Quick Guide to What Makes Contego a Superior Product


Contego Intumescent RFB (Reactive Fire Barrier) provides easy surface preparation, easy application instructions, and is water-based for easy cleanup.

There are ZERO toxins, VOCs, carcinogens and mutagens as per our ASTM D4017 “Results of Volatile Organic Compound Content (VOC) Testing of Contego (HS) Intumescent”, as well as having a no-foul-smell formulae. Because of this, Contego does not require specially contractors, specialized equipment, or specialized protective gear.

Contego can be shop applied, allowing direct-from-manufacturer solutions using standard painting equipment.


Contego offers super thin film technology, where beauty and form meet functionality and safety. It is aesthetically pleasing while meeting LEED standards.

Contego is top coat-able for perfect aesthetics. Top coatings increase fire resistance by about 25%.  This is based on our ASTM E-119 UL-263, ULC-S101 “Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Building Construction & Materials”, which evaluated the effect of a top coat of acrylic enamel using a highly flammable Rust-O-Leum alkyd based paint.

Contego lets you bring out the best in any design no matter what substrate needs protecting. According to our extensive test results from leading independent fire testing laboratories such as UL, Intertek, and Warrington, we can protect the following substrates with super thin coatings:

*Please note dry film thicknesses may vary depending on the substrate, the member size, and or assembly requirements by your local AHJ.


With unmatched latency, Contego is perhaps the only intumescent manufacturer using a dual redundant QC analysis of our entire production. We use UL, Materials Analytical Services and MAGI to critically evaluate our product on an ongoing basis using spectroflouroscopic analysis. Note how each graph over the past 20 years is essentially identical.*UPLOAD Link or graph here add chemical signature percentage. With these results, unopened product would have no expiration date.

Our revolutionary HS (high solids) formula adheres tightly to all substrates at a 630 PSI Adhesion rate, based on our ASTM D4541 “Pull-Off Strength of Coatings Using Portable Adhesion Testers”. This adhesion rate is twice that of our closest IFRM competitor and up-to 15x of SFRM “Spray On Fire Resistant Materials”. If your fireproofing material does not stick, or falls off, it can not protect the substrate in the event of a fire!

Our ASTM D-2240 test “Durometer hardness: Shore D” results were based on the average of five readings-Shore D value 66. Our ASTM D4060 “Standard Test Method for Abrasion resistance of Organic Coatings by the Taber Abraser” coating was applied at a wet mil thickness of 30 mils. Duplicate panels were tested, and the average weight loss was determined to be 295.4 mg.

Technical specs are great, but Contego also sets a NEW STANDARD in fire resistance, with a 0x0 Flame Spread & Smoke Production on structural steel, based on our UL-723/ULc-S102 ASTM-E84 “Fire Resistance Test”, as well as a 5×40 Flame Spread & Smoke Production on Dimensional Lumber or Wood products. This exceeds the results of other intumescent fireproofing materials results for steel. Now that is impressive.

Contego products are vetted, approved, and are listed as BASIS OF DESIGN on Global platforms MasterSpec and BSD Speclink  architectural software networks.

With all this proven performance, Contego International Inc. will back it up with our 10 year warranty, which is unheard of in the industry today!


Time is money, and you will save both with Contego.

With Contego’s intumescent technology, you can save both time and money on your project in the design phase, purchasing phase, and project phase. Let’s take a look at all three in a comparative value to both IFRM’s and SFRM’s in the market today.

Design Phase
Leading the way in the industry, our 2 HR intumescent fire rated D603 Floor-Ceiling UL-263, CAN/ULC-S10 Composite Steel Deck Design allows architects and structural engineers the flexibility to reduce the concrete slab by 40% per floor assembly and still meet building codes and fire ratings to achieve 1, 1 ½ , and 2 hour fire resistance throughout North America.

In the past, intumescent fireproofing was not an option on steel decking until our High Solids formula was tested, approved, and certified by UL Northbrook, IL to be applied to a floor ceiling assembly, thereby eliminating the need to install mesh flooring or drop ceilings to catch old technology such as SFRM debris and fibers prone to fall off the substrate ceiling.

Purchasing Phase 
Our product is super thin. In the past, intumescent paint has been expensive, and most of our competitors still are pricey due to the fact 3-4 times more of their product needs to be used to meet the same fire ratings as Contego. For example, on 2 hour fire rating see this chart:

You can use the data above and see the HUGE cost savings on both material purchased and labor factors used to apply the intumescent paint needed to build up the dry film thickness x multiple coats-increasing your cost per square foot.

We recommend you take one of your past, present, or future projects and find out how much you would save yourself with our Project Planner-Steel Calculator. Request your copy today.

Project Phase
One of the biggest challenges on a project is scheduling interchanging components, materials and sub-contractors from one day to the next and keeping the build on-time.

With Contego you can be rest assured there will be no schedule or sequencing issues. Traditional spray on fire resistant materials would require a general contractor to shut down or close off sections of the project so that HAZ-MAT team of sprayers could spray the highly toxic fireproofing materials. Contego does not require shut-downs or section close-offs. Our product contains ZERO VOCs, has no foul odor, and applicators can work alongside other subcontractors to keep your project moving forward.

So you can see, whether you are a designer, project planner, or lead contractor, the value of trying Contego on your next project from start to finish. The bigger the project, the bigger the savings for everyone.


When you specify Contego you are in good company. To learn about our global footprint and find out why businesses from hospitals, universities, concert venues and stadiums across Canada, to hotels, airports, airplanes and raceways in the United States, railways in Saudi Arabia, ferris wheels in Dubai, and manufacturing & shopping malls in Asia trust Contego to protect their properties. Here are some of our featured projects across the Globe

Honda Automotive, Shanghai New Ideal Company

Middle East:
Saudi Arabia Railway, The Dubai Eye

British Antarctic Halley Research Station

United States
Hyatt Hotels, Chicago Midway Airport, Stanford University, Michigan International Speedway, Bigelow Airspace, Malstrom Air Force Base, Walgreens

William Osler Brampton Civic Hospital, MUN Memorial University Core Sciences, Budweiser Stage, Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Investors Field, Scotia Centre, Tim Hortons Event Centre, Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada Post, Bombardier BRP

•To schedule a conference call or ZOOM meeting please email us at to book an appointment today!•

Contego Preparation and Application Information

When applying Contego intumescent paint, following the preparation and application guidelines developed over twenty years in business is a must.

If your preparation and application processes are in line with our published guidelines, Contego Intumescent will safely protect your project. We have created a series of six videos to help train your team. This first video explains how to safeguard your applicator, prepare the paint, and the type of equipment we recommend for our intumescent coating.

Contego comes in two thickness formulations:

The High Solids version (HS) has a 70% solids content and can be applied 30 mils wet, drying down to 21 mils. This preparation requires fewer coats to achieve a specified dry film thickness. Although thicker wet film coats can be applied with HS, the finish is essentially just as smooth as our Original version. The Original formula dries to approximately 50 percent of the applied amount. Due to its formulation, when the Original version dries, it is a bit smoother than HS.

The zero VOC content of both formulations has been demonstrated by testing ASTM D 3960-05, “Standard Test Method for Determining Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Content of Paints and Related Coatings.” This makes Contego a safe coating for both the applicator and those who live within the structures protected by Contego.

The difference between HS and Original is that HS has less water and more thixotropy. Otherwise, comparison of the FTIR spectraflouriscopic “signature” of each version show they are chemically identical, so both offer the same class-leading fire protection.

HS is generally used on large projects, especially on structural steel columns and beams. These structures are often not visible when the project is completed, but that aside Contego is generally thinner, lighter, and less expensive than any other intumescent coating available. Plus, applying HS makes the job go faster because it requires less product and spraying. The Original version is usually used when spraying isn’t an option and brush and roll applications are the only choice. Both versions can be top-coated to add color or sheen and to seal the surface from wind and moisture.

Regardless of where these two outstanding products are applied, there is never an issue with the material when application instructions are followed. When we hear from an applicator that they are experiencing a problem with the product, it is almost always determined that it was caused by poor preparation or application.

We hope you find this first video explaining how to safeguard your applicator, prepare the paint, and the type of equipment we recommend informative. Other videos in this series will soon be available that cover related subjects.

Contego International started 20 years ago in a small family restaurant in Indiana and now draws in talent from around the globe. Contego’s intumescent products are sold worldwide and are applied to many types of surfaces, including steel, wood, aluminum, drywall, foam insulation, and concrete. For more information, please explore the rest of our website, request an information kit or contact us.

Better Buildings = Healthier Workplace

Are you in line with the global initiative to build and maintain a better, safer environment?  Air Quality in the work environment – hospitals, schools, offices, commercial and residential buildings – is a big area of concern.

toxic cementitious coating

Clumpy, toxic cementatious coating

The WELL Standard* states “Pollutants generated indoors can lead to a variety of symptoms and health conditions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustion byproducts and airborne particulate matter are known to trigger nausea, headaches, asthma, respiratory irritation and allergies. While ambient outdoor air is often better quality, natural ventilation methods, operable doors and windows, and general building envelope infiltration can diminish indoor air quality if external air quality parameters are poor.”

READ THE MSDS of the Products being used on your project.  When considering required fire protection, old technology such as Spray Fire Resistant Materials (SFRM) may not meet all or any of these acceptable conditions:

  1. Formaldehyde levels less than 27 ppb.
  2. Total volatile organic compounds less than 500 μg/m³.
  3. Carbon monoxide less than 9 ppm.
  4. PM₂.₅ less than 15 μg/m³.
  5. PM₁₀ less than 50 μg/m³.
  6. Ozone less than 51 ppb.
  7. 0Radon less than 0.148 Bq/L [4 pCi/L] in the lowest occupied level of the project.
  8. Carbon monoxide levels less than 35 ppm.
  9. PM₂.₅ less than 35 μg/m³.
  10. Nitrogen dioxide less than 100 ppb.
  11. Formaldehyde less than 81 ppb.

A recent report from Mount Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine Work Safely with Spray-on Fireproofing states:

Those who burn, prepare, grind, sift or sell [gypsum] are, as I have often observed, afflicted with great difficulty breathing…                                                 
-Bernardino Ramazzini

Big changes in intumescent technology made “green” fire retardant paint possible. Contego intumescent changes fireproofing from the LEED nightmare associated with most fire protection products to a valuable LEED points generator.

You might know the history; environmentally friendly fireproofing was an oxymoron. Most fire retardant paint formulas were toxic, carcinogenic, and laced with high concentrations of VOCs. Those products are poisonous in the can and on the surface.  This translates to very toxic in burn conditions.

Causes eye irritation
Causes skin irritation
Causes severe respiratory tract irritation
May cause risk of lung disease (i.e. silicosis and/or lung cancer)

Clean latex-based, non toxic intumescent coating

Clean latex-based, non toxic intumescent coating

Do we really want to use this obsolete technology in our hospitals, schools, commercial & residential buildings?

Pressure treated fire resistant lumber (PTFR) is among the worst. According to USDA studies, the PTFR process is destructive to the lignins in the wood and would dissolve attachments, like screws and nails, unless they are stainless steel.

Then there are cellulosic and cementatious fireproofing materials. We’ve all seen them; they look like oatmeal when applied. The litigation list concerning these materials is lengthy and focused primarily on the constant deposition of tiny fibrils that get into the breathable air and are then inhaled straight into the lungs. Complaints in the majority of lawsuits have been centered on mesothelioma and other forms of cancer involving the respiratory system. In addition, when reading the MSDS of most intumescent coatings, the section on health risks contain clear warnings of both acute and chronic brain damage and damage to the central nervous system.  Not exactly environmentally friendly.

The reason for these unhealthy toxic problems is simple. The components that make various fireproofing technologies work— whether cellulosic spray-on materials, cementatious products, mastics or intumescents—are inherently unhealthy.

This was one of the big drivers when Contego began designing cutting edge solutions for the green market niche. The challenge was to find alternatives that performed as well or, in most cases, better than what was already out there, without the risks from the past formulations. This research led to our current formulation of ZERO VOCs (ASTM D4017) and ZERO TOXINS (BSS 7239-88).

Contego meets all the Benchmarks for LEED certification, Living Building Challenge, WELL Standard and Google Red List Material Standard.

GREEN isn’t the only advantage of Contego Fire Barrier Intumescent Latex. It applies at a fraction of the thickness (and weight) needed for a latex intumescent in the past. It’s finish is as smooth as paper, pure white in color and is formulated to accept any topcoat.

That’s why we at Contego say…”White is the new Green”. Air Quality in SFRM fireproofing materials are a PROBLEM, Contego’s IFRM fireproofing is the SOLUTION!  Get more information here.

Use Contego fire resistant paint is "green"

*The WELL Building Standard is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment.