How to Protect Against the Vulnerabilities of Steel Structures

Posted by Ecostar Insulation on June 14, 2023

Most modern buildings are constructed with steel structures. Steel is a metal alloy that is engineered for performance, durability, strength, and flexibility. While steel is still an incredibly beneficial material for commercial construction, there are safety measures that must be taken to protect the property and the people who will end up occupying it. Fireproofing in Toronto is one mandatory requirement for steel construction designed to protect buildings from damage or collapse. EcoStar Insulation, is a leading fireproofing company, offering high-quality and reliable fire protection services. 

Read on to learn more about how you can protect against the vulnerabilities of steel structures with EcoStar Insulation. 

Vulnerabilities of Steel Structures & Fire

fireproofing companyDespite its many advantages when compared to alternative material choices, steel comes with some drawbacks when exposed to high-temperature or flames. Leveraging high-quality fireproofing in Toronto can mitigate these effects or slow the onset of these problems. 

Loss of Strength

As steel beams and structural elements become exposed to high levels of heat, its structural strength decreases, which in turn reduces its load-bearing capacity. As this diminishment in strength continues with ongoing subjection to heat, thermal expansion will cause the material to distort and buckle, compromising the structural integrity of the building. When steel structures lose strength, it increases the potential of collapse. With the right fireproofing materials, the steel’s exposure to heat is slowed significantly to preserve the integrity of the building.

Softening Steel

Thermal softening occurs when the structure of steel changes as a result of heat exposure, which reduces the hardness of the material. This is often the result of building fires and causes the building's steel elements to become deformed. Thermal steel softening alters the stability and resilience of the steel, which can cause changes to the building structure, substantially affecting the building’s ability to withstand its load and its ability to stay upright. 

Reduction in Ductility

Ductility in construction is essential to a building’s ability to bear weight. When ductility is reduced as a result of a fire, the steel is less capable of deforming to hold its weight without fracturing. Reduction in ductility leaves steel buildings structures more brittle and prone to sudden failure.

Thermal Expansion and Contraction 

Steel expands when exposed to high temperatures and contracts upon cooling. Even after a fire is put out, this thermal expansion and subsequent contraction induces stress within the steel structure, which may result in cracking or distortion that can alter the stability and structural integrity of a building. 

Solutions from a Fireproofing Company

At EcoStar Insulation, a leading fireproofing company serving the Greater Toronto Area, we offer two high-quality and reliable fireproofing options, cementitious fireproofing and intumescent fireproofing in Toronto. Cementitious fireproofing in Toronto is a cost-effective barrier that protects fire from reaching steel elements. It also minimizes smoke and water related damage which helps preserve the health of those evacuating a burning building. Intumescent fireproofing, on the other hand, is a coating that adapts to the shape of steel structures and swells when heated to stop and slow heat from reaching integral building elements. Approved and durable fireproofing for your commercial and residential properties has the ability to save lives and costs by preserving steel structural elements. 

Explore your fireproofing options with EcoStar Insulation. 

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