How to Fireproof Metal Columns

Written by ben wakeling
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How to Fireproof Metal Columns
Steel columns can be clad in another material to make them fire resistant. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

You may think that steel columns and structures do not require fireproofing, but if a blaze does break out, temperatures can easily exceed 816 degrees Celsius. This could cause the steel to warp and eventually collapse, causing widespread structural damage to the building and posing a major hazard to the lives of anyone inside. Fireproofing these columns using materials that can reduce this transfer of heat has the potential to save many lives.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Form boards
  • Concrete
  • Steel reinforced bars
  • Steel mesh
  • Intumescent paint

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  1. 1

    Contact your local building authority for information, guidance and standards on fireproofing. This will help you to design the extent of fireproofing that you will require in your structure.

  2. 2

    Apply intumescent paint to the full height of the steel column, and wait until it is dry. Reapply once more in order to ensure the column is completely covered. This type of paint has properties that causes swelling and charring when exposed to extreme heat and flames.

  3. 3

    Install form boards around the steel column, and place steel rebars and mesh in the gap between the form and the column. Fill this area with concrete, and wait 24 hours to cure before removing the boards.

Tips and warnings

  • A qualified structural engineer will be able to tell you the requirements for concrete thickness.

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