Fire Safe Fabrics


Our fabrics meet most fire standards. Please check your local codes.

Fire Safety for Wall & Curtain Fabrics

Fire Safe Fabrics are fabrics that self-extinguish when exposed to a small flame instead of enabling a fire to spread rapidly. The following is an explanation of the various categories of curtain fabric flame retardancy used in the USA.

National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 701 standard.
This standard specifies a lab test and the limits of allowable burning of curtain fabric. Since the lab test is impractical for spot checking fabrics outside of a formal lab, the NFPA has also established a field (match) test, NFPA 705.  A vertical flame test is used to determine if a drapery fabric resists burning and is self-extinguishing. If a fabric is not sufficiently flame resistant to meet a standard, the fabric is labeled Non Flame Retardant (NFR). Fabrics that meet a self-extinguishing standard are categorized as Flame Retardant (FR), Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR), or Durably Flame Retardant (DFR). The method by which the fabric got to be sufficiently flame resistant determines the specific label.

NFR = Non Flame Retardant
NFR fabrics are woven from threads that do not meet fire code standards and to be fire safe must be treated before use as curtains in a public setting.

FR = Flame Retardant
FR fabrics are woven from threads that do not meet fire codes, but are topically treated with a flame retarding chemical so that the end product meets fire safety codes. The chemicals are dissolved in water and introduced to the fabric by spraying or dipping. Once the fabric dries the FR chemical remains adhered to the fibers of the fabric, making the fabric flame retardant. Future wetting of the fabric may dissolve and remove the from the fabric, rendering the fabric NFR. The fabric must be thoroughly washed and re-treated to restore flame resistance.

IFR = Inherently Flame Retardant
IFR fabrics are woven with threads that meet fire code standards, without any addition of chemicals. IFR fabrics are expected to remain flame retardant for their lifetime, even after repeated washings.

DFR = Durably Flame Retardant
Textiles made from polymer extruded filament fibers (nylon and polyester), along with additives that chemically bind to the fibers that provide flame resistance and do not react to water. These fabrics flame resistant for a lifetime. There are chemical solvents that can alter the flame resistant properties of these fabrics, but such chemicals are not usually encountered when fabrics are used as draperies or decorations.