Intumescent coatings are often referred to as intumescent paint. These specialized coatings are used in buildings as a passive fire resistance measure. Intumescent coatings can be applied to structural elements as an aesthetically pleasing fireproofing product.
A key feature of intumescents is that they can expand significantly when exposed to high temperatures, such as those during a major fire. Some intumescent products are known to greatly expand to many times their original thickness. Because the product expands it becomes much less dense, making it act as an excellent insulator that keeps the high temperatures away from crucial structural elements or protected openings.
In the United States, both the International Building Codes (IBC) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) provide criteria for proper fire protection and penetration firestopping. It is important that professional painting services providers understand these requirements when determining where and what type of protection is needed. Many state and local jurisdictions may have special requirements that go well beyond the IBC and NFPA. Some insurance companies have specific and often stricter requirements.
Fireproofing of structural members is generally accompanied by certificates and installation reports for the owner to keep on file. A properly trained and certified installer must be used for these products.