Radiant Barrier Fire Testing
||There have been some significant changes in the fire testing
requirements of reflective insulation and radiant barriers which consumers need
to be aware of when comparison shopping or installing in their homes or buildings.
Understanding exactly what you are buying is crucial
in ensuring the product you purchase will meet proper building code requirements
as needed. This new fire testing method has caused some confusion in the
marketplace and we believe the information below will help clarify this
About Fire Ratings (Flame Spread & Smoke Development)
All building materials are evaluated in accordance with ASTM Test
Method E84 "Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building
Materials" to comply with building or mechanical code requirements such as the International
Residential Code (IRC), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), International
Building Code, (IBC), and other major building code bodies. The purpose of
this test method is to determine the relative burning behavior of the material by
observing the flame spread along the specimen. As a result of this test, building
materials are provided with test results regarding:
flame spread index - indicates the relative rate at
which flame will spread over the surface of the material as compared with flame
spread on asbestos-cement board, which is rated 0, and on red oak, which is
rated 100. Note that this rating is not the rate at which the flame actually
spreads along the surface and is not at all an indication of the fire resistance
of the material.
smoke developed index - characteristic of a material
to emit smoke when exposed to flame or fire.
The flame spread index and smoke developed index values obtained
by the ASTM E84 test are used by code officials and regulatory agencies (such as
IRC, IECC, IBC) in the acceptance of interior finish materials for various applications.
The most widely accepted classification system is described by the National Fire
Protection Association as follows:
Class A: flame spread index 0-25; smoke developed index 0-450
Class B: flame spread index 26-75; smoke developed index
Class C: flame spread index 76-200; smoke developed index
Because radiant barrier and reflective insulation products
fall into the category of building materials, they must pass ASTM fire testing
New ASTM E2599 Mounting Method for E84-10 Fire Testing
It is not uncommon for ASTM to announce new testing
requirements for building materials for a variety of reasons. Recent ASTM changes in the fire testing of reflective insulation and
radiant barriers resulted in a new required "mounting method" (ASTM E2599) for fire
testing. This new mounting method, which dictates how a radiant barrier should
be laid out for the fire test, more closely resembles how reflective insulation
and radiant barriers are installed in the real world.
The ASTM International Annual Book of Standards for 2010 now
requires the use of the E2599 mounting method with ASTM E84-10 fire testing for reflective insulation and radiant barriers.
Almost all building code organizations (such as IRC, IECC, IBC) and insurance
companies refer to ASTM for fire testing methods. Now that the standard is
adopted, it will be required everywhere eventually.
What This Means To Manufacturer/Suppliers
Because it's impossible for a manufacturer/supplier to know
when each city, county or state begins adopting a new standard, it is in the
best interest of the manufacturer to begin complying with the new standards as
soon as announced by ASTM. Once a manufacturer's products comply with a
new standard, they are required to re-label the products with the ASTM standard
testing results for proof.
What This Means To Consumers
The consumer is advised to utilize building material products
which meet current ASTM standards simply because its impossible to know when a
particular ASTM standard will be required at the city/county/state level.
Doing so will protect your investment for years to come.
However, just because a newer ASTM standard exists doesn't
mean that an older standard is not acceptable to your city/count/state agencies
or insurance provider. If you wish to use a building product that does
not meet current ASTM standards, we strongly encourage you to contact your local
building code officials and insurance company before making your decision.
Fire Testing Standard Applies to BOTH Retrofit & New
The new ASTM fire testing standard can be required for BOTH
existing retro-fit building and new building construction. For
clarification on requirements, please contact your local building code officials
and insurance company.
RadiantGUARD® Offers Both Metalized & Aluminum Radiant
Barriers that meet the new ASTM Fire Test
RadiantGUARD® is pleased to announce that our newest radiant
Ultima-foil, not only
PASSES ASTM E84-10 with the new E2599 mounting method, but does so with a
ZERO flame spread as does our
Xtreme-metalized radiant barrier.
Both radiant barrier versions are classified as Class A / Class 1.
Likewise, all RadiantGUARD®
reflective bubble insulation products
also PASS ASTM E84-10 with the new E2599 mounting method.
RadiantGUARD® offers a solid
10 YEAR WARRANTY on all products!