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Flame retardancy Vs fire resistance: understanding the difference

  • 16.08.2021-
  • Gary Carpenter

At MEDITE SMARTPLY, we often talk about FR products, but what does this refer to exactly?

Often confused with each other, FR refers to ‘Flame Retardant’ not ‘Fire Resistant.’ –fundamentally different and crucial when it comes to fire safety.

‘Fire resistance’ refers to the ability of a material or system to resist, and ideally prevent, the passage of fire from one distinct area to another such as one apartment to another via party walls or floors. ‘Flame Retardant’ refers to treatments that improve a material’s ‘Reaction to fire’, which is the measurement of how a material or system will contribute to a fire’s development and spread, especially in the very early stages of a fire when evacuation is crucial.

Our SMARTPLY MAX FR B OSB panels provides enhanced fire protection to areas that require a high fire performance, including floors and ceilings in between apartments, hallways and walkways, and fire escape routes and other applications.

Flame-retardant panels also have a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and crucially a slower char rate, meaning that the panel burns far more predictably and crucially gives occupants more time to evacuate from a building.

All SMARTPLY MAX OSB/3 products share the same structural, moisture resistant properties, however, SMARTPLY MAX FR B OSB/3 has an additional benefit—outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties. Whether you’re working on a residential or commercial property, SMARTPLY MAX FR B panels are ideal for use where strength, moisture resistance and improved flame retardance are paramount.

What makes this panel so special? A water-based, non-toxic flame retardant solution is applied to the wood strands during manufacture, ensuring enhanced fire protection throughout the thickness of the panel, unlike post-treated panels which may only be coated on the surface.

As a result, SMARTPLY MAX FR B achieves a Reaction to Fire Classification of B-s2, d0, and Bfl-s1 (flooring) in accordance with EN13501-1 – the maximum rating for reaction to fire that a wood-based panel can achieve.

SMARTPLY MAX FR B also offers great versatility and is suitable for a wide range of applications for residential and commercial buildings. It’s independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent construction.

Finally, it is manufactured using FSC® certified timber from our own forests and features no added formaldehyde or harmful substances.

For more information, or to request samples, visit: