Fire rated plasterboard goes through a special process that is different from the manufacture of standard plasterboard, where the aerated gypsum that makes up the core of the board is reinforced with glass fibre and other elements before being strongly sealed to the pink paper that sees many people refer to it as “pink plasterboard”.
The glass fibre and different additives added to the mix confer both strength and additional fire resistance to the finished boards, making them fire retardant. This is an important thing to note, as even fire resistant plasterboard can only contain and withstand fire for a relatively short time of 30 minutes, but it is hoped that with the use of fire and smoke alarm technology that this will buy enough time to evacuate residents or building users. This is why they are referred to as fire resistant boards rather than fireproof plasterboard.
Fire plasterboard is used to make buildings safer and less at risk if a fire breaks out. In case of fire, plasterboard that is of this type is an excellent way to delay the spread of fire through the building. It won't be able to save the building from burning but it will gain vital minutes for those inside to escape. It doesn't contribute much to the thermal retention of the buildup (with a thermal conductivity of 0.24 W/mK), and so is mainly used for dry lining and fire resistance purposes.
In larger buildings, slowing the spread of the fire in this way can be the difference between life and death for residents, patients or customers and that is why it is used extensively in public buildings, hospitals and residences. When fire safety really has to count, fire rated plasterboard can make a huge difference to the survival chances of those inside when the fire breaks out. Installing has many benefits, such as helping to meet UK building regulations in a variety of wall lining and ceiling systems, such as fire rated partitions, stud partitions, domestic separating walls, and steel encasement systems.
Standard gypsum plasterboard is not fire rated and this means it will not meet the stringent fire performance requirements of current UK building regulations. Fire rated plasterboard offers superior fire resistance over and above that of standard plasterboard, and is therefore used widely across a large number of residential and commercial projects. It is often the case that junction boxes and rooms with electrical equipment are constructed using fire resistant plasterboard as this allows the spread of the fire to be contained for a period of time to allow safe evacuation or action to extinguish the fire.
Fire rated plasterboard comes in two thicknesses; 12.5mm and 15mm. Either thickness can be used depending on what is specified for your application, although it is worth noting that 15mm fire resistant plasterboard will give superior fire protection than 12.5mm fire resistant plasterboard.
In terms of size, all the sheets sold here at Materials Market are 2400mm x 1200mm, although 2700mm and 3000mm length sheets are available on request. The 12.5mm is available both in tapered edge and square edge, with tapered edge being more popular than square edge.
Fire rated plasterboard has a pink paper face. This is because of the properties infused into the Gypsum during the manufacturing process and the colour of the paper strip used to differentiate it from other types of plasterboard which have different properties. Moisture resistant plasterboard for example has a green colour.
Fire rated plasterboard is sometimes referred to as “pink plasterboard” for exactly this reason. These colours are standardised across different manufacturing companies so you will always be able to recognise at a glance the product that you’re looking for.
There are three main manufacturers of fire rated plasterboard in the UK; Knauf Drywall, British Gypsum and Siniat. These manufacturers have an excellent fire protection reputation when it comes to the manufacture of plasterboard and other drylining products.
In terms of performance, all three manufacturers produce fire rated plasterboard to a very high standard, to the point where the boards are very similar across the brands. Unless part of a specification where a particular brand is needed to fit the requirements, we would recommend fire plasterboard from any of these manufacturers, and weighing up price and availability as the deciding factors. Knauf Fire Panel is a good value and reliable fire plasterboard to go with if you're stuck for choice!
The effectiveness of fire rated plasterboard is measured by the amount of time it protects from fire before burning. As it is not fire proof, merely fire resistant, pink plasterboard should not be relied on solely to prevent the spread of fire, but merely to halt it temporarily. Other products – such as insulation that is classed as A1 non-combustible – should be used in conjunction with fire resistant plasterboard to add additional fire protection.
When used in a partition or ceiling, two layers of 12.5mm fire plasterboard should provide up to one hour’s fire protection. In a partition where there are two layers of fire rated plasterboard on either side, they will provide un to two hours of fire resistance. You should always check with an architect or other suitable professional when assessing the level of fire protection required for a building.
Yes, paint can either be applied directly to the fire plasterboard or it can be plastered and then painted. For maximum efficacy, intumescent fire rated paint can be used to maintain its fire protection. This will help to increase the effectiveness of the fire resistance and is also something that can be applied to non fire resistant panels in order to give them a measure of fire resistance.
There are several places where using fire resistant plasterboard makes a lot of sense. One is the kitchen in the property, particularly in the walls, floors and ceilings around the main cooking appliance. It is also good to use near junction boxes or anywhere that could realistically spark an electrical fire. It is also vital to use it on any structural elements such as floors, walls and supporting beams.
It is important to consider all of the places that it may be useful to install fire rated plasterboard, especially in higher risk areas, so that the maximum level of fire safety can come as standard with the project you are working on.
As a fire resistant plasterboard supplier, we are often asked how to fit fire rated plasterboard. Plasterboard can be installed using adhesives or screws. Hammering will likely damage the structural integrity of the boards, so that is not an option. Remember to always hang plasterboard with the grain running horizontally in order to maintain its strength and durability.
It’s very important to measure and mark where the stud wall is behind the panels so that it is easier to affix the boards both flush and securely to the structure of the building. From there it is simply a case of positioning the boards as required and driving in the screws needed to keep the boards in place.
Nobody has ever called fire resistant plasterboard cheapest when it comes to creating interior structures, but it is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of a property and its inhabitants should the worst happen and a fire breaks out. There is no question that places built using fire rated plasterboard offer more fire protection and is safer than those without it, and it is not worth cutting corners for the small short-term financial savings to be made by not using it.
Here at Materials Market, our we offer great prices on tapered edge and square edge fire rated plasterboard, as well as lots of other building materials, we believe that are an excellent investment for the peace of mind that its use will bring.