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Home | Building Codes | Expand Your Business Using Intumescent Thermal Barriers
Adding intumescent to your business? The first step in this plan is to understand the regulations and code requirements.

Expand Your Business Using Intumescent Thermal Barriers

By Dylan Nowak

Any business owner will tell you, you must grow or die. The success of a corporation hinges on its ability to offer unique and innovative solutions to the marketplace. Technical advances in spray foam, and code-compliant intumescent thermal barriers have drastically expanded the applications and opportunities for spray foam applicators. Drywall is no longer the only choice. There are now a wide variety of approved thermal barriers available. Thermal barriers represent a significant business opportunity for spray foam contractors. Product cost, equipment cost, time, and labor contribute
to a business’ capability to maintain or increase profit margins. Approved intumescent coatings offer numerous benefits and unique aesthetic options to satisfy your project needs.


Approved thermal barriers fall into two main categories, with each approach offering certain advantages. The most common types of thermal barriers are cementitious products. These are fire-resistive, cement-based substances specifically formulated to protect foamed plastic insulation from a fire. Cementitious products have been around for a long time and for good reason. They do a fantastic job of protecting a wide variety of surfaces. However, they may not be perfectly suited to all jobs. For other projects, look no further than intumescent barriers. Intumescent thermal barriers are coatings that swell up when heated, thus protecting the material underneath or sealing a gap in the event of a fire. Intumescent thermal barriers are sprayed and look similar to a paint. Because of this, they allow for unique aesthetic possibilities over cementitious products. For example, Flame Seal TB-C or Flamebloc Foam Protect are available in five different colors. These color options allow the coating to remain uncovered, maintaining a pleasing architectural surface.


The first step in considering intumescent thermal barriers is to understand the requirements and regulations set forth by The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). The NBCC states that thermal barriers must pass the CAN/ULC S124-06 or the CAN/ULC S101 in order to be approved. While many provinces have their own building codes, the basic regulation is simple: Spray foam must be covered in an acceptable way against fire. There are a number of excellent products on the market that meet these requirements. Flame Seal TB-C and Flamebloc Foam Protect are the only intumescent products that have met the rigorous testing requirements of the CAN/ULC S124-06. For a complete list of CAN/ULC S124-06-certified products contact Underwriters Laboratory.


So you want to apply thermal barrier products? Selecting the correct thermal barrier system application should be the result of an analysis of the most common types of projects performed. Is the focus of your business industrial, commercial, or residential? You must also examine the amount of the investment that you are willing to make with regard to equipment, vehicles, and labor costs.

For a lower cost of entry, strongly consider using an intumescent product. Intumescent thermal barriers are not brand new technology, but rather have been ULC-listed since early 2015 and offer strong economic potential.

Intumescent coatings can be sprayed with common airless spray equipment. Flame Seal TB-C / Flamebloc Foam Protect can be sprayed with any airless spray rig with 2,000 or higher dynamic psi at the spray tip.

This equipment can be up to 75 percent cheaper than the large industrial plastering-type equipment used for spraying traditional products. Airless spray equipment also allows for easy transport and can be used in difficult-to-access spaces, such as high-rise buildings, basements, and attics.

Because intumescent thermal barriers are easier to apply and require less expensive equipment, labor costs can be cut nearly in half. What was once a team effort can be reduced to a one-person operation. The entire process – mix, spray, and clean up – is similar to commercial painting. The ability to lower labor costs plus spending less time working on projects equals higher profits. That is a winning equation.

While intumescent thermal barriers are not necessarily new to the Canadian spray foam industry, understanding the technology and its potential to expand your business represents a novel opportunity for insulation contractors. When considering expanding your business service, it is important to consider the cost of material, application, equipment, and acquired labor costs, and most importantly, your profit margins. When you take a close look, you will see that intumescent thermal barriers are the answer. When you think intumescence, think profitability. Think Flame Seal TB-C and Flamebloc Foam Protect.  •


Direct any questions about expanding your business using intumescent coatings to Flame Seal Products Inc.:
Phone: 713-668-4291

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