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Home | Editorial Spotlight | Protection Of Foamed Plastics
Protect yourself with the facts. The code for using intumescent coatings over foamed plastics can be confusing, but ignorance is no excuse.
Protect yourself with the facts. The code for using intumescent coatings over foamed plastics can be confusing, but ignorance is no excuse.

Protection Of Foamed Plastics

Protect yourself by knowing the code.


Understanding the codes and complying with correct testing certification requirements is arguably the first and most important element to any new construction project or retrofit. Failure to comply can result in increased costs to correct compliance failures, lost time, lost profits, and even liability concerns. To avoid these dangers, SPF applicators must know which thermal barriers have been correctly tested and certified. Know before you spray.


The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) section states that foamed plastics must be protected from fire. For many years, traditional products such as gypsum board, plaster, masonry, and concrete have been used to accomplish this. Now there is a new technology available. “Flame Seal Products, Inc. has recently developed and tested the first intumescent thermal barrier coating available for use in Canada. The product was tested and certified in accordance with CAN/ULC S124-06, which meets the requirements of NBCC,” Rutherford states.

An August 2015 Technical Bulletin published by Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association, Inc. (CUFCA) does a great job of explaining the technical aspects of the test S124-06 method. It states:

“If you review the CAN/ULC-S-124-M standard, you will see that essentially the system is installed over a furnace, which produces a temperature of 704°C. To create the system, the protective coating is then installed over a piece of foamed plastic with thermal couples between the thermal barrier and the foamed plastic. The specimen is placed with the thermal barrier exposed to the furnace. When the test commences, the furnace provides the 704°C of heat and the temperature rise is measured over time between the thermal barrier and the foamed plastic.” – CUFCA 2015

“Flame Seal’s product passed this test at the CAN/ULC laboratory in 2015 and it is the only spray-applied intumescent coating product ever to do so,” Rutherford says.

Flame Seal-TB-C, also sold as Flamebloc Foam Protect, is an intumescent coating, which creates a protective layer of carbon char when exposed to fire or extreme heat, thus blocking the fire and preventing heat from reaching the foam insulation. Flame Seal-TB-C comes in several shades and dries to a smooth, semi-gloss sheen.


Failure to apply a properly tested product can have significant, negative effects on your business – especially if it fails to provide the fire protection as required by the Code. If the intumescent coating you are spraying over your SPF is not S124-06 approved, you can expect consequences. In these cases, the product will have to be removed and a certified product must be re-applied. In some cases, you could even be subject to litigation and damages. Don’t be fooled by other companies claiming test equivalents. Accept only a CAN/ULC S124-06 certified test. Your business may depend on it. The codes are in place to protect the public and that is why failure to comply with the codes can result in very harsh consequences.


Flame Seal’s passing of the S124-06 test offers a new and unique alternative to traditional, established thermal barriers such as cementitious and fiber products. These traditional solutions are approved thermal barriers, but they may not be perfect for all applications. Flame Seal’s intumescent coating offers an alternative to the traditional solutions and may therefore expand applicators’ opportunities for new business. Spray foam applicators can now be confident in knowing that if they choose to use an intumescent thermal barrier coating in place of cementitious or fiber products, they can still be in full compliance with NBCC codes.

An intumescent coating allows for easy application using commercial airless spray equipment, which means that a dedicated vehicle is not required. Another key differentiator is that the product dries to produce a semi-impact resistant coating, which can easily be sprayed in small or confined areas. The product cures to a semi-gloss finish in white, grey, or black. Most notably, there is none of the intensive labor clean up typically associated with cementitious and fiber products.


The goal of this article is to arm spray foam applicators with the knowledge to make the right decision regarding thermal barrier coatings. Code compliance will protect you and your business from the pitfalls of applying an unapproved product. To be safe and sure, you should always consult your foam manufacturer and your local municipality’s code officials and inspectors prior to applying any product. It is better to be safe and sure than sorry.


Direct any questions about the passing of the S124-06 test to Flame Seal Products Inc.:

Phone: 713-668-4291