Having the necessary fire safety equipment in homes and commercial spaces ensures the managed safety for the people and structure of the building. With the right measures installed, lives will be saved as well as being able to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, for a certain amount of time. One of these fire safety measures is fire-rated expanding foam, which can be utilised in both residential and commercial buildings. Fire and smoke can spread through many different avenues in a building – including small gaps – and fire-rated foam is one of the best ways to help seal gaps, so this doesn’t happen.
Expanded foam is relatively simple to use, but there are some important factors to understand and consider before applying the foam throughout a building. In this blog, we’re going to look at just what needs to be understood about fire-rated expanding foam, how to use it, the benefits as well as the safety considerations.
Understanding fire-rated expanding foam
Why use fire-rated expanding foam? This type of foam is mainly used to seal gaps and cracks to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Expanding foam that isn’t fire rated, is used for many of the same reasons, except that it is not an effective method of stopping a fire. Normal expanding foam is typically used for providing insulation – for soundproofing and temperature – to various parts of a building, including holes and cracks in your home, pipes, as well as an adhesive for outdoor landscaping projects.
The only main difference between insulating expanding foam and the fire-rated type is that fire-rated foam contains fire-resistant properties. The foam consists of polyurethane which will cure quickly when reacting with moisture to provide a tight seal around cavities. It is best to use fire-resistant expanding foam where a fire rating is required. Therefore, it’s ideal to use it for filling gaps around ductwork, between cladding and brickwork, in addition to insulating and filling around door and window frames.
The benefits of fire-rated expanding foam
There are several benefits of this fire safety foam, and it can be applied throughout residential and commercial properties. The benefits include:
- Fire resistance – thanks to the fire-retardant additives, the foam can be fire-resistant for several hours depending on the joint configuration. This allows for enhanced fire safety and reduces the risk of fire-related damage and injuries.
- Insulation – as the expanding foam forms an airtight seal, this mitigates air and heat from leaking, leading to increased energy efficiency in buildings. A home can benefit from having lower energy consumption and reduced heating and cooling costs.
- Versatility – you can apply fire-rated expanding foam to a host of areas, such as gaps in pipes, electrical wires, walls, crawl spaces and more, making it one of the most versatile fire safety measures out there. On the plus side, the foam is compatible with several materials including wood, PVC, concrete and metal.
- Reducing sound – just like other foams, this type has excellent soundproofing properties. Where noise control is crucial, such as in an office environment, apartments or entertainment environments, the foam can improve the acoustic comfort level.
- Applied with ease – with the right PPE, fire-rated expanding foam can be applied very easily. Most aerosol cans will feature a nozzle that allows for precision when applying. Once the foam is dispensed onto the desired cavity, it won’t take long before it expands and fills the gap with an airtight seal.
Fire-rated expanding foam is utilised heavily by construction workers and tradesmen who construct residential and commercial properties. It helps to provide adequate protection as well as help follow fire safety legislation. Homeowners can make quick use of it for filling gaps almost anywhere around the home, whilst electricians find a use for it when installing electrical fittings and wires. No matter where it is used, fire-rated expanding foam will ensure an ideal protective measure against the spread of fire and smoke for both residential and commercial buildings.
Installation and safety considerations
While the ease of applying the foam to where it is needed is an advantage, the proper safety considerations must be met to avoid harm and improper use. One must wear the appropriate PPE when using the foam, as it contains elements that can be harmful to the skin, eyes and may even cause respiratory irritation. Therefore, it is crucial that the user wears protective goggles, rubber gloves, and a protective mask and ensures you cover up any other vulnerable parts of your body.
When applying the foam, it is necessary to moisten the area with water to ensure a good adhesive reaction. Also, clean and wipe away any dust or loose particles before wetting the area. The rest of the installation process is fairly straightforward – shake the can for a minimum of two minutes so that the foam inside becomes a liquid state. Then attach the nozzle to the canister and fill the gap in layers, taking care not to overfill the cavity. Then sit back and wait for the foam to cure, any excess foam can be removed using a sharp bladed instrument.
The can should always be kept away from heat, sparks and open flames, and it is best not to apply it close to lamps as the heat may cause ignition of the uncured foam.
Fire-rated expanding foam from FPC
Here at FPC, we supply the very best fire safety products for residential and commercial spaces, helping to keep people and property safe against the torrent of fire and smoke. Our fire-rated expanding foam will get the job done and is just one of the many ways we can protect your property and people.