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Protecting Exterior Timber from Fire

Fire damage can cause havoc in a building. If the fire becomes out of control, the damage may not be reversible. There are preventative measures you can use, to control the unfortunate outbreak of fire and reduce the risk. Here are two ways you can save your timber.

Fire-Retardant Treatments


A fire retardant is something that reduces the spread of fire, by delaying combustion significantly. In simple terms, it slows down the fire, so that if there is an emergency there’s time to escape and fight the fire.

They are usually ideal for interior and exterior projects requiring surface spread of flame protection (BS Class 1, Class 0 and Euro Class B). Some even allow decorative finish coats to be applied once protection has been achieved, making it easy to get the look you want.

Without a treatment, burning timber can cause heavy smoke, which can be just as damaging and lethal as fire. A fire retardant treatment will help to reduce this. If you’re worried about ruining your decor, these treatments are often clear so they won’t upset the natural beauty of the wood.

To be safe and comply with regulations, you should use a fire retardant treatment that meets the level of fire protection required by your authority for your specific project. Additionally, you want to be using something which deeply impregnates the wood, allowing the fire retardant properties to withstand the lifetime of the surface. A fire retardant treatment that is easily removed by weathering or general wear and tear won’t be much use if you are unfortunate enough to have a building fire.

You don’t always need a specialist to apply a treatment like this, which is especially helpful if you need to be cost effective when protecting your building. If you have the right product, it’s possible to apply a fire retardant treatment without professional help.

Fire Protection Paints


As well as treatments that are absorbed into the surface, you can use a protective coating that is painted onto the wood. Again, be sure to look for something that meets the fire safety standards applicable to your project.

A protective paint should expand to create a barrier insulating the wood from heat and oxygen – the ingredients for a fire. This helps to reduce the chances of ignition and spread of the flame on the surface, if a fire starts. One of the big advantages of a surface coating is that you will also have the option of 30min and 60min fire resistance. Again these coatings can be generally used internally and externally but special primers and topcoats may be required to complete the system.

Fire safety isn’t limited to treatments and paints. Fire assessments are incredibly important, making sure you keep on top of any hazards. For a new building, it is especially important to get this right first time, as it can cause you problems further down the line.

Fire safety will always be important – be it employees or family, if you take the right steps, it can be incredibly helpful in the future.

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