fireproof paint slowing down the burning process

Fireproof paint – the best way to protect your property and people from fire

Fireproof paint, or other fireproof construction and lining materials, have been compulsory for years now in office buildings, entrance halls, public buildings, parking garages and governmental buildings. In  New Zealand  the general rule is: the higher the building, the longer the material needs to withstand flames. In case of fire, a fireproof paint guarantees extended evacuation time, as well as vital extra time for firefighters to arrive and minimise damage.

Fireproof paint, in general, comes with the following advantages:

  • Fire protection up to 120 minutes: conforms to British, European and international standards
  • Durable protection: lasts for decades and makes the surface impact resistant
  • Decorative: if applied as a top coat, it is available in every RAL colour
  • Prefab is possible: fireproof coating can be applied before or after construction
  • Suitable for various substrates: fireproof coatings are applicable on wood, steel, concrete, textile and plastics.

When applying a fireproof paint there are several important factors that will affect your choice: the building type determines the minimum fire protection time required of the fireproofing method (30, 60, 90, 120 minutes), and each different substrate will need a specific product and application method (fireproof paint for wood is different to one for steel). Therefore, in this article we provide you with professional advice on what you need to know when choosing specialist fire coatings.

Assessing the need for fireproof paint for your building

If you are considering applying fireproof paint, then the structure of the building is part of what defines the coating you need; what is the building going to be used for, and what is the building’s height? There are three factors that define whether the building requires 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes of fire protection.

fire department arriving on time thanks to fireproof paint

Fireproof paint minimises damage by giving more time to get the fire under control.

  1. Height
    The higher the building, the stricter the requirements: a building higher than 5 metres must be at least 90 minutes fire proof. A building lower than 5 metres does not always have specified fire resistance, which is why you should always consult a specialist when considering fireproof coatings.
  2.  Residential / non-residential building
    Are there, or could there be people sleeping in the building? Buildings below 5 metres must be 60 minutes fireproof, and buildings between 5 and 13 metres require 90 minutes. If the building is higher than 13 metres, the requirement is 120 minutes of resistance to fire.
  3. Risk factor
    In some cases the fire resistance must be 120 minutes regardless of the height and purpose of the building. This is true for industrial facilities and places with a heightened fire risk such as offshore structures and chemical processing plants. This is also true for archives, libraries, and museums where valuable information or goods are stored.

Note that these three factors are not affected by the substrate type; the same rules count for wood and steel. In general, the costs of fireproof paint can be estimated by the amount of coating needed and the required fire resistance: the higher fire rating the coating must have, the greater the investment to apply it.

The following table gives you an indication of what to expect from the fire protection for your building type.

Required fire ratingHeight of buildingExamples
Not specified or 30 minutes<5 metres: non-residential buildingsOffices, shops, and company facilities
60 minutes<5 metres: residential buildingsHotels, apartments, and health care centres
90 minutes<13 metres: residential buildings
>13 metres: non-residential buildings
Schools, hotels, blocks of flats, and prisons
120 minutes>13 metres: residential buildings
Buildings with high risk factor
Schools, hospitals, and blocks of flats; libraries, archives and industrial premises

Always consult a specialist about fireproof coating to make sure your building is appropriately protected and meets the set standards as in the Building Code. Our experts are happy to help you receive a competitive proposal for the fireproof paint you need: just send us a message by clicking the “request a quote” button at the bottom of this article.

Achieve the highest quality fireproof coating by relying on a professional installer

We advise you to leave the application of fireproof paint to a certified contractor. Every building has specific requirements for fire resistance, and it takes a trained professional to apply the coating effectively. The building type, substrate type, and end use requirements all impact the choice of coating and the way it is applied, including such factors as film thickness. An inspection report needs to be drawn up by the contractor, including calculations for film thickness and the suitable materials for the project.

Once the coating has been applied, you will receive a certificate. This certificate confirms that you have complied with all relevant regulations and used the correct fire resistant coating. The coating must also be regularly inspected in order to detect any signs of premature deterioration and need for maintenance.

Choose from 2 types of fire resistant coating or combine them into a complete system

There are two types of fire proof paint, intumescent and fire retardant, and each has a different method of impeding fire. These specialist fire coatings can be applied either independently or as a fire protective system.

  1. Intumescent coatings: almost predominantly applied as undercoats. This type of fire proof paint expands when the temperature reaches 200°C forming a solid foam-like char which insulates the substrate. Not only does it protect the substrate from ignition but also from the effects of the heat; steel loses strength and structural integrity starting at 300°C .
  2. Fire retardant coatings: used as undercoats for regular paint or topcoats for intumescent coating. These coatings release a flame damping gas when the temperature rises to extremes. This forms a buffer zone, protecting the surface from the flames. This is the most common type of fireproof paint used as an independent coating for wood.

If these two coatings are applied as a complete system, the fire retardant topcoat prevents flames from coming close to the surface, postponing the swelling response of the intumescent undercoat. Once the fire has exhausted the topcoat, the undercoat kicks in. This system provides much needed extra time to get a fire under control.

Find a fireproof paint manufacturer or supplier near you!

Depending on the substrate material, there are several fire proof paint specialists in New Zealand whose services are available to you. These companies often use internationally recognised products from manufacturers such as AkzoNobel, Sika, and Jotun. Which one you should contact, depends on the substrate – most of them can help you with coating steel, but wood and concrete require different expertise. We are happy to help you find the right fireproof paint specialist for your project, and provide you with a quote. Just use our 100% free quote service by clicking the “Request a quote” button at the bottom of this article. Our experts are here to help.

Resene Paints: Fire protecton coating made in New Zealand

Resene Fireguard

Resene Fireguard

With production plants in Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, New Zealand’s largest privately-owned and operated paint manufacturing company is the market leader in producing fire protection paints in the country. Established in 1946, Resene is one of the first companies to hold an Environmental Choice New Zealand label.

Their flagship product in this segment is Resene Fireguard, a pigmented water solvent coating for passive fire protection. This paint is for indoor use and relatively easy to apply. It can be left without a top coat and used as a white ceiling finish to provide a 3 (NZBC) 3 (NCC) fire resistance. However, for walls, a top coat is recommended.

The paint is available only in white and is applicable by airless spray and rolling. Furthermore, Fireguard is also a fast drying coating. Available only at Resene ColorShops all over New Zealand.


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