending on the budget, the area of installation, and the energy efficiency goals, you may need one of these insulation types. Check their properties below...

Open Cell Foam 

There are a considerable number of advantages to open cell foam. First, it is less expensive than closed cell foam. Also, open cell uses less material to come up with a desired R-Value. Furthermore, open cell foam can block air leakages. The drawback that also makes it less useful and efficient in cold climates is the inability to prevent water vapour. Unless something is done about it (applying a polyethylene vapour barrier) walls insulated with open cell foam are prone to mold growing. In terms of insulation, open cell foam delivers from R 3.5 up to R 3.7 R-Value per inch. It can be used on any perimeter that separates an indoor space from an outdoor space.

Closed Cell Foam 

Considered as the most suitable insulation type for cold climates where preserving heat indoors is a necessity, closed cell foam provides a high R-Value per inch of thickness and can act as its own vapor barrier. Closed cell foam can block air leakages completely, reducing this way, heat loss. In terms of insulation, closed cell foam delivers a R 6.0 per inch R-Value. In other words, closed cell spray foam insulation has more specific qualities that make it work well for certain applications. It is the foam of choice for cold climates. Eventually, closed cell  is strong and firm, so much that it can help increase the strength of your building structure.

 

Why Ecostar?

EcoStar Insulation Company has been serving the Greater Toronto Area and the suburban communities with top-notch insulation services and products since 2008. We are dedicated to helping our customers with their insulation plans, whether it be a small maintenance issue or a top to bottom insulation project. Let us know if you need counseling or want to take advantage of our fire rated spray foam insulation services. Contact us to get a free estimate today.

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