Plastic sheeting is combustible, unlike gypsum board, steel, and fiberglass. Customers often confuse fire retardant with fire resistant products. We often have contractors contact us for a material that has a 1-hour fire rating, but there are not currently any plastic sheeting products that can meet that requirement.
The big difference between fire retardant and fire resistant materials is how the material melts when exposed to fire and at what point the material self-extinguishes. When dealing with fire safety, a working understanding of industry standards, laws, and definitions can save you time during inspection and liability in the event of a fire.
At Americover, we specialize in fire-retardant plastic sheeting solutions such as Heat Shrink Wrap, Anti-Static, String Reinforced, Black-Out, Printed, and Non-Printed polys. Many applications require fire retardant plastic sheeting including ship renovations, temporary indoor dust containment systems, haunted houses, and covering insulation.
What is Fire Retardant?
Fabrics, materials, and films used in most public spaces (including schools, churches, auditoriums, theatres, and more) are required by law in many states and cities to be certified as flame retardant, according to standards developed by the NFPA.
In general, fire-retardant materials have been chemically treated to slow ignition, burning, or actually self-extinguish when exposed to an open flame. Regardless the original material, it must be chemically treated to retard the spread of flames.
The most widely followed standard to determine fire retardancy in America is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 701 Standard: Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films. This test measures:
- the flammability of a material when it is exposed to specific sources of ignition.
- the ignition resistance of a material after it is exposed to a flame for 12 seconds. The flame, char length, and flaming residue are recorded.
For fabric to be certified as flame-retardant, it must pass the NFPA 701 test.
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What is Fire Resistant?
Fire-resistant and flame-resistant products are designed to be nonflammable at a chemical level, and to self-extinguish without melting or dripping when directly exposed to extreme heat.
To determine a material’s flame resistance, a product must be tested and rated using the ASTM F1959 standard. Testing the fabric involves suspending it over a vertical flame for 12 seconds and then removing it from the flame, in order to pass the test, the fabric:
- must self-extinguish in two seconds or less
- must have a minimal length six inches or less if being used for arc flash protection, or four inches or less if being used for flash fire protection.
It is important to remember that flame-resistant fabrics can and do ignite, as the test does involve igniting the product. The material’s “protection value is in the structural strength of the fabric, the threshold before ignition and its self-extinguishing properties.” Such materials are designed to prevent the spread of fire by preventing the melting and dripping when in close proximity to an open flame.
Is Fire Retardant and Flame Retardant the Same?
These two terms are used interchangeably even though scientifically they refer to different states. Fire retardants are generally used to prevent damage to public and private buildings and wildlife. These materials are made from a combination of wetting agents and foaming chemicals aimed to slow or halt the spread of a fire. Flame retardants, on the other hand, are typically used on furnishings, textiles, and products within homes such as electronics. These materials are composed of a variety of chemicals that prevent burning or slow the spread of fire when applied to materials.
Common industry terms:
- Fire Retardant Polyethylene
- Flame Retardant Plastic Sheeting
- Poly Sheeting
What is the Best Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting I Can Buy?
Regardless of your application, Americover’s fire retardant poly has you covered. Our expert team is well-versed in the fire ratings required for ensuring your applications are up to code with the right materials. That’s why we offer a variety of American-made plastic sheeting solutions for your fire retardant applications. Below are some of our top fire retardant plastic sheeting solutions.
Anti-Static Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting
What it is: Americover’s plastic sheeting conforms to all regulations and passes NFPA and ASTM testing. Dust and dirt do not cling to anti-static sheeting, which makes clean up easier.
How it’s used: Common applications for our plastic sheeting include surface protection during installation, construction, maintenance, repair, tenant improvement, hospital renovation, and telecommunication work.
Fire Retardant Heat Shrink-Wrap
What it is: Our shrink-wrap is available in both fire-retardant and non-FR and UVI. Being a #4 LDPE, it is also recyclable!
How it’s used: Use this heat shrink wrap to enclose scaffolding, to cover buildings, bridges, and ships, as a temporary roof cover, storage cover, transportation cover, industrial containment, and more.
Fire Retardant String-Reinforced Plastic Sheeting
What it is: Two layers of fire-retardant low-density polyethylene, as well as string reinforcement, make this plastic sheeting ideal for any type of construction project.
How it’s used: Common applications for this sheeting include architectural vapor retarder in walls, ceilings and roofing systems, temporary enclosures, storage covers, construction site covers, bag and tubing, dust partitions, temporary walls, abatement, and more.
14 Mil or 30 Mil Fire Retardant Deck Cover™
What it is: Our deck cover is heavy-duty, anti-slip, and anti-skid. It tapes effortlessly in place and is easy to cut and size as needed.
How it’s used: It is ideal for medium to heavy-duty protection during periods of construction, refit, new build, conversion, and repair on decks, sports courts, flooring, ships, and more.
Fire Retardant Carpet Cover
What it is: This fire-retardant carpet cover is industrial duty designed for jobs, events, or projects for up to 45 days per application.
How it’s used: Our carpet cover is perfect for tradeshows, dog shows, construction, maintenance, and commercial renovation in museums, office buildings, and schools.
4 Mil and 8 Mil Black Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting
What it is: Our black plastic sheeting tapes in place easily and blocks light.
How it’s used: This sheeting is ideal for covering for cargo and airplane parts, blackout curtains, covering sensitive shipments, haunted house walls, bloom rooms, and more.
Trusted by Builders, Growers, and Distributors
Americover is the smart source for plastic and polyethylene sheeting. Trusted by contractors and distributors across the construction and agriculture industries, our American-made products combine reliability with quality and innovation.
As an Americover customer, you will receive the personalized support of a dedicated account manager to simplify the ordering process and ensure the best solution for every one of your projects. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to answer your questions and fulfill orders Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Chat now with a team member or call us at 760-388-6294.
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- Access to a dedicated and knowledgeable account manager
Distributors and builders have trusted Americover with supplying reliable products for their applications for over 30 years. We are dedicated to problem-solving with extensive resources available to help you achieve the right solutions. Learn more about the benefits we offer to our distributors.