Fire Preventive Coatings

Homeowners in wildfire zone should consider coats, in addition to landscaping, for fire protection. In fact all homeowners can benefit from fire retardant treatment within their homes also. Fire sprinklers are the ultimate home protection but costly. People do not realize just how fast fires travel. Smoke detectors give you time and should always be installed. Your whole family, and pets, can be dead before the fire department even knows you have a fire. Kitchens and electrical fires in walls are the most common sources of fires. Garages with gasoline are not far behind but at least they tend to happen during the day and are caused by a person. Smoking in bed is slow suicide. Your call.

Intumescent coatings are applied chemicals that expand with heat and are non-flammable. I have personally participated in testing Barricade, a proprietary product. My fire department took a sheet of plywood and wrote "Hope VFD" in Barricade and then took a torch to the plywood. The only thing that was not heavily charred was "Hope VFD". It made a believer out of me. This compound is sprayed on with water pressure when a fire is immanent. This compound is applied when a wildfire is imminent. It lasts 8 hours or more and if it dries out, the application of water will rejuvenate it. Burning embers are the main way that wild land fires ignite houses. This product is designed to form a barrier around the whole structure so embers can not get into hidden places.

There are many other paintings that do the same basic thing but are more attuned to interior use. They work by sealing the wood or fabric and preventing decomposition gasses from getting out. These gases are both flammable and toxic and are the cause of most deaths. The coating help turn the surface of the base material into char which is not very flammable.

Intumescent coatings expand to insulate the base material from heat as well as sealing the base material. The greatest amount of flammables in a residential structure (also known as a house) is the carpets, furniture, and window coverings. Most of these are derived from petroleum and behave as if they were petroleum. I have watched a hotel room, that was ignited from crumpled newspaper in a waste basket, being completely engulfed in flame, within 150 seconds. The windows blew out. The gases in the upper part of the room ignited, a condition known as flashover. A blast of 1200 degree heat kills every living thing in the room. Nothing is totally fireproof, but being fire retardant gives you time to get out. There are fabric treatments. I have attached URLs from some supplies but I have no personal experience with them.

One cheap substance that can coat interior wood is sodium silicate, or water glass. It is available from chemical suppliers in quantity. It is non-toxic.

Common boric acid can also be used on fabrics but is more difficult to use than commercial products.

Try these sites:

The author has no financial or other benefit from these companies and gives the URLs just a convenience to the reader.