As the name states, this rating pertains to how well a particular wallcovering performs in the event of smoke or fire. While a wallcovering will certainly burn, if it has a rating of Class A, that means that it reduces how quickly the fire spreads. There are three classifications, A through C.
Brief Origin of the Rating
The different fire classifications are actually based on the ratings that are applied to other types of building materials, such as roof coverings or plastic products. Wallcoverings follow the same applications of the fire rating as other products, so once you understand how the rating applies to wallcoverings, you will be able to use the knowledge for other materials required for your project.
Specifics on the Meaning of Class A
All wallcoverings must undergo rigorous testing to be certified according to NSF/ANSI 342. To qualify, the product must be able to demonstrate certain burning characteristics that are common to other types of building materials. The classification system measures how fast the fire spreads and how far the fire travels during the test. For example, the testers hang a sample of the wallcovering that is 20 inches in height by 25 feet in length in a test area. Gas flames are then applied to the end of the material to test the FSR (flame spread rate).
This means that the lower the score, the longer it takes fire to reach the top of the paper.
Class A has an FSR of 0 to 25, making it is able to withstand fire for longer than any of the other classifications.
If you have a facility with a higher fire risk, you may want to consider using a wallcovering that has a fire rating of Class A. It isn’t fire resistant or non-combustible, but it can slow fire down because it doesn’t burn as fast as the average wallpaper.