What's special about these fire rated backboards?
- Mounts a variety of telecom equipment including 110/Ethernet wiring blocks, modems, routers, power strips and more
- ASTM E-84/UL 723 compliant fire-retardant coating prevents the spread of flame
- Available in various sizes and 2 colors to fit nearly any application
- Pre-drilled and ready to be mounted
- 3/4" thick plywood construction ensures the utmost durability
- Choose from Indoor or Outdoor rated to suite your application
- Custom boards are available for special applications
- Unsure of whether to paint the backboard?
When safety is at the top of your list, Fire Retardant Backboards should be the backbone of your project. Constructed of 3/4" AC grade plywood and ready for indoor or outdoor use; these fire rated backboards should be your first and most important investment for mounting components in telecom/datacom rooms to preserve and maintain the structure's fire rating.
**THIS PRODUCT HAS A 2 WEEK LEAD TIME**
|UT-501082T||18" X 24" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501082L||24" X 24" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501082K||24" X 48" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-50104||48" X 48" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501082ZU||24" X 72" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501082X||48" X 72" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501082M||48" X 96" X 3/4" U-Teck Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501092L||24" x 24" x 3/4" U-Teck Outdoor Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501092J||24" x 36" x 3/4" U-Teck Outdoor Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501092K||48" x 24" x 3/4" U-Teck Outdoor Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501092P||36" x 36" x 3/4" U-Teck Outdoor Fire Retardant Backboard|
|UT-501092U||48" x 48" x 3/4" U-Teck Outdoor Fire Retardant Backboard|
|Material||3/4" AC Grade Plywood|
|Coating/Paint||Fire Retardant, 82Y7, Type 20-20A|
|Certifications||ASTM E84 / UL 723|
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To Paint or Not to Paint? A Tale of Two Backboards
The concept of a backboard in telecom/datacom rooms seems simple enough: what do power supplies, network interface devices, optical network terminals and other such mountable network equipment have in common? A lot of things, probably, but one biggie is that they all generate HEAT. And heat can lead to fires if not properly controlled. Mounting these network devices on a backboard helps dissipate that heat, which helps mitigate the whole undesired effect of “bursting into flames”.
But you can't just stick any old piece of plywood up there and call it a day. The backboard must itself be approved and rated for fire resistance. This isn't something you'll find in the National Electrical Code, but rather in your local building construction codes, as it ostensibly applies to the structure of the building itself. Always check your local building codes, but the typical stipulation is that backboards must be rated to be flame retardant to prevent the spread of fire throughout the structure. There are a couple of ways to go about this, but which one to choose? Let's take a look:
Option One: Treated Plywood
The first method is to use a treated piece of plywood. Fire-retardant-treated backboards must feature a stamp or brand identifying them as such, and this stamp needs to be easily seen so an inspector can ensure the fire rating. This can be tricky as the stamp is often on the rougher looking side of the wood that's normally hidden from view, but it's important that the stamp is easily viewable to verify the rating. Do not paint over it or make it inaccessible.
Treated wood might seem like the easiest way to solve the backboard problem, but it has a few drawbacks. Number one, it's not always easy to get. Your local lumber yard (assuming you have one) isn't necessarily likely to have fire-retardant treated wood just lying around. And you can't use just any old treated wood, it has to specifically be designated with the brand “UL FR-S Plywood 1780 R-7003”. Marine grade or other treated plywood won't have that UL number and thus will not pass inspection. You also need to be extra careful if the wood needs to be cut down, as cutting treated wood can release hazardous chemicals, and should only be attempted by professionals in an outdoor, properly ventilated setting.
Option Two: Paint Your Own Wood
Another option is to use fire-retardant paint on a standard piece of plywood. As long as your plywood meets the specifications of thickness (3/4") you can use a minimum of two coats of intumescent paint on all surfaces to meet the backboard qualifications. It needs to be a particular thickness in order to pass the qualification tests necessary to ensure its fire rating, and you'll need to get a supply certificate from the manufacturer of the paint to provide to the relevant parties (insurance, code compliance, clients).
The drawback here is that the paint can be quite pricey, and like the treated plywood, it's not readily available at your nearest hardware store. It also typically only comes in a limited color palette, so you may have trouble if you need to match the décor in your surrounding area.
Option Three: "Can't Someone Else Do It?"
Perhaps the easiest way to get your backboards squared away is to allow another party to do the legwork for you. These backboards are professionally prepared and painted to the necessary flame-retardant specifications, featuring the necessary coating of intumescent paint and authenticated labels that indicate the proper certification for safe use in buildings. This is not only convenient, but typically much more cost effective than tracking down your own treated wood or painting backboards yourself. Plus, no need to worry about whether your DIY paint job is up to snuff. CableOrganizer.com offers a range of pre-painted backing boards from U-TECK that eliminate the need for any extra work on your part.