Whilst many business decisions carry a high level of risk, choosing the wrong kind of fire protection can be fatal. Being able to access specialist guidance and advice on which products are most appropriate for your needs is, therefore, vital. In this blog we take a look at two kinds of fire protection used by industry, infrastructure projects and commercial businesses: intumescent paint and cementitious coating.

Wallace Fire Protection provides passive fire protection to utilities, construction and power generation industries. It’s our job to ensure that the structural elements of a building or structure are protected in the event of a fire, or explosion. This protects lives, maintains plant operation and facilitates a quick return to business. Choosing between intumescent or cementitious fire protection is, therefore, integral to what we do.


What is Intumescent Paint?

Intumescent paint is a reactive coating which is designed to protect structures from collapsing as a result of extreme temperatures caused by fire. It is particularly effective when applied to steel frames. The paint works by swelling, in response to high temperatures, to create thermal insulation for the structure it protects. The metal remains at a safe temperature, therefore, and the structure remains stable.

What is Cementitious Coating?

This non-reactive coating is made of materials characterised by their high melting point, such as gypsum or cement. The coating is normally between 10-20mm and it protects the building structure from high temperatures in its innate form, without having to react. The coating is normally applied in multiple layers to improve the fire resistance of metals such as steel.

How Do You Choose Between the Two?

Despite the different features of the two different products, both intumescent paint and cementitious coatings will do a similar job – so long as they are applied correctly. We’ve considered the relative merits of both:

1. Intumescent Paint

  • Aesthetics. Intumescent paint looks stunning when applied to structural steel. It’s the equivalent of applying a high quality paint job as well as ensuring fire protection.
  • Steel Protection. Steel is particularly susceptible to high temperatures; intumescent paint stops it from buckling, whilst protecting its load bearing capabilities.
  • Can Be Used With a Range of Materials. Intumescent paint can be used on wood, concrete, plasterboard, brick, stone and chipboard.

2. Cementitious Spray

  • Excellent for Awkward Structures. Cementitious spray is very good at getting into difficult angles, or covering non-standard, complex shapes, structures or objects.
  • Less Costly than Intumescent Paint. The materials are cheap to produce; the major cost involved in application is the labour.
  • Thermal and Acoustic Properties. Cementitious spray doesn’t have the aesthetic benefits, but it can provide thermal and acoustic insulation as a by-product.

About Wallace Fire Protection

Wallace is a specialist provider of bespoke passive fire protection solutions to the construction industries, the commercial sector, utilities and critical infrastructure. We are proud to be one of just six licensed and approved installers of Promat DURASTEEL® across the UK.

We are committed to providing our clients with an unrivalled design and installation service focusing heavily on quality and responsiveness from tender stage right through to contract completion. All our operatives hold industry relevant certificates including Person Training, BESC, Substation Entry and Confined Spaces.


Would you like to know more about Wallace passive fire protection design and installation? Call our specialist team today on 01908 109045