Fire Retardant Fabrics: How do they Work?

Fire Retardant Fabrics: How do they Work?

May 1, 2017 0 By Vaughan Brothers

Fire Retardant Fabrics: How do they Work?

What is a fire-retardant fabric? How do they even work? Well, for starters, fabrics that can withstand the burning flames of a fire are developed with special coatings and fibers designed to take the heat.

You might be wondering, where would you want to use fire retardant fabric? Well here’s a quick list of things you might see these textiles:

  • Hospital Curtains
  • Tents
  • Awnings
  • Canopies
  • Bags
  • Spa Covers
  • And more…

In fact, there are two types of fire retardant textiles:

  • Inherent: these are fabrics that are naturally resistant to flames. Like vinyl, some fabrics resist fire just by their basic make-up. This means these textiles are not treated with chemicals or other additives to make them fire retardant.
  • Treated: textiles that are not inherently flame retardant must be chemically treated. This means over time, the fire-retardant quality of the fabric can be worn out.

Fabrics like our Top Gun fire retardant textile are great for tents, awnings, canopies and other industrial applications. Keep in mind, treated fire retardant textiles are not all the same. Some are treated with coatings that don’t last as long as others. Or only the top of the fabric is treated.

So how do these textiles work? Doesn’t everything burn at some point? For starters, fire retardant fabrics are designed to keep the textile from burning right away. At some point, some fabrics will burn even if they have been treated or are inherently fire retardant. This isn’t a failure on the fabric’s part, but a matter of chemistry. If you throw a fabric in a burning fire for long enough, eventually the coating or the fibers will get worn off or hot enough to catch fire. But, you would have to leave those fabrics in the fire for a long time.

Fire retardant fabrics are meant to help keep fires at bay and give you time to put out the flames. That’s why these specialty fabrics are used in hospitals, cars, tents, awnings, and industrial textiles. Now that you know a little more about fire retardant fabrics, let us know how we can help you with your next project by visiting us at or giving us a call at 1-800-444-4701.