Fire-retardant v. Fire-Resistant

Fire-Retardant vs. Fire-Resistant

Americover offers fire-retardant plastic sheeting for a variety of applications. Our specialty products like Heat Shrink WrapAnti-Static, String Reinforced, Black-Out, Printed and Non-Printed polys are suitable flame-retardant products for a variety of industries and purposes.

Customers often confuse fire-retardant with fire-resistant products. When dealing with fire safety, it is always prudent to have a working understanding of industry standards, laws, and definitions.

The big difference between fire-retardant materials and fire-resistant materials is how the material melts when exposed to fire and at what point the material self-extinguishes.


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.

Burn test conducted on Fire Retardant Material

Burn test conducted on NON-Fire Retardant Material


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.

How Can Americover’s Fire-Retardant Poly Help You?

Regardless of your needs, Americover’s fire-retardant poly has you covered.

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 30mil 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.

4mil and 8mil 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.

Want More Information?

Learn more about Americover’s fire-retardant poly solutions by emailing us at or calling 760-388-6294. We can discuss with you which fire-retardant poly will best meet your specific needs.

You can also browse our fire-retardant plastic sheeting right here on our website.

For Contractors and Distributors

We offer special pricing, volume discounts, short lead times and a dedicated account manager who will work with you to get exactly what you need. If you would like to speak with a representative, contact us at 760-388-6294.