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Why Use Flameproof or Flame Retardant MDF?

When it comes to creating fireproof joinery, the timber industry has been using flame-retardant MDF or flameproof plywood for a number of years. The reason they do this is because MDF and plywood are more stable in high temperatures than solid wood which can swell and warp with heat. This makes them an excellent material for use in set design as well as any projects that require a high level of safety from fires or other heat sources.

Flameproof or flame retardant MDF is generally used in fire resistant joineries. It has a Class A fire rating meaning that the material will not support combustion and will remain intact for at least 30 minutes of exposure to direct flame from a standard propane torch, as per DIN 4102-2.1-10. This makes it perfect for high traffic areas where there’s potential for fires such as restaurants, hotels and offices with open plan designs – but it also means that designers have been using this product outside its designated purpose!

The benefits of using flameproof MDF and Plywood

Flameproof MDF
A feast of (hopefully) flameproof MDF and plywood. Image by Ramann (via Shutterstock).

Flame retardant MDF and plywood is often used in public buildings. It is popularly used in schools, hospitals, theatres, cinemas, and libraries. They need to conform to the EN 13501 standard. With European Union classes, they correspond to the two kinds of Euro classes that we offer: B and C. Euroclass ‘B’, offers the highest level of protection of the two. Both ‘B’ and ‘C’ Euroclass flameproof woods ignite with a single burning item in a room.

Why public buildings?

Though the risk has been significantly reduced by 2007’s smoking ban, public buildings have a higher than average risk of fire. Fires could be caused by electrical installations, as well as illicitly smoked cigarettes. Flameproof MDF, to Euroclass ‘B’ standards, are best suited to stairways and communal areas. One example would be a fire escape.

In the theatre, and on the television

From the Royal Exchange to the Contact and HOME theatres, our city has a proud theatrical heritage. If you go to the fly tower of a theatre stage, MDF and plywood of any description forms part of the set. Without exception, they need to be flameproof, due to the heat that is generated from spotlight beams.

The same applies to the set design of your favourite television programmes. It is perfect to make the furniture needed in a fire scene because it will not burn, warp or melt when exposed to high heat sources like flames and other torches. The material also makes very realistic looking smoke.  Apart from lighting rigs, there are possible hazards from electrical equipment – in the studio or on the outside broadcasting unit. An electrical fire with the wrong kind of wood used on your set could spell disaster.

Fire resistent MDF is also used for architectural projects, as it is waterproof and fire proof.

Theo’s Timber are suppliers of flame retardant MDF or plywood to the film industry in Manchester. We have an extensive range of wood veneers available and can advise on which products will suit your needs best – whether you need a standard product like flame retardant MDF or plywood or high end wood veneer. We also offer a cutting service for large orders.

If you have any queries about our flameproof MDF or plywood, give us a call and ask for Theo or Steve on 0161 834 6789 or send us an email via We shall respond to your queries as quickly as possible.

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