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What is FRP?
Learn about FRP (fiberglass reinforced panels) at Marlite, a leading manufacturer of interior wall systems for commercial markets.

Commercial-grade FRP (fiberglass-reinforced panel) is a homogeneous mixture of fiberglass, calcium carbonate, and resin. Available as Marlite pebble-texture and smooth FRP panels, this interior wall material provides great durability for high-wear and damp environments. Strong, lightweight, fast and economical to install, easy to maintain, and a breeze to sanitize over and over again, FRP’s resistance to stains, impacts, water, and scratches make it one of the most popular wall panels for commercial spaces. 

All Marlite FRP is approved for use by the USDA/FSIS, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Agriculture Canada. Plus, our FRP board is guaranteed to be flat and consistently have a thickness of 0.090, as specified. 

The Importance of Fire Ratings With FRP Panels

One key difference between various types of FRP panels is the fire rating of wall- and ceiling-finish classification based on flame spread (the speed at which a fire may spread across the surface of a material) and smoke development (the amount of visibility in a given access route when a material is on fire and creating smoke). Although building-code laws in the United States are set at state and local levels, most jurisdictions turn to national and global organizations like the International Code Council (ICC) or the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Canada has adopted the National Building Code (NBC). 

According to chapter eight, section 803.1.2, of the ICC’s International Building Code (IBC), interior finish materials are grouped as follows:

ICC ClassificationFlame Spread IndexSmoke-developed Index
Class A / Class I0-250-450
Class B / Class II26-750-450
Class C / Class III76-2000-450

Materials are commonly tested using the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Test Method E-84, also known as the tunnel test. Materials are placed in a horizontal tunnel and subjected to a gas flame. Based on performance in this test, the material is rated Class A, Class B, or Class C. Marlite offers FRP wall panels in all three classifications.  

The placement of materials with specific fire ratings on interior walls and ceilings depends on occupancy classification, use designation, sprinklers, and location within a structure (see ICC table). If you have any questions regarding which type of classification you need for a particular building or renovation project, contact the local public safety office responsible for building / code enforcement.

Class C FRP Wall Panels: an Economical, Versatile Choice

Class C FRP board is versatile, cost-efficient, and the most common type specified for service and utility areas in restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities, meat and dairy operations, grocery stores, labs, and much more. In most service areas–including public restrooms, commercial kitchens, brewhouses, food processing facilities, and more–you won’t need to use Class A fire-rated materials. That makes Class C FRP panels ideal because they reduce project costs while still providing all the benefits of FRP: approved for use in food handling and processing spaces; easy to clean; hard to stain, scratch, or damage; and resists dampness. 

Marlite offers several FRP wall panel and wall systems products available with a Class C / Class III fire rating:

Class B FRP Wall Panels

According to the ICC, several types of spaces are required to have an interior finish of at least Class B / Class II (see ICC table). Class B provides a higher level of protection for people and commercial property than Class C FRP board and is more affordable than Class A, the strictest ICC classification. At Marlite, FRP at Class B level is available by special request.

Class A FRP: Interior Commercial Wall Panels With the Highest Fire Rating

When it comes to fires, Class A FRP is the best overall choice for a safe interior wall panel plus the many benefits of FRP. Compared with the Class C flame-spread index of 200, FRP panels with a Class A / Class I fire rating have a rating of just 25. In the event of a fire, flames will spread much more slowly across Class A than Class C or Class B. In fact, if the fire source is removed, Class A FRP may self-extinguish, which is why it is often required in interior exit stairways, ramps, and exit passageways; corridors and enclosure for exit access stairways and ramps; and rooms and enclosed spaces–particularly in non-sprinklered areas (see ICC table). 

If you’re free to choose which material classification you can use and trying to decide if you want Class A FRP, the following are good considerations:

  • Is the building in a location prone to wildfires? 
  • Is the interior area likely to be exposed to heat, such as in a commercial kitchen, a lab, or a medical or manufacturing facility? 

If yes, then Class A FRP wall panels are a solid choice. Note: installation of an FRP wall in a place where it will likely be exposed to a flame (such as directly behind a cooking surface) is not recommended. Instead, use stainless.

Marlite makes several FRP panels and wall systems with a Class A / Class I fire rating:

The Beauty of Design Flexibility With FRP

Beyond the significance of fire ratings, FRP sheet offers limitless customization and elevated designs at an affordable price. Unlike most other interior building materials, FRP can both stand the test of time and offer you unlimited design choices in terms of colors, patterns, and custom printing. FRP makes it easy to come up with creative solutions that will work for the size of the space, the age of the building, and other environmental constraints, and your finished product will look like you spent a million bucks without spending a million bucks. 

Learn more about our wall panels and wall systems, including many products made with Marlite FRP.

White PVC Trim

Length – 8′ and 10′ Material – Extruded PVC with integral color

Inside Corner M350​
Outside Corner M360
Edge M370​
135° Inside Corner V177
135° Outside Corner V179

Anodized Aluminum Trim

Satin, Bright Satin or Black Satin Anodized aluminum trim molding for use with any FRP finish.

Inside Corner A551
Outside Corner A560
Edge A570

Harmonizing Aluminum Trim

Durable painted aluminum trim molding harmonizes with any FRP finish.

Inside Corner A551
Outside Corner A560​
Division A565
Edge A570

Designer Aluminum Trim

Available in Clear Satin Anodized or Harmonizing Color

Ribbed A566
Radius A567
Square Channel A568

Quick Specs

  1. Substrate: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP)
  2. Fire Rating: Class III/C and I/A
  3. Panel dimensions: 4’x8’x3/32” & 4’x10’x3/32″ (nominal)
  4. Meets USDA/FSIS Requirements.
  5. Wipes clean with easily with standard cleaning solutions.
  6. Costs less than most tile, laminate, and natural materials.
Literature
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Artizan FRP

Submittal Info
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CSI Document

Installation & Care
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FRP Installation Instructions

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Cleaning Instructions for FRP 2020