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Explaining the NFPA 286 Corner Burner Test

Posted on: June 20, 2016 by admin

One of the many types of tests that are applied to the different wallcovering types is the NFPA 286 test. Like the Class A fire rating, NFPA 286 applies specifically to the testing of materials with fire. Unlike the Class A designation that can apply to most kinds of building materials, this one is specific to walls and ceilings.

Origin of the Test

The National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, has written a number of different codes and standards for building materials, electronics, liquids, and other products that burn. The full name of this particular standard is NFPA 286: Standard methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth. The purpose of the standard is to determine how much the different elements of the rooms on the walls and ceilings contribute to the spread of fire. This includes wallpaper.

The standard helps determine how fast a fire will spread because of the finishings applied to the walls and ceiling. It is called the Room Corner test for short. The standard excludes wallcoverings that are textile.

Why the Corner Burn Test Is Necessary

Different materials burn at various rates. The slower a wall or ceiling finish burns, the more time firefighters have to get people out and put out the fire. While the fire department may not know how the different components performed during the test, if you are conscious of how the materials performed when you are selecting your wallcoverings and other finishings, you can give firefighters more time to do their job.

The standard addresses a number of different aspects of how the material reacts and how fire spreads:

  1. Extent to which the fire grows
  2. The rate that heat is released and how much heat is released
  3. Flashover and flame extension time
  4. The total heat flux incident
  5. Smoke obscuration
  6. The upper level gas temperature
  7. How much carbon monoxide the material generates
  8. How much other combustible gas the material emits


The NFPA codes and standards go much further than just the Corner Burner test. If you would like to learn more about the different measurements and considerations that builders take into account, you can check out the NFPA’s website. The site can help you build a safer, more firefighter friendly building, residence, or facility.