Fire-rated plasterboard goes through a special process that is different from the manufacture of standard plasterboard; its aerated gypsum core 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 fibres 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 the use of fire and smoke alarm technology will buy enough time to evacuate residents. This is why they are referred to as fire-resistant boards rather than fireproof plasterboard.
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. It won't completely fireproof your house but it will gain vital minutes for those inside to escape. 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.
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.
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 resists fire before burning. As it is not fireproof, 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.
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.
It is important to consider all of the places where 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.