Thick film intumescent coatings are usually epoxy based and typically have a much higher dry film thickness than thin film alternatives. These materials are tough and durable and were originally developed for use with hydrocarbon fires, where the test heating regime is much more severe than that used for most industrial and commercial applications. A number of manufacturers have modified their materials for use in cellulosic fires. These modified materials are usually used in situations where the benefits of intumescent coatings in terms of appearance, weight and thickness are required but where circumstances are too severe, or maintenance too difficult, to allow the use of thin film materials. Typical recent examples have occurred in external steel in high rise buildings and exposed marine environments.
Expansion ratios for thick film intumescents are much lower than for thin film materials, typically about 5:1. Aesthetic finishes are possible and it can also be supplied in the form of preformed casings. Thick film intumescent coatings can also be applied off-site.