Sealmaster is a division of  Dixon International Group Limited

Telephone: 01223 832851    Contact Us

Sealmaster FireFace


Introduction

Sealmaster BlizzardFire spreads more rapidly through period and historical buildings than most others. The widespread use of timber flooring, panelling or laths and other combustible materials such as horse hair and straw explains part of the reason why. The ability of period doors to slow the spread of fire can make a critical difference.

Traditionally, door panels were constructed of wide sheets of solid timber between 6mm and 15mm thick. Often the panels were jointed and those which were glued typically used an animal glue (which loosens under heat). These doors tend to fissure in the first few minutes of a fire allowing it to break through.

Upgrading doors’ fire resistance to 30 minutes gives vital extra time for people to escape the building and for the emergency services to arrive. It also reduces the potential for damage by fire, smoke (and water). The challenge has been how to achieve this without replacing doorsets or ‘fletching’ (splitting door leafs sectionally, sandwiching incombustible boards within and reassembling them - a costly and highly intrusive method. Sealmaster’s new FireFace membranes offer the first non-intrusive, undetectable and fully reversible solution. FireFace membranes were developed by Sealmaster for English Heritage following a review of fire safety in the wake of the Windsor Castle blaze.

objective opinion

Sealmaster BlizzardToday, FireFace is specified by English Heritage, Heritage Scotland and other leading authorities. It has been described by House & Garden magazine as a ‘Brilliant British Brainwave’.

In 1999, the Design Council selected FireFace membranes as Millennium Products and exhibited them on the Spiral of Innovation during 2000 in London. FireFace was chosen by the Conran Design Group as one of the UK’s top 120 products and exhibited by the British Council on a year long tour of foreign capitals.

FireFace has also been covered in other publications such as the Design Council’s book Here’s to the best of British and the Sharing Innovation Network’s online databank. No other product even comes close.

evaluating doors

Sealmaster FireFaceThe extent to which a period door requires additional protection to achieve a 30 minute fire rating depends on a number of factors, such as the components’ dimensions, the density and ‘char rate’ of the timber. Some may require little or no surface protection whereas others may not be suitable to upgrade because the panels are too thin (eg less than 6mm in some softwoods) or the rails etc. may be too small to prevent failure through distortion and warping under heat.

Since fire follows the path of least resistance, other weak points should also be protected - particularly the frame to leaf gaps, glued joints, ironmongery and glazed apertures. Care should also be taken to ensure that any voids around the doorset are adequately protected.For example, between the door frame and adjoining masonry,
below or between floorboards etc. Sealmaster has developed a comprehensive range of products for these applications, designed with fire safety, conservation, economic and aesthetic priorities equally in mind.

The range of Sealmaster products, including FireFace, is backed up with free technical advice professional site surveys, exhaustive test data and state-of-the-art testing facilities. For further details, please contact Technical Support. Tel. (01223) 832851, Fax (01223) 837215 tech@sealmaster.co.uk


What is FireFace?
FireFace is a thin membrane which is adhered to both sides of thinner or jointed timber door panels and to timber wall panelling to provide up to 30 minutes’ fire resistance. FireFace can later be removed without damaging the fabric of the
timberwork.

The FireFace membrane contain a thin layer of reinforced intumescent material, developed by Sealmaster for this application. During a fire, the intumescent compound

Sealmaster FireFaceswells and chars, insulating the surface of the timber beneath and retarding the effects of heat on the door’s integrity. Between the intumescent layer and the timberwork, a specialised woven layer ensures that even if the panel fissures under intense heat, the risk of ‘flaming’ is avoided.
(Flaming takes place when hot gases escape through a panel and combust on the unexposed face.)

FireFace shown on raised / fielded and flat panels

fireface options
The latest version of FireFace, FireFace Plus is a mere 1.8mm and offers a woodgrain surface which can be decorated, stained or veneered for a seamless match with surrounding timberwork.

Performance
Sealmaster FireFace membranes conform to the strict conventions of the ICOMOS Vienna and Burra Charters. They have passed exhaustive tests carried out in accordance with BS 476 on new and old panelled doors. FireFace has proven a reliable solution when applied to painted surfaces and to softwood panels as thin as 6mm including those with a central unglued joint.

For details of tests carried out in-house, independently by Warrington Fire Research Centre and by International Fire Consultants, please contact Technical Support.

Fitting FireFace
FireFace Plus is easily applied without damaging the fabric of the door. It can be fixed beneath or between beads and mouldings. A solvent based contact adhesive is available. Small gaps and joins are made good with Sealmaster Masterseal - a gun-applied intumescent compound which can be sanded and decorated. FireFace Plus can be decorated with emulsion or oil-based paints to match in. FireFace Plus can also be stained or veneered.

 


FireFace Plus

  Fire rating (minutes)   30
  Non-Invasive & reversible   Yes
  Overall thickness (mm)   1.8
  Surface texture   woodgrain
  Suitable for painting   Yes
  Suitable for staining   Yes
  Suitable for veneering   Yes
  Tear-resistant reinforcement   Yes
  Fixed between or below beads   Yes

Leading Specifiers’ Choice
PlusSealmaster FireFaceFireFace membranes protect many of the most important ancient and historical buildings in the UK and elsewhere. Amongst those we are at liberty to mention are: Stormont Castle. Hampton Court Palace. Somerset House. Trinity College, Cambridge. Tower of London. Kenwood House.

Sealmaster Seminars
Sealmaster runs a programme of seminars and fire safety days, designed to bring specifiers, fire officers and other construction professionals up to date with the latest advances in the field (without charge). Contact us for details.

 

SEALMASTER FIREFACE

  • Kenwood House
    (Above) FireFace being applied to panelled doors in Kenwood House, Hampstead, London

resources