Joint Sealing Sealant Passive Fire Protection Article

Sika’s passive fire protection solutions are designed to be able to seal all different types of building joints and penetrations, in order to help keep fire in defined compartments for a certain period of time, thereby allowing people to evacuate safely. Sika passive fire protection solutions comply with the most relevant national and international standards (including EN, UL, EAD (ETAG), ASTM, AS, Certifire), in order to confirm that they meet the highest fire resistance requirements and consequently can help save people’s lives.

House on fire

Reaction to Fire and Resistance to Fire

“Fire testing” can be a very complex topic – the differences between ‘reaction to fire’ and ‘resistance to fire’ can frequently cause some confusion, but can be clarified as follows: 

Reaction to fire
  • Describes how a material contributes to the development and spread of a fire. Typically reaction to fire is determined for a single material or product such as a wall covering or joint sealant, and not for a system or section such as a wall including the linear joints and any penetrations.
  • In Europe reaction to fire is now classified according to European Standard EN 13501-1, which is gradually replacing older national standards such as the German DIN 4102.
Euro class Requirement Examples of materials
A1 No contribution to fire Stone, concrete, glass, most metals
A2 Insignificant contribution to fire Similar to A1 including small amounts of organic compounds
B No spread of fire and very limited contribution to fire Gypsum boards with very thin surface covering, fire rated sealants
C Very limited spread of fire Gypsum boards with thicker surface coverings
D Limited spread of fire Wood & wooden products (depending on size)
E Acceptable reaction to fire in case of a very small flame Many plastic products and materials
F Not passing requirements for classes A1-E Other materials than classes A1-E
Resistance to fire
  • Describes the ability of a building element to prevent the passage of heat and flames from one side to another. Typically such building elements are walls or floors including any joints and penetrations, windows and doors etc. This means that not only a specific material or product, but an entire system or building section has to be tested.
  • There are many different national and international test standards and classification schemes for fire resistance, however most of them follow the same principle: The building element or component for testing, including all of the service penetrations, joints, doors, windows and the joint sealant in and around them, is fixed into a test frame which is then attached to a test furnace. The side facing towards the furnace is known as the exposed or fire side, whilst the outer side is the unexposed or non-fire side. The furnace temperature is raised according to a defined curve reaching 945°C after 60 minutes and 1,153°C after 240 minutes.
  • Two parameters are relevant for most fire resistance tests: Integrity and Insulation.
Fire resistance illustration of Integrity (E)
E – Integrity

Integrity (E) is a building element’s capability – when exposed to fire on one side – to prevent the passage of flames and hot gases to the unexposed side.

Fire resistance illustration of Insulation (I)
I – Insulation

Insulation (I) is a building element’s capability to maintain its thermal insulation function when exposed to fire on one side. Most standards allow a maximum of 180°C temperature rise on the unexposed side.

Standard Description, Scope Remark
EN 1366-3 Test standard for penetration seals Most relevant standards for resistance to fire testing.
Also referred to in EAD and partly AS 1530.4
EN 1366-4 Test standard for linear joint seals
EN 13501-2 Classification standard for linear joint seals and service penetration seals Leading to EI classes. Relevant for EN 1366 and EAD
BS 476-20 Test standard for linear joint seals and service penetration seals British standard; superseded by EN 1366/EN 13501 but still used in some regions
EAD 350454-
Fire stopping and fire sealing products – penetration seals Superseded ETAG 026. Leading to CE marking and DoP.
Fire resistance tested acc. EN 1366
EAD 350141-
Fire stopping and fire sealing products – linear joints and gap seals
UL Certification scheme for product safety based in the US Different test methods and requirements for different regions (e.g. UL EU and UL US/UL C)
AS 1530.4 Test and classification for linear joint seals and service penetrations Australian standard, technically very similar to EN 1366
Certifire Certification scheme for fire protection products Relevant in the Middle East
Christian Voellm

Christian Völlm
Corporate Market Development Manager
Target Market Sealing & Bonding
Sika Services AG