Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some common questions we are asked regarding product materials.
If you have further questions please get in touch with us directly.

What is the difference between Fire Retarded and Inherently Fire Retarded?
Fire Retarded (FR) products are of an inferior standard to Inherently Fire Retarded (IFR) products, and are usually cheaper. While FR products feature a re fire retardant treatment of some kind, in most cases this is just a light spray of chemical over the surface, which can be washed or worn away over time.
In contrast, IFR products are more effective because fire retardant chemicals are incorporated at the early stages of production; they are an integral part of the base materials used, not just a surface treatment . IFR refers to products which will not lose their quality or efficacy by cleaning, touching or any other means during their lifetime.

We use IFR products in many schemes because a sprayed FR chemical will simply not work with plastic-like foliage such as some artificial boxwoods or palms.  These products are not porous enough to absorb the fire retardant chemical, merely drying in uneven spots on the surface.

Likewise, if a certificate says a product is treated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, this does not mean it is fire retarded, only that it has been sprayed. This is misleading and is usually used to make it look like a guarantee – without actually providing anything of the kind.

What is 'Exterior Grade Foliage'

This is a very specific term which means that the product is not just resistant to fading in sunlight, but also made from heavier standards of materials to protect it from harsh environmental elements. The metal wire which is used to support the foliage internally is of a heavier gauge and the plastic coatings are thicker also. This means it can withstand inclement weather and keeps its shape better. Sometimes interior foliage products are described as “exterior grade” when in fact they have only been treated with a chemical to resist fading under UVA light conditions. It does necessarily guarantee that products will withstand wind and rain too!

What is inherently UV resistant foliage?

UV refers to ultraviolet light, the component in sunlight which can cause damage to products by breaking down the dyes which make up the final colour. Like Inherently Fire retarded products, Inherently UV Resistant foliage incorporates the chemical at the polymer stage, so that it will resist fading more effectively than a surface spray. Non-UV retarded foliage can turn all sort of strange colours, as each of the component dyes fade at different rates.

How long will artificial foliage last?

This depends on where it is. There are three main factors which affect lifespan: direct light (usually sunlight), people and dirt.

Sunlight will cause fading to most products made from dyed fabric or plastic, unless it is inherently fire retardant. We offer products which will withstand many years of exposure to direct sunlight.

People, particularly if the foliage in located in high traffic areas, can compromise a product’s integrity. Regular contact, be it brushing against foliage by accident, or simply handling them to check if they are real, can take its toll on inferior grade products..

Finally, If dirt builds up, it will dull the foliage and eventually collect grease and become sticky. We offer all our clients clear cleaning and maintenance advice to ensure longevity.

What does ‘part UV’ mean?

This means a product is superficially resistant to the effects of UV light, but is not inherently resistant. It usually means that the foliage is a standard interior foliage which has been sprayed with a chemical. It is not inherently resistant, but providing it is kept away from high people traffic and weather, will resist fading more effectively than if it hadn’t been treated at all.

What is the best way to clean foliage?

Assuming there isn’t a superficial chemical treatment of any kind, which can be washed off, the easiest way is to use a feather duster brushed over lightly on a regular basis. Weekly is about right, but the secret is not to allow a build-up of grease or dust. In areas where cooking takes place, this can be problematic and may require a proprietary foliage cleaner.

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