Why should steel be protected from fire? After all, it is extremely strong, hard and non-flammable–These are true values of steel, but what is not commonly known is that steel loses 50% of its strength when it reaches 1100°F (600°C). At this temperature the steel goes “plastic” meaning it gives up its ability to support a structure. An image of steel failing due to heat is the horrible picture implanted in most adult minds of the World Trade Center collapsing due to the failure of the steel when exposed to the 2000°+F (1093°C) temperature caused by the jet fuel fire.
All steel structures should be protected from fire and heat to help maintain their strength and create adequate egress time for those inside the structure. Protecting the building itself is important, but saving lives is more important.
There are several ways to protect steel, none of which are as thorough and acceptable as an intumescent fire retardant latex coating like CONTEGO.
Alternate spray protectors, such as cementatious coatings, are less expensive but are dirty to apply, have an ugly finish and are easily fractured away from the treated substrate. Covering steel with drywall is an effective but costly and time-consuming method of protection, in addition to taking up considerably more space.
Here are the 5 most important benefits of using Contego Fire Barrier Latex Intumescent to protect steel:
1. Contego is applied like regular paint. Unlike some other intumescents or cement-based materials that require high-pressure sprayers and certified applicators, Contego works with a standard paint sprayer, brush or roller—lowering the applied cost considerably.
2. Contego is non-toxic. It makes no sense to protect a substrate from fire while poisoning the atmosphere around it. Contego may be the only VOC-free intumescent product that generates non-toxic smoke during a fire.
3. Contego has an incredibly smooth finish. Standard application results in a beautifully smooth Level 3 Architectural Finish. Contego can be top-coated with any quality acrylic enamel for surface protection and decorative purposes. Unlike many intumescents, top-coating Contego actually increases its fire resistance by 20% or more.
4. Contego is tested and re-tested by certified labs around the world. When Contego states it will provide a certain protection time (1, 2, 3 hour) by using a specified thickness, those claims are supported and confirmed by independent laboratory tests. You can view these tests on our structural steel page by clicking here.
5. Contego is thin-film. This means most projects treated with Contego (versus competitors) will require less product, thereby reducing the overall cost.
These are just a few of the remarkable benefits of using Contego intumescent fire retardant on steel. You can review some of the projects that have chosen Contego to protect their expensive structures (some of which are located in the harshest environments in the world) on our Gallery page. You can also request an information kit of Contego intumescent fire retardant by clicking here.