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Welcome to the Case Histories and Certifications of ICF’s blog by NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms. Here you will learn about some of NUDURA ICF projects from the past as well as the certifications of NUDURA insulated concrete forms. Be sure to check back regularly!

ICFs: Plastic plus Foam equals Fireproof

by NUDURA Blogger | Jul 22, 2016

In the past, people had a phobic view of ICFs because they believed EPS foam and plastic are flammable and wondered how could it ever be used in a non-combustible structure. In 1997, many of the ICF firms in existence at the time began targeting this. They ran the tests and determined plastic would not melt.

Additionally, Hose steam test blast wall with four inch firehose for four minutes trying to penetrate the wall – not one drop of water got through, penetrated.

From standpoint of the way codes were written, even though codes would accommodate materials – EPS foam was always allowed inside and outside a building – there are special things that the codes insist upon protection of the foam as well as the core testing to ensure the fire resistance rating quality was maintained.

Today, the most common goal for any non-combustible structure in both American and Canadian code is to make sure the building can maintain a 4-hour fire resistance rating under the design standards that are specified in the codes.

In the US, that’s ASTM-E119 UL-263 two key fire resistant standards that the architects have to pay attention to. NUDURA systems attain four hour fire resistance rating with a six inch core wall (rather than industry standard 8 inch core), and can sustain a four hour fire attack without any problem.

That doesn’t mean that the foam plastic doesn’t have to be protected, however. The codes do require that the foam plastic be protected with a thermal barrier to protect the occupants from any risk of smoke developed in the event of a fire, so that they can safely exit the building without harm. A ½ inch drywall is the most economical way of doing that.

The exterior of the building also has to be protected against flame propagation  so the codes similarly require a non-combustible finish to be applied over top of the foam that has been tested to NFPA-285. At minimum, the code requires one inch of brick or concrete that is protecting the foam on the outside.

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