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Polystyrene ceiling tiles and fire safety- how bad are they?

(17 Posts)
Pozzled Wed 15-Feb-12 09:37:52

I'm really hoping that this will be seen by someone with some fire safety expertise. It's a bit of a WWYD really.

Some relatives of mine would love to have my DD1 to stay, and she'd love to go- (and I'd love a break) but the room she would sleep in has polystyrene ceiling tiles, old ones, probably put in in the 80s. I've heard they're a HUGE fire risk and I'm a bit reluctant to let her stay tbh.

It's close relatives, so I can discuss it with them without offending, and I could offer to help take them down. But obviously it would be easier if it wasn't necessary, so if I'm making a fuss over nothing please tell me so!

catpark Wed 15-Feb-12 11:25:30

They are very dangerous, it will take seconds for the whole ceiling to be alight. Even worse is the fumes they give of when they are lit. That would kill you before the flames/smoke.

Pretty sure they are actually illegal as well.

Personally I would have them removed.

Lilymaid Wed 15-Feb-12 11:32:39

Our first house had these tiles on every ceiling. Fortunately they are usually very easy to remove as they will only be glued on with a very small amount of glue. What is underneath? Are you volunteering to repaint/paper the ceiling afterwards?

Pozzled Wed 15-Feb-12 12:06:27

I'm not sure whats underneath, so it is possible that the ceiling will need work, yes. I'd be willing to help with that if needed although I have no DIY experience.

VeronicaSpeedwell Wed 15-Feb-12 12:13:34

They are very easy to get off, but the ceiling won't look good afterwards, especially since most people put them up to cover something nasty (like woodchip wallpaper). In our house, that turned out to be soot-stained cracks. There will be blobs of glue as well, though possibly quite small. We were having our ceilings re-boarded and skimmed anyway, so I'm afraid I've no idea how much work it would have been to make them look OK without that.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 15-Feb-12 12:22:31

I grew up in a bedroom with these on the ceiling and survived. If your daughter is just staying there occasionally, I wouldn't worry, personally. The chances of a fire are remote. But obviously it depends how risk averse you are.

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 15-Feb-12 12:24:28

I spent 2 years trying to get an old landlord to remove these from the walls. hmm They are lethal, they give off toxic fumes if there's a fire.

VeronicaSpeedwell Wed 15-Feb-12 12:24:28

I didn't mean that there might be woodchip wallpaper on the ceiling, by the way blush -- I meant that the tiles served a similar purpose.

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 15-Feb-12 12:35:44

I think they are put there to insulate. Artex is usually the disaster stuff of choice for a bad ceiling. They shouldn't be sold IMO.

BertieBotts Wed 15-Feb-12 13:47:11

I have a feeling that the risk of them is that they are often painted, and it is the paint itself which is the problem. But have always been terrified of them as have heard that if one part catches fire, due to the flammability it will quickly spread all across the ceiling, and that the polystyrene will melt and fall down which can cause horrific burns as it would stick to you shock

DP's parents have them in their kitchen and the entire upstairs of the house, and they don't even have smoke alarms hmm DP reckons it's fine as they have dogs, and the dogs would wake them.

Veronica there is woodchip on the ceiling in DS's room confused

Pozzled Wed 15-Feb-12 14:07:00

Thanks everyone. I may mention it and see if removing the tiles would be an option. They are definitely painted, so if you're right BertieBotts then the issue is still there.

I'm not a particularly risk-averse person, but I have always been a little paranoid over-cautious about fire, which is why I wanted a more objective view.

BertieBotts Wed 15-Feb-12 18:01:47

I know they are definitely a risk if painted, but not sure how risky they are in their own, if that makes sense.

I know what you mean, I am terrified of fire too and would avoid anything risky as much as possible. I do leave things plugged in overnight though, so not sure how cautious I really am...

jesse1976 Mon 05-May-14 02:35:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Thumbwitch Mon 05-May-14 02:52:23

Nice clarifiying, Jesse. Not much use for the UK though.

tb Mon 05-May-14 15:12:37

Another problem with them is that if they catch fire they drop burning gobs of polystyrene, and so aid the spread of the fire onto furniture, floor etc.

borisbarker Mon 23-Nov-15 21:01:07

Polystyrene tiles are legal. Ones manufactured in the past few years are fire resistant. Some are installed to cover problems, some are installed to add to the insulation.
We bought tiles and set light to a sample - didn't melt, burn or produce fumes.
So, we have 12 inches of insulation in the loft and installed tiles to add to this. We checked the temperature before the insulation, after the insulation and after the tiles were installed. Each addition increased the temperature in the rooms.
No guesswork or scaremongering- facts only!

wowfudge Mon 23-Nov-15 21:36:44

The problem with polystyrene tiles comes when they have been painted over - especially with oil based paints - as they melt and drip downwards in a fire.

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