Understanding the Ratings on Your Fire rated metal wall panels


May 05, 2019

So, you’re looking to invest in fire rated metal wall panels for your commercial and industrial projects.  What numbers should you look for, and which are going to be most relevant if a fire breaks out?

Well, there are plenty of numbers and statistics you can look at when comparing wall panels.  However, most of them really only have to do with matters relating to construction, such as how thick the wall panels are.  Fundamentally, there are only two numbers that relate to their ability to hold back heat: the fire rating, and the R-value.

How Are Fire Ratings Determined For Fire Rated Metal Wall Panels?

When it comes to fire ratings, those are almost always determined by outside agencies, based on agreed standards.  In the case of ISOWALL®, panels have been tested by NRC and meet Flame Spread Test in accordance with ULC S102, ULC C376-95, UL-5138 (Flame spread 25, smoke developed 290), Intertek NP-C463 for use in sprinklered buildings. Complies with CAN/ULC S102.

And that’s a good thing because local building codes often specify minimum fire ratings for construction materials.  After all, any building needs to be able to withstand fire for long enough for the people in it to evacuate! Fortunately, insulated wall panels are excellent at withstanding fire.  Panels with particularly thick cores can be rated for two hours, or even three!

That’s going to be well beyond what any local code demands.

What Does An R-Value Mean?

An R-Value is a measure of how well a wall or other piece of insulation resists the transfer of heat from one side to the other.  R-Values are generally expressed in terms of square inches, although occasionally another measurement may be used.  The basic formula is to apply a constant source of heat to one side of the wall, then measure the temperature on both sides.  The difference in temperatures, multiplied by the surface area, creates the R-value.

Bigger is better when it comes to R-ratings.  For reference, aerogel tends to have R-ratings of 20 or higher, per square inch.  On the other hand, standard fiberglass insulation will have a per-square-inch R-Rating more in the area of 3-4.

Structural Panels Inc. Is A Leader in Fire Rated Metal Wall Panels!

For over thirty years, we’ve been developing and refining insulated wall panels suitable for use in homes, offices, industrial spaces, and more.  Contact us to request a free sample of our product!

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