Live 5 Investigates: Trial by fire

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Two coats of it could potentially save your house from burning to the ground. Several fire resistant paints have hit the market, claiming to be the best precaution you can take to protect your home from a fast spreading fire.

Non-toxic, fire resistant paints Contego and Fireguard E-84 say their paints can do it.

Summerville Fire Department Chief Jacob Evans says that a flame can spread and destroy a home in a matter of hours and if the paints work, it could be a big help to firefighters and a blessing for homeowners.

Live 5 put the two brands to the test.

We took three wood boards. Painted one with Contego, one with Fireguard E-84, and another with standard paint. Two even coats and a week to allow the paints to cure. Then, they were ready to be lit.

Evans helped us out. He took at blow torch, at 3,000 degrees, to our first board with the standard paint.

Within seconds, flames appeared.

"It definitely penetrated the wood," said Evans.

Evans says it wouldn't have taken long to be fully engulfed.

Then, we lit the board painted with the Fireguard E-84. No flames appeared.

"It definitely kept it from penetrating to the wood that lies beneath the paint," said Evans.

Ash-like char did appear, it seemed to create a tough barrier to the wood.

"The Fireguard, I know for sure, it expands 50 to 70 times its initial thickness," said Evans. "So, that's what creates that barrier between this and what's behind it."

Even more of a char barrier seemed to appear when the Contego painted board was lit on fire.

"If you look at Contego, it looks like it expands a little bit more than the Fireguard E-84," said Evans.

But, there was no question about it - both fire resistant paints worked.

When asked if these paints could potentially save a house if it caught on fire? Evans said they could definitely be a big asset and he would consider painting it on his own home.

"They're not going to 100 percent put out the fire all the time but a lot of times its going to keep it at bay, maybe in the room of origin," said Evans.

Evans says that preventing the fire from spreading could be a big help to firefighting efforts.

"Anything that you can do to your home that's going to help prevent fire from spreading - will be a tremendous help," said Evans.

Evans tells Live 5 that he thinks these would be the most useful on the exterior of the home, on material like wood paneling, because most sheet rock on the interior has some form of fire resistance in it.

Prices for the paint range because they're mainly sold in bulk. They're both available for sale online.

Copyright WCSC 2014. All rights reserved.