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Protect your cottage with coatings that slow the burn

Not a season goes by without a cottage catching fire in Muskoka. While there can be many causes, some of them unavoidable, the one thing we can control is how we prepare.

“A great option is to have your Spray Foam and ICF insulation coated with a thermal barrier,” says Curtis Hinksman, owner of Soundseals Insulation – a certified installer of DC315 and MonoKote thermal barriers since 2016.

Thermal barriers are used to protect something from thermal damage in the case of a fire. The Ontario Building Code requires foam insulation products to be protected with a 15-minute thermal barrier if they are inside the building envelope.

In new and old buildings, any exposed foam insulation must be covered with a fire-resistant barrier. But that isn’t always done: many existing homes and cottages have exposed insulation, whether spray foam or ICF walls.

“You typically find exposed foam insulation in furnace rooms, storage closets, partially finished basements, and along the joists and rafters in unfinished ceilings and attics,” Curtis says.

Thermal barriers for insulation aren’t available for DIYers to purchase at their hardware stores. Curtis notes they are a cost-efficient investment that can be installed long after the insulation is in place.

Spray foam insulation is a plastic foam material, therefore it is flammable. The manufacturers treat the product with flame retardants to slow the burn when exposed to a direct flame. Once protected with a thermal barrier, it will delay the fire’s progression for up to 15 minutes, allowing your family more time to escape and giving first responders extra time to respond,” he says.

Soundseals Insulation uses two different thermal barrier products: DC315 and MonoKote Z-3306.

DC315 is a single-component, water-based intumescent coating that is painted onto Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF). Soundseals’ team of certified installers apply this paint over the spray foam insulation in interior living spaces where the insulation is exposed.

The other product is MonoKote Z-3306, a cementitious fire-protective coating formulated for application over rigid, urethane and polystyrene foam plastics (ICF foundations). The product is applied to interior foam surfaces on walls and ceilings before hardening into a durable, monolithic thermal barrier against heat and fire.

“Not a month goes by that we aren’t called to add thermal barriers to either ICF or foam insulation,” Curtis says. “Your home inspectors will require it to sign off on new builds, and we always suggest adding it for an extra level of peace of mind.”

Your cottage may be one of your biggest investments, but your family’s safety is worth much more. For a small additional cost, you can protect both.

TEXT SHELANNE AUGUSTINE
PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN

www.SoundSealsInsulation.com

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