Thermal barriers and their use

Sprayed Poly FoamThermal barrier. A requirement for any home. What is it? What job does it do? Is it really necessary? All these are some of the questions that may run through your mind. But continue reading to find the answer to your questions. To start of, a lets take a look at what a thermal barrier is, also commonly referred to as well as heat or fire barriers. A thermal barrier, is a sort of material or type of coating that typically is used and applied over what is known as polyurethane foam. A thermal barrier is designed to slow down the temperature rise of the foam during a fire hazard and also allows the foam’s involvement and contact with the fire.

The building code definition of an approved thermal barrier is one which is equal in fire resistance to 1/2 inch gypsum board or drywall. These types of thermal barriers prevent the temperature from rising from the polyurethane foam lying underneath this board to not rise over 250° F after a 15 minute fire exposure. Where should this thermal barrier be used then? Where is it necessary or required? The building code indicates that a thermal barrier should be present on the habitable side of a structure such as a building or home and this barrier should be between the interior part of the structure and the polyurethane foam. In the majority of cases where spray polyurethane foam is used in a home, the foam must be separated from the habitable area by a layer of ½-inch drywall.

Spray-Applied Polyurethane Foam

Why is this necessary you may wonder? Spray-applied polyurethane foam just like most organic materials, is combustible. So if this SPF were to be exposed to any sort of fire source such as welding arcs, cutting torches, red hot metal among many others, it could ignite and be hazardous. Building codes require these thermal barriers in order to reduce any risks of flash fires and also to prolongate the time that the foam would typically reach its auto ignition temperature if a fire were to occur or originate from any other sort of source. So as we can see a thermal barrier is imperative to be present in order to have a safe and comfortable home and to prevent flash fires. Always make sure to put you safety first.