Fire safety and paint, what you need to know

Blog written by Benjamin Moore Pinnacle South

People these days are unaware of the dangers that are to be found in new home construction. These hazards are the result of trying to boost the bottom line at the expense of quality, which has a deadly consequence that we are seeing more of in the news every day, I am speaking of course about house fires and how quickly they seem to spread.  But how did we get to the point we’re at now?

Diminished quality of building materials

Back in the 1970s through to the 1990s, building materials that were commonly used were of reasonable quality, and they gave the average person had well over 10-13 minutes to get out of a burning house.  This was due to the density of the building materials like the woods being used, the sheet board, etc.  Metal piping for water, and proper fire taping and mudding.  The result was that if you awoke to a fire alarm, you could reliably get out in a reasonable amount of time before smoke inhalation was an issue or fire blocking your path.

What a lot of people aren’t aware of though is the sheer number of plastics and light density building materials found in our homes now since 2010 onwards, all as a means of keeping construction costs for new housing and apartments low.  Pex pipe for your plumbing, 5/8’s instead of half-inch drywall, etc., wherever you look now you see construction materials designed less for a long-lasting home, but instead all designed to help the bottom line for the builder.  The result is that now you’re lucky to get out in 3 minutes, as most people are living in a roman candle of a home.

How can we make our homes safer?

So now you’re probably thinking, “what can we possibly do to combat this, how do we make our homes safer”.

Well, the best solution that doesn’t involve tearing down your home, is to use intumescent paint in the areas where combustion is the highest threat.  In furnace rooms, kitchens, and even laundry rooms, anywhere that you have a heat source and some flammable material.

Intumescent paint works as a heat barrier, slowing the spread of heat and fire to give you more time to get out.  It works as an ablative coating, bubbling and breaking down as it heats up, slowing the transfer of heat/energy to the drywall behind it. You can find it at Benjamin Moore, painting and supplies in Edmonton.

Using intumescent paint

Simply paint 1-2 coats of intumescent paint as a basecoat in the rooms discussed, then top coat with the color and paint of your choice.  This will add considerable time, anywhere between 15-30 minutes based on 1-2 coats respectively.  Now be warned that intumescent paint isn’t cheap nor easily found anywhere. Thankfully it only needs to be applied to those areas that are the highest risk, not the whole house. RenovationFind members get 10% off at our three Edmonton paint stores, which allows you to do more while spending less.



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