Foam sheathing can be used in a variety of buildings and assemblies requiring fire resistance, where properly tested. Below find resources for using foam sheathing in fire rated applications.

Tools & Education

NFPA has developed this free interactive tool to help navigate the code requirements that apply to exterior walls containing combustible components. It also helps determine when those requirements apply for testing to NFPA 285.

This report lists foam sheathing products that are available as part of tested assemblies for use as an insulating product in exterior wall assemblies. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

This presentation covers building code requirements relating to NFPA 285 testing and the use of the alternative materials provision of the code to extend those test results to similar wall assemblies of equal or better performance.

Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type I, II, III, and IV construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report.

Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type V construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report.

Best Practices

Foam plastics used in buildings of Types I-IV construction require an assessment of their ability to resist vertical and lateral flame spread. Determine if your assembly is required to comply with NFPA 285 Fire testing with this design guide.

After the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, NFPA is developing an array of resources to address issues related to combustible exterior wall assemblies

Practical Research

For assemblies using foam plastic insulation, either testing to NFPA 285 is required or analysis of the substitution of a different product in a tested assembly shall be permitted by the building code official in accordance with IBC Section 104.11 per ICC-ES AC12. 

Additional Information

Information on the fire resistance properties of Polyiso

Information on the fire resistance properties of EPS

Information on the fire resistance properties of XPS

The fire at London's Grenfell Tower in June is prompting many facilities and communities to order more sprinkler systems for high rise residential buildings.

Concerns about fire safety at Grenfell Tower had been ignored, including lack of a working fire alarm system or sprinklers. 

Contains excerpts from various news sources that make the case that sprinklers would have saved lives had they been installed in Grenfell Tower.