How long have fire retardant paints been around?

In the early 1950's, flame retardants first appeared and offered a new level of protection from commercial and residential fires. While they were not able to arrest fires, they were effective in slowing the development of a fire offering additional time to evacuate a facility and providing firefighters more time to react to a fire. These first generation coatings were expensive, difficult to apply, and foul-smelling. The industry began to realize that virtually all flame retardants were formaldehyde- based and, therefore, extremely carcinogenic.

What is an "intumescent" fire retardant paint?

Work began in the mid-1980's to perfect a new genre of coatings called intumescent reactants. The term "intumescent reactant" (IR) generally defines a type of coating that expands when exposed to high temperatures or direct flame, caramelizing and forming a "char barrier" that lifts off the surface, or substrate. In so doing, these products offer an effective and durable barrier that cut off the fuel source a fire needs to develop.

If Intumescents have been available for 20 years, why am I just now hearing about them?

Until now, most intumescents met with only limited success because they had obvious deficiencies and limitations. For example, some products that claimed to be non-toxic and non-carcinogenic still used formaldehyde and other toxic substances. Other products were based on fire resistant chemicals suspended in water, so they did not bond well to surfaces and other coatings, like paint, did not bond well to them. The water matrix also caused the char barrier to rise too far off the substrate, giving a fragile char barrier that was easily compromised. Once compromised, fire could undermine the rest of the intumescent layer rendering it useless. Still others were unacceptable as a coating because of their unpleasant odor, lumpy texture, and their inability to go through a paint sprayer without clogging the nozzle.

Where have intumescents traditionally been used?

In spite of their shortcomings, intumescents have played a valuable role in high fire risk situations such as oil refineries, offshore oilrigs, tankers, and large chemical manufacturing facilities. Due to their shortcomings, most previous intumescents had to be applied with a trowel or specialty sprayer requiring a highly-trained operator. In addition, they had to be applied in a thick layer (150 to 200 mils) to achieve acceptable protection.

What's the difference between Contego's Intumescent Primer and traditional intumescent reactants?

Our coatings apply like regular paint. No special tools are required. You can use a brush, roller, or standard sprayer. It smells, feels, and applies like high-quality primer. It has a broad range of applications since the polymer base allows it to bond to many different kinds of substrates. It is non-carcinogenic and non-dermatic. It's completely safe for use around children and pets. In most situations, two coats (20 mil wet/14 mil dry) gives as much protection as 150 to 200 mils of the old fashion intumescents. Last but not least it's very economical to use.

What kind of substrates can Contego's Thin Film Intumescent Latex be used on?

It protects the interiors of buildings, steel superstructure, aluminum, wood, drywall, and virtually any porous surface--including Oriented Strand Board (OSB), and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS).

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