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What You Need To Know About Fire Retardant Materials

Fire retardant (FR) fabrics are useful and practical materials because they add a layer of security and protection to a person or facility. If you are planning to have this type of material for curtains, drapes, and other features in your facility, you should have basic knowledge about it first.

One vital point that you need to remember is that no fabric is a hundred per cent fire-proof because all materials will eventually ignite and even melt at high temperatures. However, fire retardant fabrics work to slow down the spread of the fire so that the damage is less disastrous.

In this article, we will share several other vital points that you should know about fire retardant fabrics:

Get to Know the Common Terms

Here are the common terms you’ll encounter when dealing with fire-retardant fabrics:

  • Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR) - these are woven fabrics that have flame-resistant fibres naturally. That means this type of textile doesn’t need to be treated with other chemicals.
  • Durable Flame Retardant (DFR) - these are fabrics that feature flame-retardant finishes. However, it needs to be retreated after a number of cleanings.
  • Non-Durable Flame Retardant (NDFR) - these are materials that take longer to ignite. When it gets in contact with liquid, it will need to be treated again.
  • Can Be Made Fire Retardant (CBFR) - these are textiles that can be treated to be DFR or NDFR.
  • Cannot Be Made Fire Retardant (CNFR) - these are textiles that can’t be treated to meet fire retardant standards and must not be for public use.

Inherent vs. Treated

There are two main types of fire retardant fabrics - inherently or chemically treated. Typically, an inherent fabric contains fibres that are more flame retardant while chemically treated ones are fabrics that need to be treated to become flame retardant.

Types of Fire Retardant Treatment

When you’re shopping for fire-retardant textiles, it’s essential to know the type of fire retardant treatment used in its manufacturing to see whether or not it will suit your needs. Here are the two types of fire retardant treatment:

  • Type B - standards for drapes and curtains used in hotels, offices, and public buildings.
  • Type C - specific materials used for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Fire Retardant Fabrics

As mentioned, no textile is naturally fire-resistant. However, some fabrics are more flame retardant than others. For example, synthetic fibres like polyesters are known to be flame retardant as they are slow to ignite. Another material is one that is made of natural fibres of silk and wool as they are difficult to ignite as well.

Where Fire Retardant Fabrics Are Commonly Used

Although you can use fire retardant fabrics for your home or event, they are commonly used and needed in for the following purposes:

  • Healthcare standards - safety is essential when dealing with vulnerable people. Using fire retardant fabrics add an extra layer of protection and safety in healthcare facilities and allow professionals to get their job done without worrying about other safety issues.
  • Military materials - fire retardant fabrics are often used for military clothing as they are deployed to demanding environments.
  • General safety - fire retardant fabrics are typically integrated into personal protective clothing, such as jackets, vests, and pants.


Knowing basic information about fire retardant fabrics will help you make a more sound decision when you're looking around for the right material for your needs. Indeed, this type of material will bring a sense of security and protection, which is ideal for homes and commercial situations.

If you’re looking for FR curtains or other fire-resistant fabrics, Direct Fabrics has got the supplies you need. With over 50 years of experience in contract furnishings, our experts will provide amazing customer experience with professional installation. Get in touch with us today and choose from a wide selection of materials!