Vermiculite Plaster and Fireproofing

Several compounds have been introduced in the market in the last few years that help in fire protection, enhancing the safety of a structure. Vermiculite plaster is one such material that is often used on the walls of a structure to increase its ability to retard flames and prevent a full blown inferno. Here is a look at what this substance is and how it can help you to protect your facility or building.

If you own or manage a business, you might be constantly worried about protecting the facility against fire related damages. Depending on how severe an incident is, a fire could cause serious and permanent damage to the structure that will result in significant losses.

Fireproofing is needed at both the active and the passive level. You will not only need to have fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and water sprinklers which can help to control the fire but also a passive system in place that prevents the spread of the flames.

What is vermiculite plaster?

A naturally occurring substance, vermiculite reacts to fire in much the same way as some of the other commercial fire protection products. It expands on exposure to heat increasing in volume and decreasing in density. It helps to prevent the fast spread of flames thus helping in evacuation and rescue efforts. Vermiculite plaster also helps to prevent the exposure of the walls to dangerously high temperatures which may cause structural failure.

How is vermiculite plaster used for fireproofing?

While vermiculite products are available in the form of panels and boards, vermiculite plaster that’s sprayed on is commonly used for passive fire protection. This material is light weight and possesses superior insulating properties to help control the temperature if a fire does occur.

Vermiculite plaster has several applications in passive fire protection systems:

Effective against cellulose fire: A low cost vermiculite plaster spray is used on structural steelwork and for internal application in commercial buildings. This helps to protect the integrity of concealed steel in the structure as well as in the car park areas.

Effective protection from hydrocarbon fires: Vermiculite can withstand extreme temperatures like those associated with hydrocarbon fires. This makes it ideal for us in the petrochemical field and is suited for use in alchemical plant steel work and LPG vessels.

The benefits of using vermiculite plaster

The material is light weight and versatile A combination of vermiculite and Portland cement can be substituted for traditional concrete mixtures for superior fire resistance and insulation properties. Vermiculite is one of the few naturally occurring substances that have fibers which expand when exposed to heat. Vermiculite plaster sprays are colorless and odorless making them almost invisible yet they provide efficacious fire protection. Vermiculite sprays are available in the form of PPC and gypsum for decorative applications. The compound is also sold in the form of textured spray finishes which can be directly applied to the wall on top of a base coat of pigmented material. It looks fabulous and affords all the passive fire protection that you need.

Fireproofing is an inherent part of proper facility management and maintenance. Not only can it protect you in case of an untowardly incident but also it can enhance the appeal of your building among buyers and renters.

Jim Kerr is Owner of B.I.C.S. Fireproofing, a Fireproofing Company based in Johannesburg, South Africa, offering passive fireproofing services to countries in the Southern African region. To get more information, go to Vermiculite Plasters. Also published at Vermiculite Plaster and Fireproofing.

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