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FIRE RETARDANCY FOR SHADECLOTH IS A BIG DEAL

This month with Dr. Shade we are going to talk about Flame Retardancy for shadecloth, which to some folks is an ugly subject or to others a real bother, but as mom would say, “It’s for your own good”!

There are three main test methods for shadecloth as well as other exterior architectural fabrics. They are; ASTM E-84, NFPA 701 Method 2, and one of the toughest tests to pass; the California State Fire Marshall Title 19 or (CSFM Title 19). Each of these tests has a separate method and while all of them promulgate flammability specifications, you cannot get one certificate that covers them all.

Today we are going to address in depth the CSFM Title 19 Test Method and its importance to shadecloth. Did you know that Value Vinyls is proud to be the sole U.S. distributor for Monotec 370 Shadecloth, which is the only Mono/Mono shade cloth on the market today with a CSFM Title 19 pass certificate. This certificate must be renewed on an annual basis and Value Vinyls has just received the renewed certificate.

So, what is CSFM Title 19?

California State Fire Marshal Title 19. The state of California is a frontrunner in the United States when it comes to flammability, often initiating stricter flammability requirements before the rest of the country. This means that California State Fire Marshal certification is sometimes recognized outside of California, so it’s a specification you need to be aware of. Of course, the opposite is also true. When presented with a flame certificate from the CSFM, some local code officials may question the certificate. Knowing how it compares to other specifications may be of assistance in that situation. (See chart below.)

Dr Shade Graph

In addition to differences in test specifics, such as sample size and exposure to the flame source, the CSFM specification differs from the rest in one other important aspect—documentation. In order to qualify for CSFM certification, a fabric manufacturer not only must have their materials tested by an independent lab approved by the CSFM, but also send the material directly to the CSFM office to be tested there. The result is extra bureaucracy for the fabric suppliers, but a handy tool for end-product manufacturers. The Fire Engineering Department at the California State Fire Marshal has an online database of fabrics and films that have achieved its certification. Go to http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/fireengineering.html

Monotec 370 FR is the only shadecloth on the market today that meets all the FR specifications noted above and is the strongest fabric on the market along with having the best warranty in the business; 15 years for non-FR and 10 years for FR.

Value Vinyls has recently renewed our Monotec 370 FR CSFM Title 19 certification, click HERE if you would like us to send you the latest copy along with a Monotec brochure, or call us at 877-716-6651 to discuss the options for your project using Monotec.

Stay Tuned… Dr. Shade’s next blog will be addressing the NFPA-701 & ASTM-E84 Class A Flame Retardant test methods.

 

SOURCE American Society for Testing and Materials

SOURCE National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

SOURCE Office of the California State Fire Marshal

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