Photograph of  asbestos slab ceiling insulation, tremolite asbestosAsbestos Fireproofing Materials in Buildings
Photos of solid asbestos fireproofing board & spray-on products

  • ASBESTOS FIREPROOFING SPRAY-On Coatings - CONTENTS: Asbestos Fireproofing - Asbestos-containing Spray-on or Slab (Tremolite) Fireproofing in buildings - How to recognize asbestos fireproofing materials in buildings. Photographs of Tremolite asbestos in buildings SPRAY-ON FIRE-RESISTANT MATERIALS May or May Not Contain Asbestos. This article includes photographs of contemporary spray-on fire-resistant coatings that do not contain asbestos but that may resemble older asbestos-containing materials.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about asbestos content in building fire proofing materials, including spray-on fireproofing & solid block or sheet fireproofing materials

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Asbestos-containing building fireproofing materials & coatings:

Tthis article describes common asbestos fireproofing materials used in buildings on ceilings and walls. We have not prepared but will add description of spray-on fiberglass coatings used on steel columns and ceilings in high rise buildings such as the lower floors of the NY World Trade center.

This document assists building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in buildings by simple visual inspection. We provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Asbestos Fireproofing- Tremolite Asbestos-containing Spray-on or Slab (Tremolite) Fireproofing in buildings

Photograph of  LARGER IMAGE - asbestos slab ceiling insulation, tremolite asbestos showing exposed ends projecting over a basement partitionWhile an expert lab test using polarized light microscopy may be needed to identify the specific type of asbestos fiber, or to identify the presence of asbestos in air or dust samples, many asbestos-containing building products not only are obvious and easy to recognize, but since there were not other look-alike products that were not asbestos, a visual identification of this material can be virtually a certainty in many cases.

Also see ASBESTOS DUCTS, HVAC a field identification guide to visual detection of asbestos in and on heating and cooling system ducts and flue vents.

Also see Micro-Photographs of Dust from the World Trade Center collapse following the 9/11/01 attack. Links to U.S. government and other authoritative research and advice are included.

Asbestos based building fireproofing materials including both the thick Tremolite asbestos panels below, chrysotile asbestos panels and asbestos-containing paints and coatings for fire resistance, are described here.

Photograph of  asbestos slab ceiling insulation, tremolite asbestos

Slabs of 1" thick asbestos insulating board, typically 6" wide, were used as fireproofing on commercial building ceilings and possibly walls.

According to some experts, this material is usually Tremolite asbestos, a particularly hazardous form of asbestos which occurs as both fibrous asbestiform (see 1st lab micro photograph) and non-fibrous granular form which in our samples includes high percentage of ultra-small sub-micron asbestos particulates (see 2nd lab micro photograph).

This material when viewed overhead from below, can appear to be simple concrete.

But a closer look shows its fibrous nature, and inclusions which do not resemble concrete. Unlike cementious asbestos board, this material is soft, very friable, and easily damaged or disturbed. [This tremolite insulation was removed from the building by experienced professional asbestos abatement workers. It should not be handled by amateurs.]

Microphotographs taken in our forensic laboratory show what this particular asbestos material looks like under high magnification and polarized light.

Not commonly used in single family residences or small buildings, but common in high-rise buildings into the 1970's, including the lower floors of the World Trade Center, leading to asbestos fiber release at "ground zero" on 9/11/00. At some locations where this material was sprayed on the under-side of steel roofing and on steel columns, it may be hidden by finish materials and enclosures.

ASBESTOS FOAM LAMINATES discussed in ASBESTOS INSULATION included fire resistant foam boards, wallpaper and similar products.

Contemporary Spray-on Fire Resistant Building Coatings & Materials That do Not Contain Asbestos

Spray on fireproofing on steel construction DF 2008

Some modern spray-on building fireproof or fire-resistant coatings look a bit like products used in the 1970's and prior, but the new materials do not contain asbestos as its use in this application is now prohibited.

Continue reading in this article using direct links to the sections listed below, or

The photograph of building construction with a spray-on fire resistant coating at above left was taken in the Bronx, New York, in 2008.

Current spray-on fire-resistant coatings do not contain asbestos and include both wet and dry insulation coatings, and cementious fireproofing coatings (such as fire resistant plaster) installed by a variety of fire-resistant coating and insulating companies who may apply an insulating layer, fire retardant paint, intumescent paint & coatings (polyvinyl ace-
tate resins and inorganic fillers designed for the fire protection of interior structural steel), cementious coatings, etc.

These fire-resistant products are produced and sold by W.R. Grace, Isolatek / Cafco, Albi, Southwest Vermiculite, International Cellulose, and others. Spray insulating products cover a still wider range including foam insulating products (and some fire-resistant foam products used typically at building penetrations and other special applications).


Continue reading at ASBESTOS INSULATION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Suggested citation for this web page

ASBESTOS FIREPROOFING SPRAY-On Coatings at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about asbestos content in building fire proofing materials, including spray-on fireproofing & solid block or sheet fireproofing materials.

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman