Fire Resistant Coatings for Millwork

Alternatives for treating wood mouldings in commercial applications where fire codes apply. June 23, 2006

We are making box beams for residential homes, but someone wants them for a retail store. Anyone have experience with exposed wood beams in a commercial setting? What do you treat them with to be fire resistant and how is it done? Can you do it over a stained finish?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor G:
I doubt you will find a coating that looks presentable. If these beams are not structural, you could have a continuous fire barrier above the beams. The barrier may be as simple as two layers of sheetrock with staggered seams. The beams hang from the ceiling against the barrier. I am no expert on fire code, but this may be an option.

From contributor B:
Do a Google search for Flame Control Coatings. That is the brand that I use, and it will come in clear for use over stains, and white where it could be used for a ceiling. Check the local fire codes before using, and talk to the staff - they are helpful.

From contributor J:
We also used the material from Flame Control Coatings, Inc. We had to coat 200 4x8 sheets after the fact on a project. Naturally, it would have been a lot more economical if the architect had specified fire retardant materials to begin with. The outcome was satisfactory. You have to use their sealer and topcoat and apply to the proper mil thickness. Allow 24 hours for drying between coating and handling. As you can see, this stuff can be very time consuming. This was applied over an existing clear lacquer finish.

From contributor S:

I had to do a job three years back for a restaurant/bar where the requirement was for an intumescent paint finish. Ours came from a company called Contego who are American. The coating expands to form a char barrier that fire cannot penetrate. We just sprayed it on like latex and it set in about 2 to 3 hours if I remember right. Needs two thin coats (like an underseal) before applying a top (colour) coat.