If you are worried about your safe keeping of your valuable and important documents, you should consider a fireproof safe. But are they completely safe when it comes to an all-consuming fire with a lot of heat that damages everything it touches?
Join our investigation into what fireproof safes are made of and if they are the best option to keep your valuables safe. We will look at the materials used to make it fireproof and how long they can actually resist fire.
Do you want to find out how fireproof safes work and if they will keep your things safe? Keep on reading and find out for yourself.
What Are They Made Of?
While most entry-level safes are made with a single layer of steel, single-layered steel cannot be used for safes that need to resist fire. Fireproof safes are made from thicker steel materials than your average home safes to improve their resistance to fire.
They are also made from fireproof isolation materials that are inserted between two layers of steel, one outside and one inside. The thicker the steel used in manufacturing the safe, the higher the safe’s fire-resistant factor.
If it is made from more than one layer of steel, the safety factor increases not just by double but by a factor of eight. Different manufacturers tend to use different thermal insulation materials, and there is a wide range of materials used to improve fire resistance.
This material can be fire-protected concrete or calcium, and even mineral wool and perlite are used for fire protection. A fireproof safe is also equipped with a fireproof seal which is inserted or attached to the door of the safe.
The seal will expand when it comes in contact with heat when a fire breaks out to prevent fire from entering the safe. This seal will also protect your valuables inside the safe from heat and water until the fire is completely extinguished.
The whole body of the safe is made from a double wall of steel with fire-resistant material inserted between the two layers of steel. With this configuration, the safe will withstand the heat of the fire for as long as 30 minutes and even longer.
Many high-end fireproof safes can readily withstand the heat for two to three hours to protect your belongings inside the safe.
Types Of Fireproof Safes
There are different types of fireproof safes available on the market, consisting of a range of different types of materials.
Safes Made With Fireboard
Upon examination, within this type of safe fireboard, panels are inserted between steel layers of the safe’s body is constructed. In many cases, different fireboard layers are inserted to increase the fire-resistant factor of the safe significantly.
The fire board panels are inserted between the steel walls of the safe during the final stages of assembly of the safe. Safes made with this type of fire-resistant are lightweight and are easy to use when you need to move them.
Reinforced Fire Board Panels Safes
This safe is constructed the same way as a fireboard safe with one main difference – a thicker, solid steel frame. The walls of this variety of safes are made to increase the anti-theft factor of the safe to prevent accessible entrance.
It also consists of a double steel wall frame with a fireboard panel inserted between the two layers of low gauge steel. This is also a much heavier safe that does not have a high fire-resistant factor because the thicker steel efficiently conducts the heat.
Composite safes consist of two thinner steel walls with a fire retardant mixture poured in between the two steel walls of the safe. These types of safes are considered the safest option to resist fire and protect your valuables from fire damage.
The mixture of fire-resistant compounds may consist of various fire-resistant materials, and not all brands are made the same. Different manufacturers use various materials to improve further the overall fire-resistant factor of the safe made by them.
Materials used in the manufacturing of these types of safes may consist of different mixes of gypsum and alum together with other fire-resistant compounds.
What Is the Difference Between Fire Resistant and Fireproof
Fire Resistant Safe
Fire-resistant safes are made in such a way to slow down the fire and even prevent it if the fire is small. Slowing a fire is a short-term solution and will not completely keep the valuables in the safe protected against fire for long.
Most of these types of safes will be able to withstand the heat of the fire for about 30 minutes or a bit longer.
On the other hand, fireproof safes will be able to withstand the heat of most fires for more extended periods of time. Some of these safes can easily withstand the heat for up to three hours before they will catch fire as well.
It’s important to note that no safe will protect your valuables forever against the onslaught of fire, so one should take other measures as well. It will be good to put a fireproof safe where there are also automatic fire detection and extinguishers available.
How Are These Safes Tested
Fire-resistant and fireproof safes are tested by exposing them to carefully controlled fires to see how well they can resist them. Humidity inside the safe is monitored while also tested to see how well it can withstand the heat and for how long.
All safes are tested for fire intensity and the duration they can withstand the heat before being rated by Underwriter Laboratories. Only if the humidity is below certain levels inside the safe will it be awarded a UL certificate of approval to be fire-resistant.
The tests are repeated at regular intervals to ensure the manufacturer is keeping up the level of quality.
And that is how fireproof safes are made with the different levels of safety to keep your valuables safe and sound. Now that you know how fireproof and fire-resistant safes are made, you will be able to make a well-informed decision concerning an appropriate safe.