The new building code relating to fire rating regulations and standards will be mandatory from April 2013. While this does not directly impact tile specification, it is worth noting the following, relating to fire ratings for ceramic and porcelain tiles.
In many instances, ceramic tile suppliers have been requested to provide fire ratings for their products. Fire ratings are required by the Building Code to ensure that if a building is on fire, its construction materials do not significantly increase the spread or intensity of a fire.
However, fire safety requirements do not necessarily apply for tiles, considering that ceramics are a fire-resistant material, most being manufactured at over 1000 degrees Celsius. For example, if a lighted cigarette is dropped on the floor, in most circumstances it will not do any damage to the tile. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets will not scorch or melt the surface of ceramic and porcelain tiles.
During a fire, many household products let off dangerous toxic fumes in the form of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). However, being fired at very high temperatures means ceramic tiles do not exude VOC emissions. During manufacture, any organics that might be present in clays or binders are completely burned away. As a result, the final product is inert and no VOCs can be emitted. Aside from this, quality porcelain tiles contain no sealants, waxes or other chemicals that could release VOCs into the environment.
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