Wood in interior commercial applications is hotter than ever, but standard engineered wood products can present a major safety risk. It’s for this reason that Ampine, Timber Products Co.’s composite panel division, offers two Class 1(A) fire-rated (FR) particle boards—Apex FR and Encore FR—to ensure that building designers and owners get the look they love backed by strong protective properties.
Apex FR is a Class 1(A) FR panel engineered for exceptional strength and machinability and is intended for the most demanding applications. Encore FR is a Class 1(A) certified sustainable design particle board made from recycled wood. Rather than using a fire-retardant coating that could potentially be sanded or machined off, Encore and Apex products are processed with a fire-resistant additive that is blended with the wood fiber to ensure the entire product has flame retardant properties.
Of course, Ampine isn’t the only one interested in ensuring the products’ fire-retardant properties. Ampine FR particleboards have been certified since 2016, providing designers with guaranteed performance properties. David Smith, Vice President, Composite Panels, based in the company’s Sacramento office, explains that the company works with third-party underwriting body Guardian Fire-Testing Laboratories.
Guardian is responsible for testing and certifying FR products and manufacturing processes in accordance with ASTM E84. This Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials tests the particle board’s flame spread, or how quickly a fire can spread across a set length of material. As top-performing Class 1(A) products, these flame-retardant materials see a flame spread rating of 0-25, as compared to standard Class 3(C) particle board’s flame spread rating of 116-178.
Where designers want to apply an attractive interior wood finish in commercial applications, these fire-rated products are demanded by code. You can find FR particleboard lining the hallways and offices of schools and hospitals, providing siding for wood kiosks or walls throughout malls and decorating atriums and offices within government buildings. Jet bridges at most airports use FR particle board, and the product can be found throughout airport terminals.
“If they want a wood look they might put veneer on it, but it’s FR particle board beneath,” Smith says.
Ampine keeps its FR products stocked across the full range of standard sizes at its mill in Martell, Calif., to fulfill the demand for large jobs. Inventory is also available at the company’s relocation center in Pennsylvania, making FR panels available on demand from coast to coast, including the Northeast, to serve projects in cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Ampine prides itself on ensuring this fire-resistant particle board is available to support the varying needs of builders and manufacturers throughout the US and rest of North America.