• The five most important reasons why Contego intumescent fire retardant is the best way to protect steel.

    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.

    Contego intumescent fire retardant is the best way to protect steel

    Contego intumescent fire retardant is the best way to protect steel.

    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.

  • Projects Protected by Contego Intumescent

    We are proud to share a couple of projects that have used Contego intumescent paint to protect structural steel against fire.
    Winnipeg Soccer Stadium protected by Contego intumescent

    Investors Group Field, Winnipeg

    Fireproofing the steel in the Winnipeg Soccer Stadium with Contego allowed for a thin coat that is paper smooth; so thin and so smooth that, even after being top coated, there’s no clue the steel has been treated.  The application work was performed by Canadian Thermal.

    Investors Group Field, the stunning stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, which opened in 2013, is located on the University of Manitoba campus next to University Stadium.  It is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, University of Manitoba Bisons football team and the Winnipeg Rifles (CJFL). The stadium will be one of the venues for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted by Canada.  The stadium has a capacity of 33,422 (partially covered). The stadium contains a corrugated metal roof, restaurant, 52 suites and other amenities.


    The first new office building in downtown St. John’s Newfoundland in 25 years is protected by Contego Intumescent.

    The first new office building in downtown St. John’s Newfoundland in 25 years is protected by Contego.

    You should also take a look at the building that is bringing a whole new energy to downtown St John’s, Newfoundland. While architecturally designed to carry on long-standing heritage charm, III Fifty One incorporates the best of today’s newest technologies, including the first to be heated and cooled by seawater. This stunning new development includes an innovative six-story, 168,000-square-foot office tower above prime retail and commercial space, and a 445-car parking area, including 245 public parking spaces.  III Fifty One Water Street has over 30,000 Square feet of Structural Steel beams, columns, and decking protected with Contego High Solids Formula intumescent paint, designed to shield against the most severe cold temperatures and defend against any type of precipitation.  It was the ideal solution for the seasons on the St. John’s, NL Pacific Ocean harbor front.

    For more detail on each of these projects, you can check them out on our Projects page.  For vast independent lab test data, please see the Fire Test pages.  Best of all, to request your Contego information kit, click here.

  • Contego Intumescent Latex is an Ideal Alternative to Drywall

    Contego Thin-film Intumescent Latex is an ideal alternative to drywall as a fire barrier in situations where a decorative finish is not required.CONTEGO HAS PASSED THE CRITICAL UBC26-2 THERMAL BARRIER TEST WITH A 23 MINUTE RATING!


    Contego Passive Fire Barrier Latex has passed the rigorous UBC 26- 2 Thermal Barrier Test at Omega Point Labs. The chosen substrate was 7/16 Oriented Strand Board. The test ran for 23 minutes to cover the standard requirement of 15 minutes as well as the more demanding 20 minute requirement for HUD applications.  Contego had zero flame and smoke spread rating and the temperature on the back of the test board never exceeded the critical 250 degree Fahrenheit benchmark.

    Contego also passed the UBC 26-3 Corner Room Test (see below) with minimal smoke and Flame spread without flashover in the chamber. Backside temp did not exceed 175 degree F.

    This battery of difficult and important tests, especially when combined with Contego’s NFPA 286 room burn and ASTM E84 burn data, qualifies Contego Thin-film Intumescent Latex as an ideal alternative to drywall as a fire barrier in situations where a decorative finish is not required. Contego applies and cleans up just like normal latex primer. A Contego barrier costs roughly 50% less than a drywall barrier.  Contego products are environmentally friendly and completely non-toxic. Contego PFB reduces the cost of using OSB as well as SIPs panels while offering superior fire protection.

    Contego Passive Fire Barrier passes the rigorous UBC 26-3 Corner room burn test.

    Contego International’s Passive Fire Barrier Latex was put to the ultimate test to see if it could protect Oriented Strand Board (OSB) from the ravages of fire. Contego met all requirements set out in the rigorous test protocol. The importance of this event cannot be underestimated as it qualifies this thin Film Intumescent for use on OSB as well as on Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), the fastest growing segment of the building industry. Currently, a layer of 1/2″ drywall over SIPs or OSB is required to meet most building codes. Based on the results of the UBC 26-3, Contego has been demonstrated to be an acceptable alternative to drywall over SIPs or OSB at a much lower cost per square foot.

    Contego Latex Fire Barrier Intumescent Passes Critical NFPA Test

    With the increased awareness and attention to the cause of fires and fire spread within structures the NFPA developed a new test measuring the contribution non fabric wall treatments make to the spread of fire from the room of origination to adjacent rooms. This is determined by measuring heat contribution and flame spread within an enclosed space over a 15 minute period. Contego’s Fire Barrier Intumescent Paint performed perfectly. This test ensures users that that Contego’s Thin Film Passive Barrier will not contribute to the spread of fire within a structure and indeed will reduce if not eliminate fire spread via any surface treated with Contego.

  • Contego Fire Retardant Paint – Better Than FR Lumber

    Whenever there’s a project that specifies FR lumber (pressure treated fire retardant lumber) Contego fire retardant paint offers a profitable solution that will help contractors acquire that job.

    Contego recently saved a hotel project in Nevada where the framing contractor used regular dimensional lumber on four stories of framing including the sheer wall. The building inspector noted that it should have been FR lumber and was NOT – so there was no certificate of occupancy until it was all torn down and replaced with FR lumber.

    Contego to the rescue!

    Our recommendation was to simply apply two coats of Contego to the existing wood.  Not only did it save them from a $1.2 million loss, it led to an entirely new standard that will displace FR for all of their designs in all markets and over all brands.  Here’s how Contego compares to FR and delivers HUGE advantages to the architect, general contractor, framing sub and property owner:

    Our data on dimensional lumber FAR exceeds the stats for any FR lumber on the market. We have LOWER flame spread and smoke production (0x0) – FR lumber doesn’t come close.

    We are neither toxic nor carcinogenic (read the MSDS on any FR product and you will find otherwise). Note that FR lumber manufacturers rarely if ever offer their MSDS online as we do.  Get some, read them and you’ll see why.  FR is so problematic that it’s often suggested that the scraps not be burned, although people often do.

    Contego fire retardant paint offers far better thermal resistance.

    FR destroys the lectins in the wood causing massive loss of structural integrity in as little as 2 years. (See USDA studies – links below)

    FR also dissolves whatever attachments you use – screws, nails, hangars, etc., unless they’re stainless steel. Think about that one. On the job, FR causes logistics problems because it is special order. If you run short, you’re in a bind. Dimensional lumber (and Contego) is readily available, making the project scalable.

    Last, but certainly not least – our fire retardant paint on dimensional lumber plus the labor to apply it is considerably less expensive than FR lumber.  FR lumber is a weaker, inferior, less fire resistant assembly that eventually will fail. That’s why many leading hotel chains have changed their specifications away from FR wood to Contego on dimensional lumber.

    Using contego fire retardant paint on dimensional wood construction is a better idea than using FR lumber.

    Effects of Fire Retardant Treatments on Wood Strength

    Predicting and Extending the Useful Service Life of FRT – Plywood Roof Sheathing

    The Hazards of Fire Retardant (FRT) Wood

    Effects of Fire-Retardant Treatment and Redrying on the Mechanical Properties of Douglas-Fir and Aspen Plywood

    Original Formula Material Safety Data Sheet

    High Solids Material Safety Data Sheet

    Request an information kit for Contego Fire Retardant Paint

  • Are Intumescent Paints Toxic?

    Smoking Building (no intumescent paint on this one) © Rukicc | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

    Smoking Building
    © Rukicc | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

    Do you think all intumescent paints are created equal?  They are not.

    A big part of the toxicity story goes back to when a particular fire retardant paint was formulated.  Not that long ago, the only way to formulate a fire retardant paint meant you had some very toxic components in it.  Not only are they toxic in a fire, but they also leak toxins in the air you breathe every day – especially in hot, humid environments.  Always read the product’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) carefully and always look to see if the MSDS was prepared independently or by the manufacturer.  If it hasn’t been independently prepared, don’t trust it.

    It is also critical that the intumescent paint manufacturer supports VOC claims with third party independent certified laboratory tests for content (ASTM D 3960) as well as toxic gas generation (BSS7239-88). You can view what these test documents look like and see Contego’s results here.

    To view the damaging results of toxic fire retardant paints you may want to view the HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat”, a searing expose on the use of chemical flame-retardants. You can watch this incredibly informative film here.