It’s common for builders and contractors to need fire retardant plastic sheeting for a wide variety of projects, including renovation projects that take place in historical buildings, commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, hospitals, theater and movie sets, haunted house attractions, or as temporary structures. Some local building codes require fire retardant vapor barriers installed on interior wall and ceiling finishes or installed in crawl spaces.
For projects that require fire retardant barriers, managers must look for products that are certified to have passed NFPA 701 testing. Any sheeting labeled as fire retardant passes these standards. So which NFPA 701 fire retardant testing and certifications should you know about to determine the right plastic sheeting for your application? We’ll explain.
What is NFPA 701?
The National Fire Protection Association creates the national code for eliminating injury, death, and damage because of fire, electrical disasters, or similar issues. These codes are uniformly adapted by individual states to ensure consistent compliance across state lines.
NFPA 701 establishes the testing standard, which assesses flame propagation for textiles and film, including curtains, table linings, textile hangings, tents, tarps, and plastic sheeting.
If a fabric is certified as fire-retardant, then it has passed the NFPA 701 test. Testing textiles and film with NFPA 701 standards is done through one of two methods, depending on the weight and material of the item being tested.
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NFPA 701 tests three different factors when determining whether a material is fire retardant: after flame, char length, and flaming residue.
After Flame tests how long the film or textile continues to burn after the source of the flame is removed after being exposed to the material for twelve seconds. The material passes if it burns for less than 2.0 seconds after the source of flame has been removed.
Char Length is the maximum distance a burned material will tear with weight applied. This procedure is carried out in accordance with NFPA 701. A material passes if it has a char length of less than 6.4 inches.
Flaming Residue is the last criterion, and it measures whether the material continues to burn after it reaches the testing room floor. The specimen passes if it does not continue to burn after it reaches the floor.
What is ASTM E84?
The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) also has a set of standardized tests to determine a product’s flammability. ASTM E84 tests the burning characteristics of materials by testing the flame spread and smoke development. This is done by placing the specimen in a Steiner Tunnel or an apparatus with dual burners. Plastic sheeting that passes at the highest level is classified as Class I or Class A barriers.
What is the Best Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting?
Americover offers the highest quality fire retardant plastic sheeting options for builders and contractors.
6 Mil Dura Skrim® Fire Retardant Reinforced Plastic Sheeting: 6 Mil Dura Skrim® Fire Retardant Reinforced Plastic Sheeting is a puncture-resistant construction film reinforced with a layer of polyester scrim to prevent tearing. It is printed with the Dura-Skrim® logo and the words “Fire Retardant” to meet building codes where flame retardant materials are required.
4 Mil Black Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting: 4 Mil Black Fire Retardant Plastic Sheeting meets the safety requirements of NFPA 701 test 1, ASTM E-84, and California Title 19 for use in indoor dust barriers, partition curtains, equipment protection, and more. Fire certificates are included with your order.
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