Fireproofing Methods for Structural Steel

Fireproofing Methods for Structural Steel

A lot of construction codes call for fireproofing of structural steel to provide a safety measure. The most commonly used method to protect steel within the U.S. is by spraying cementitious or low-density fiber that is now referred to as spray-applied fire-resistive materials (SFRM). It can be sprayed over steel to offer heat resistance. It can also be applied to fabric, wood, or other construction materials. Building codes specify the thickness of the coat to be applied. Sprays are classified into dry or wet materials. The description of the material is mixed before being applied.

Sprays aren’t the only option. Alternative options may be superior to the commonly used sprays based on the circumstances and are definitely worth looking into.

Intumescent Coatings

Also called intumescent paint this process provides fire-resistant structural steel parts. One of the main advantages is that the intumescent coatings can expand up to 100 times the thickness of the product. This provides an increased fire resistance through the creation of a buffer between the flame and structural steel components. Intumescent coatings undergo a chemical reaction and expand when exposed to extreme temperatures, but before they are hot enough to alter the structural integrity in the structure of steel.

Intumescent coatings are an excellent option when aesthetics are in play when steel is exposed to the public. The product is applied like paint, with each layer increasing the overall weight of the coating. The material that is fireproof can be applied to wood structures also.

Rigid Board Fireproofing

The fireproofing of rigid boards can be put in place quickly and effortlessly. One advantage is that it can be put in place at a time during the process of building steel beams and decks. Fireproofing with rigid boards can provide the proper fireproofing needs as in addition to the ability to control acoustic and thermal energy. This kind of fireproofing can be fixed mechanically and stop termite and pest attacks. It is also offered in various thicknesses to comply with UL specifications and is able to endure humidity and water while retaining its fireproofing qualities. The boards can be designed according to exact measurements and be finished with decorative designs.

Flexible Blanket Systems

The specially designed blankets can be utilized as an anti-fire material, which makes it easy to put in place and ensure a non-toxic atmosphere in the event of a fire. While this is an extremely practical and efficient technique, there are small numbers of producers. This system is able to meet nearly all safety codes and standards making it a cost-effective, secure method to stop the spread of fire into structural parts. Blanket systems are an excellent option for working with complicated designs.

Autoclaved Aerated Concrete

Aerated concrete that is autoclaved can improve and offer the necessary fire protection,, especially on steel columns. It can provide fireproofing capabilities when it is placed between the flanges and connected with the webs of sections rolled.

If you have greater fire resistance requirements it is possible to put concrete on the flanges on the steel parts using shear connections connected with the web of steel. It is important that the concrete that is being put in should be firmly held in the lower part of the connection.


This method is much less popular than it was and, in certain instances, it is possible to cover large pieces made of iron in concrete. It takes up more space due to the amount of concrete utilized and can not be as appealing visually as other alternatives. Parking garages that are large tend to be less concerned about these aspects, and therefore they may still use this approach.

Get additional protection from fire through the use of reinforcements, for example, a bar, in between the flanges which is fixed by concrete.

Liquid Convection Cooling

The first patent was issued around the turn of the century the process of cooling liquid convection is the process of running water, an antifreeze, and rust inhibitor through hollow structural elements. If there’s an incident of fire in the structure, heat-producing liquids rise which allows cooler water to flow through the part of the structure that has been affected due to the fire decreasing the temperature of the structural elements.

International Building Code

The majority of municipalities or other government agencies across the U.S. use the International Building Code (IBC) as the basis for their own codes. The IBC is revised every three years and has most recently seen an update in the year 2018.

Methods for fireproofing and building materials generally can be rated using minutes in accordance with tests that were conducted. For instance, if a particular method of fireproofing is certified to last for 60 mins, this means that it will help to maintain the integrity of the structure for at the very least 60 minutes. Naturally, the greater it is rated, the longer is needed for evacuation and to put out the fire and minimize damage.

Actual building requirements can vary depending on the building’s intended usage, its location, and many other aspects.

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