Heat resistant paint has many different applications. It is used for heat protection and flame control. There are range of varieties for this type of paint, each with different heat tolerance and other characteristics which make some better for specific uses than others.
This type of paint may be referred to as heat resistant or high heat paint. Those that truly are intended to prevent the spreading of flames are called fire retardant paints. They come in either a typical paint can for brushing on, or in a spray can for spraying on. It is produced in a variety of colors, with the most popular color for many situations being matte black.
Depending on the manufacturer and the intended use, each heat resistant paint has different characteristics. They differ in the ingredients used, the type of cure, minimum curing temperature, and most important to the consumer, temperature tolerance. They bring durability, and form tough corrosion proof surfaces that are resistant to weathering, to surfaces that endure a whole lot of heat.
The first fire retardant paint was made in the 1950s. This was very expensive, difficult to use and contained known carcinogens. During the 1980s, this type of paint was improved by adding intumescent reactant to the formulation. This took away the carcinogenic properties and helped it bond to different surfaces with ease.
Some of the top uses for this type of paint are:
- Automotive engine, fan, radiator, and exhaust system
- Steam pipes
Preparation and Usage
Preparing the surface: Remove all grease, graphite and oil on the surface to be painted. For enameled surfaces, sand the surface down and to remove the gloss. This helps give the paint something to stick to. Once the surface is flat, you can start painting. Avoid using paint thinners, as this type of material is highly flammable. It is best to use a white cloth for cleaning as colored ones can bleed dye on the surface. Wear protective gloves, goggles, and mask.
Coat thickness: If there is already a coat of existing paint, you might want to sand it down. If the existing paint is peeling or cracking, it is best to remove the coat and repaint it completely. Apply two or three coats, depending on your preference. Be sure that the surface is completely stripped of existing paint.
Prepare the paint: Keep your spray can or paint bucket away from open flames or sparks. Be sure that you do your painting in a well-ventilated space. Stir the paint thoroughly. When using a spray paint, shake the can for about two minutes and be sure that you hear the rattling of the ball. This ensures that the mixture is not too thick and that the can will not spit the paint out.
Applying the paint: When using spray paint, do a test spray on a piece of newspaper or a surface that does not matter to test the consistency. Use the can about twelve inches from the surface to make sure you get an even coat. Use steady and even coats on the surface. Be sure that your finger is not blocking the nozzle of the spray. When painting with a brush, use short measured strokes, carefully covering all areas evenly. Some brands recommend two or more applications, so be sure to read the label carefully
Partly used spray cans: If you have used a can of spray paint and want to see if it still has a bit of juice left in it, you should turn it upside down and do a test spray. Press on the nozzle until no more paint comes out. This clears the opening of unwanted and unmixed paint. After this, you can turn it right-side-up and start painting.
Low spray rate problems: This might be due to a blockage. You can hold the can in warm water for a while until the blockage clears up. Any solids that are stuck in the nozzle should clear out due to the warm water.
Curing the paint: Carefully read the label to understand the kind of paint you have and its requirements for drying and curing. Most fire resistant paint has resin in it that dries at room temperature, but cures at extremely high temperature levels.
Heating for the first time: If your paint cures at high temperatures test it out first by heating the object painted (oven, grill, etc). You may see a couple of changes in the paint, and it might even start to look less glossy. The paint might release smoke or have a funny smell, which is usually only during the first time that the paint is heated and is to be expected.
Tips For Using Fire Retardant Paint
Always read the manual before starting on a project. Find out what type of paint you have and how to cure it. It always pays off to find out what types of substances your heat resistant paint contains. Always keep children and small animals out of the room where you are conducting your painting project.