Home fireproofing has always been problematic for homeowners due to the high toxicity of traditional flame-retardants. This is especially important when there are children in the home, yet most parents worry about accidental fires caused by curious children who may find matches, lighters, or other fire-producing devices around the house. A case in point has to do with children's pajamas. Manufacturers treated children's pajamas with flame retardant chemicals following reports of children who were burned during slumber parties and outdoor camping.
Fireproofing: Non-Toxic Flame Retardants
Reports on the toxicity of the flame retardant chemicals forced manufacturers to come up with an effective non-toxic solution. This, they have done, and now non-toxic flame retardants are used not only in clothing but in and on almost any substance used in the home that may be flammable. An added bonus is that these fireproofing treatments also discourage the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and even termites.
The Effectiveness of Fireproofing
Most of these new fireproofing treatments are transparent liquids that are applied by brushing on or spraying. They actually penetrate surfaces like wood and bond with the structure on a molecular level. When contacted by an open flame, treated substances will create a self-extinguishing reaction that not only resists fire, it puts it out. This type of chemical reaction is known as a "pyrolytic" reaction.
Fireproof paints and coatings are somewhat less effective in that they only protect the surface of the substance. Most fireproofing coatings are rated in minutes, meaning that they will actively protect the underlying surface for a certain length of time. As they are non-toxic, an average homeowner can safely apply these fireproofing treatments without assistance. Things to look for are approvals from organizations such as Underwriter's Laboratories and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Of course, it's always a good idea to consult with your retailer of fireproofing products and have them explain the virtues of different types of fireproofing products for varying uses. For example, there are fireproofing additives available that can be mixed into paint that will not affect the paint's properties--except to add flame retardancy. Also, check into how the product is to be applied. Better fireproofing treatments need only a single application while others may need two or more. This can make a big difference when you're applying fireproofing treatment.