Fire Retardant Treatments for Furnishings

Furnishings refer to furniture, fittings, curtains and carpets and we often take the safety of these for granted. Whether in our home or business, and even in public areas such as schools, shopping centers and theatres, furnishings can be a hazard and susceptible to fire damage. It is therefore vital to understand the benefits of using fire retardant treatments and applying them correctly.

The description ‘fire retardant’ refers to a function, and rightfully it should not be confined to any class of chemical compounds that facilitate the function. For that matter, the practice often involves a wide array of varying chemicals to secure the premises, office or households, from fire risk. The most common elements in fire retardants include phosphorous, nitrogen, bromine and chlorine and their main function is to reduce the possibility of fires.

Chemicals can be added to furniture like decorative wood and rattan chairs to make them less combustible or render them more difficult to ignite. Some items are inherently more susceptible to fire damage such as curtains. With appropriate fire retardant coating, the chance of these items turning into serious fire starters is greatly reduced as in the case of electrical faults, or exposure to a heated object like an iron, cigarette butt or burning candle.

It is a well-known fact that furniture, and furnishings in general, poses a significant fire threat. But a more significant risk would lie in waiting if the fire spreads throughout your home or building, from stair enclosures to ventilation spaces. Taking extra precaution when applying fire retardant is therefore imperative as it will help to reduce the devastating effect of fire on property, people and the environment.

If you are a proud homeowner, a fire retardant treatment should be your first option to minimize the risk of fire. This means that you should also consider treating any foam upholstery, foam mattresses and blinds. An appropriate fire retardant treatment would serve two purposes. First, when the fire retarded furniture or a nearby object catches fire, the retardant chemical is able to contain further ignition. Secondly, it will minimize fire damage. Fire spread, technically, is a measurement of the surface burning characteristics of the materials involved.

It is not uncommon to see applicators employ a number of fire retardant products to secure a home or business. This action is carried out of necessity, because the furnishings within could be made of various materials and each would have to be treated differently for it to become fire retarded. It all boils down to the individual mechanical and chemical characteristics of such furniture. For example, those of a plastic chair would be significantly different from those inside a wooden table, thus warrant different treatment.

Additionally, the appropriate fire retardants have to be applied so that the finished “fire retarded” objects can retain their original functionalities. Ultimately, we don’t want to lose the sturdiness of the rock solid wooden chair, or our bed feels less comfortable after a round of treatment is applied. This same consideration is just as applicable to foam and fiber insulation materials (furniture, sofa), plastic chairs, wood products, natural and synthetic fabrics.

At the end of the day, fire retardants may save lives as they protect us from fire hazards of day-to-day objects we might take for granted – that is, furnishings.