What is the difference between “Reaction to Fire” and “Resistance to Fire”?

Both classifications refer to the passive protection of the space. Classification of “Resistance to Fire” concerns load-bearing structures, compartmentalization and fire doors. “Reaction to Fire” certifies wall coverings, ceilings, floorings, furniture and every non-structural combustible material.

What is the difference between a fire-retardant coating system and a standard coating system?

A fire-retardant coating system has a higher application grammage because it has to create a “barrier” against heat. In other words, it must protect the object from fire. In the past that was a worsening feature from an aesthetical point of view. Firewall range overcame this problem thanks to the flame-retardant or intumescent additives of the latest generation.

Which coated objects can be certified as “protected by fire-retardant coatings”?

Fire-prevention standards include lots of certifications depending on the kind and the position of the substrate to be coated. Some substrates are unclassifiable because of their high grade of flammability; concerning building materials that are usually used in a structure, they can be classified both in Reaction and Resistance to Fire in the majority of cases.

Is it possible to certify an object exposed outdoors?

Fire-retardant systems have a weakness. They are made of additives that, if exposed to a heat source, react changing the coating film by expanding or crystallizing. The reaction begins at low temperatures (about 150/200°C). For this reason, if directly exposed to UV rays during the summer, the coatings can become darker and, in the worst cases, separate from the substrate.

Do I need particular tools for the application of a fire-retardant coating system?

No, you don’t. You just need the same tools, with which you apply water-based or solvent-based coatings. Fire-retardant coatings require a strong blending, through which we homogenize the additives of the composition. Furthermore, some flame-retardant additives can slow down the coating drying.

How to apply the correct grammage?

In order to be sure of the quantity to be applied, it is necessary to “weigh” the product or use a thickness gauge (tool used for measuring the wet coating film). The quantity is calculated depending on:

  • 1. the surface to be certified;
  • 2. the kind of application (potential over spray included).

The technical data sheet always indicates the grammage, imposed by the certifications.

Which is the best coating system between water-based and solvent-based?

Water and solvent are necessary vehicles during the application. The solid content is composed by resins and powders, that create the useful coating film. A water-based resin boasts a more natural aesthetics than a solvent-based coating system. In schools or hospitals it is better to use a water-based system to ensure low emissions. However, when the coating film is dry, there are no more volatile compounds.

What to do if the object is already coated and it is necessary to make it fire-retardant?

This is more a technical, than a regulatory problem. The law imposes to apply a system, certified in the correct grammage. It doesn’t refer to the previous coating treatment. In this way, it will be necessary to verify the adhesion of the homologated system on the old coating, in order to avoid next detachments. Firewall specialists recommend sanding the substrate to raw wood, excluding any risk.

Is it possible to use a fire-retardant system, certified for floor, to protect a wall? And a fire-retardant system, certified for wall, to cover a wooden flooring?

The tests of Reaction and Resistance to Fire are very different. The sample on the floor has a lower irradiation than the sample on the wall. The obtained class being equal, the protection is really discordant. That’s why a system certified for wooden flooring cannot be used to cover a wall, but from a legal point of view it is possible to do the opposite.

I’m a painter. Am I obliged to release the certificate of application?

Yes, you are. It means being sure to comply with standards. The “Declaration of Conformity” is released by Renner Italia only after the compilation of the “Certificate of Application”. And only after the editing of the “Declaration of Conformity”, the safety manager makes sure of the correct installation of the object.

I’m a designer or a safety manager of a building site. Do I need a professional painter to comply with standards?

There is a “ministerial register”, through which the safety managers can avail themselves of the competence of professional painters. It is always better to call professional painters. However, to obtain the “Declaration of Conformity” and comply with standards, it is enough to fill in the “Certificate of Application”, to be required from the dealer of the fire-retardant system.

Can I certify a fire door by means of a system certified in “Resistance to Fire”?

The “Resistance to Fire” of a certified fire door is given by the structure, that must comply with the severe European standard REI, “Mechanical resistance, thermic and smoke insulation”. The door will be equipped with fire-retardant gaskets and flame-resistant hinges. Furthermore, it must have an unflammable core, to limit the heat and smoke transfer to the cold side. A coating system cannot provide for these requests. On the other side, it is compulsory to use a fire-retardant system on these objects, after the achievement of the REI certification, in order not to worsen the obtained class.

Is it possible to use a certificate of a matt fire-retardant system in the glossy version?

Only if it complies with the standard. Usually, in order to certify a system with different kinds of gloss, it is necessary to test the mattest and the glossiest. In this way all medium kinds of gloss will be certify in the same class.

Am I compliant with the standard if I apply a higher grammage than the certified one?

The grammage to be applied must always correspond to the certified one. A higher protection doesn’t always correspond to a higher quantity of use fire-retardant coating.

Does the applied fire-retardant coating have an expiration date?

The Italian standard provides for a check of the coating after 5 years from the application (average duration of the Certificate of Fire Prevention). In case of evident deteriorations, it will be necessary to restore the objects with the same certified quantity. If the coating film is intact, the fire-prevention safety manager will evaluate the eventual remake or if it is possible to wait for other 5 years. After some degradation tests, Renner Italia evaluated that the anti-flame additives used in Firewall systems don’t lose its efficacy even after many years.

If I dilute the product before the application, do I have to increase the grammage?

Yes, the quantity of water or solvent added to certified products must be proportionally compensated to the tested grammage (e.g. if I have to apply by standards 150 gr/sqm of a product, but I add the 20% of water, I have to apply 180 gr/sqm).

What is the difference between DM 26/6/84 and DM 06/03/92 of “Reaction to Fire”?

The test is the same. While DM 26/06/84 certifies the coating product + the object, DM 06/03/92 certifies the coating product on the wood.

What is SCIA?

SCIA is the new procedure to obtain CPI (Certificate of Fire Prevention) and is signed by the activity manager; the assertion to be attached to the procedure, that certifies the activity conformity to the requirements of fire prevention and safety, is signed by a technician, that has been licensed in his profession. Declarations and certifications accompanying SCIA are signed by the technician designated to coordinate – direct – supervise the work, i.e. by a fire-prevention professional, registered in the Ministry of the Interior registers, as indicated in DM 07/08/2012.

Did the European Certification replace the single laws of EU countries?

No, it didn’t. UNI, NF, UNE, BS, DIN, ONORM, etc. standards coexist with the new EN standards because the European Certification regulation n. 305/2011 both refers only to products and building elements and regulates their commercialization in all countries where the CE marking is recognized. The past fire-prevention standards and procedures are still valid for all the others objects in the local (furnishing accessories, stands and everything that is not permanently integrated in the structure).